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L'Ultimo Uomo della Terra

Last Man on Earth
Night People / Night Creatures / Vento di Morte / Wind of Death / Naked Terror

Italy/USA 1964
produced by
Robert L.Lippert for Prodizioni La Regina, Associated Producers Inc
directed by Sidney Salkow, Ubaldo Ragona
starring Vincent Price, Franco Bettoia, Emma Danieli, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Umberto Raho, Christi Courtland, Antonio Corevi, Ettore Ribotta, Giuseppe Mattei
screenplay by Ubaldo Ragona, William Leicester, Logan Swanson, based on the novel I am Legend by Richard Matheson, music by Paul Sawtell, Bert Schefter

I Am Legend

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Bob Morgan (Vincent Price) is apparently the last man still alive on earth, all other humans have either died from some terrible disease or have been turned to classic vampires (with all the usual weaknesses like hating mirrors, garlic & especially daylight, & dying only when being properly staked).

For 3 years now Bob has spent his days travelling the city & staking vampires by the dozen & the night reminiscing over the good old times, while his best friend Ben (Giacomo Rossi-Stuart), now a vampire, continuously bangs on his door, trying to get in.

Years ago they were colleagues in a research lab trying to find a cure for the disease, but by & by, Bob had to see his daughter (Christi Courtland) & his wife (Emma Danieli) die, & his wife returning as a vampire - as did Ben eventually -, his once perfect world turning into a perfect nightmare ...

But one day, Bob finds the first signs of other people still alive ... that is he finds dead vampires staked by stakes that are not his. & eventually, Bob even finds a woman, Ruth (Franca Bettoia) wandering around in broad daylight, & he drags her back with him to his house.

Soon though he finds out that not all is well even though - Ruth is not only infected, she is in fact a vampire that is able to live a human life only because of a special serum. & he finds out there are other such vampires too, calling themselves the New People ... & they want his knowledge, but when he offers to Ruth to voluntarily share it, she tells him, for them he is the biggest monster of them all, having killed many of their friends on his daily staking expeditions ... they only want his knowledge, but him ... dead.

Nevertheless, Bob, sparked by his unexpected companion, takes up work on the serum again, & soon finds a cure for Ruth ... but too late, an armed batallion of the New People already stops at his doorstep, & they mercilessly chase him & gun him down. Only in death can he see that he really was the biggest monster of them all ...

 

The novel on which this movie was based on, I am Legend by Richard Matheson, is in equal parts fascinating (the last human on earth, upholding the values of humanity, is also the biggest monster on earth) & downright cheesy (the insistance on using the vampire lore as a narrative ploy).

The film on the other hand boasts some atmospheric pictures but suffers from too slow pacing & too many talky passages, which really takes much of the impact out of the story. Only Vincent Price, who would perhaps not spring into anyone's mind for a role such as this, gives a very convincing, restrained performance.

All that said, this film definitely fares better than the 1970's big budget Amreican version of the story, Omega Man, that loses all the novel's message somewhere along the way.

I am Legend is said to also have been a major influence on Night of the Living Dead, which even might be true to a point, but generally the novel's influence, if brought up, is exaggerated.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD