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Thursday, October 13, 2016


 "Come out, Morgan..."

Three years after a plague has transformed the human race into semi-intelligent pseudo-vampires, Dr. Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) is apparently the last uninfected person on the planet. He spends his days patrolling his city and staking vampires when he finds them, disposing of the bodies by chucking them into a perpetually burning pit of corpses. His nights are marked by waves of the infected showing up at his garlic-festooned home, attempting to break in while eerily trying to entice him to come outside. The bleakness and solitude of his situation is taking its toll but things take a turn when Morgan finds companionship first from a dog and then from a woman (Franca Bettoia) who may be infected...

Disposing of the dead.

This Italian-American co-production is the first adaptation of Richard Matheson's classic novel, I AM LEGEND (1954), and much like later versions it really only takes what it needs from the source novel and lets the chips fall where they may. This version is closest to what Matheson's book was going for but it's still kind of a mediocre effort. The reason I bring it to your attention is for its very obvious stylistic influence upon George A. Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVNG DEAD (1968). The scenes where the vampires besiege Morgan's residence play like a dry run of Romero's zombies converging on the abandoned house that NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD's ill-fated characters take refuge in. THE LAST MAN ON EARTH is worth a look for completists but it's not essential viewing.

Poster from the original theatrical release.

1 comment:

Robert Cousland said...

Despite the flaws, I still really enjoy this movie. You are absolutely correct in your assessment that this is the closest movie adaptation of I Am Legend.