Posted by: kfugrip | November 25, 2007

One hundred fourteen: The Last Man on Earth

The Last Man on Earth, directed by Sidney Salkow, is another adaptation of Richard Matheson‘s I Am Legend. This version is closer to the story (so I’m told) because it is about the germ creating vampires instead of light-sensitive-mutants like the villains in The Omega Man. The Last Man on Earth is also a B movie in every sense of the word. I’ll touch on this a bit later but it’s the type of movie that comes on a dvd with another movie.

The Last Man on Earth is about Robert Morgan, played by Vincent Price, the lone survivor of a plague that turns everyone in the world into a vampire. By day Morgan kills the vampires in their homes and searches for his former friend and colleague and the leader of the vampires that torment him during the night, Ben Cortman (Giacomo Rossi-Stuart). Morgan’s quest to eradicate the vampires and keep his sanity find a brief reprieve when he meets a girl one day. The entire movie moves towards it’s tragic end in unpredictable ways.

What I liked: Again I watch a science fiction/horror movie with interesting ideas. I already went into some detail on the plot of I Am Legend in my earlier post, so I’ll spare you here. The strength of this movie is the story. Some of the cinematography, though this is a low budget, B movie, is well done and has some beautiful compositions.

What I didn’t like: Vincent Price can’t pull this off and neither can the budget. The film’s vampires are more like zombies, and I read that this was an inspiration for Romero’s Living Dead movies. The threat is small in this movie because the vampires are so dumb and slow that you never feel like Morgan is going to get killed.  The voice over was terrible and felt like a crutch, like they were afraid to let the film work in silence or to have the character speak to himself (he is going mad).
The climax was clever, and closer to the book as I’m told, but falls short of the power of the realization that Morgan has. The movie suffers from movie cliche with Morgan shouting some line as he dies. Too easy and not effective.

2 stars

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Responses

  1. let’s be clear, without giving important plot points of the book away, while The Last Man standing was closer than The Omega Man, but that’s not saying much considering The Omega Man was on of the biggest bastardization of a “based on” that I have ever seen. The Last Man Standing was surprisingly close to I Am Legend until the last third, maybe quarter of the movie, in which the plot shifted considerably.

    Regardless, both these movies suck. I can only hope that I Am Legend with Will Smith will be a more faithful telling than The Omega Man and a more interesting telling than The Last Man Standing. Certainly it will not suffer for the poor budget and production standards that these movies suffered…but they could still go horribly wrong…as they often do.


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