OOM #17 – The Last Man on Earth (1964)

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If I don’t fall asleep in 36 minutes, it means that I’ve made it, I’ve gone through and made it to the day of today and done it. Wooohooo. Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Today we make the jump from 1963 to 1964, but not because there aren’t any 1963 horror films left to discover, but because actually the Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness coincidentally featured this Vincent Price vehicle in the countdown this year. Well, let’s see what this movie has to offer us, in the meantime you can check out his video here, where he introduces the film to us.

I liked this movie way more than I expected. After seeing ‘I Am Legend’ (2007) all those years ago, and in theaters, I guess that I had been fearing another adaptation of the book by Richard Matheson, and not because I disliked that movie or anything, but I thought that the concept wasn’t as great as it announced itself to be. This movie, though, this was amazing both in concept and in the way that Vincent Price appropriates the role and the landscape in which he is immersed in, and he travels around the streets of the city looking for vampires (zombie-like vampires) to slay during their slumber. I specially liked the flashbacks that he has, as they give us a much more rounded-off character, with a story and a meaning, and they don’t need a big catastrophe nor an action piece for them to work their grief and his personal weight, and they don’t repeat themselves constantly like a trauma, much like they were treated in the 2007 adaptation.

I like the turn that this movie has in its final half hour, specially as it’s a very short movie that could’ve stalled, and it kinda was starting to, until the new character appears into scene. I don’t think it spoils the movie to say that he eventually finds someone while he’s on his daylight explorations, and someone that isn’t one of those monsters. The repercussions and the social commentary that presents itself with every dialogue and how the whole situation ends in the only real and thrilling action set-piece is incredible, and I think it saves this movie from forgetful minds. It might seem like over complicating the plot at first, but it makes perfect sense and it gives the main character an enormous amount of weight, as well as it causes in the audience an emotion, one of sadness and rage, one that one can’t help but feel, even if the movie has kept itself distanced in many ways.

Vincent Price, as mentioned before, plays it straight but in a very fun way, as he seriously studies the science of the virus that caused people to turn into vampires, while at the same time he blandishes garlic, mirrors and stakes as if he were a figure of the 18th century in a Hammer film. He has that gravitas around his persona that makes that even if he’s wearing the most outrageous costume or doing a very ridiculous thing, one can’t help but feel him as the most serious man in the company. We are left without breath with his search, we feel his desperation, and his acting makes us feel as if we also were left alone in the world. We feel his despair, his face convulses and his laughter becomes maniacal, and in a movie that seems to be forgotten nowadays, I think we need the simplicity, the roughness and the overall fun that was this movie more often.

8/10

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One response to “OOM #17 – The Last Man on Earth (1964)

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