Moviepalooza 2012: Part 3

Moviepalooza continues: The Last Man on Earth, starring Vincent Price. This film, like Omega Man and I am Legend after it, is based on the story “I am Legend” by Richard Matheson, and (in my opinion) is vastly superior to both of those later films. This movie does have its drawbacks, of course: it is compressed from the story itself, and the zombie vampires are more zombie than vampire – George Romero credits this film as part of the inspiration for his “Night of the Living Dead” masterpiece – and the middle part is a bit muddled. Still, Price as Robert Morgan, the eponymous last man, gives a credible performance. The first third of the movie shows Morgan going about his daily routine as he has every day for three years since a plague wiped out the world’s population. The plague first sickens, then kills people, and then reanimates them as zombie vampires, shuffling around at night, looking to feast. Morgan goes out during the day when the vampires are sleeping, staking them through the heart and tossing them into a burning pit. The middle of the film is flashback material, showing his wife and child dying, and is the weakest link. The last of the film shows Morgan’s realization that at least some of the people he’s been staking are actually partially immune, rebuilding a world of sorts in which he is the ultimate monster. The ending I’ll save, as this really is a film you should watch. No one does creepy quite as well as Price, but he’s the Good Guy here instead of the baddie. Well worth the time to watch. On a scale of 5, this one rates a 4.

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