Title: The Last Man on Earth

Also known as:
The Damned Walk at Midnight (Alternative title)
Den siste mannen på jorden (Swedish title)

Year: 1964

Genre: Horror / Sci-fi / Drama

Language: English

Runtime: 86 min

Director: Ubaldo Ragona & Sidney Salkow

Writer: William F. Leicester, Richard Matheson, Ubaldo Ragona

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058700/

Dr. Robert Morgan is the last man alive on Earth after an epidemic has turned the Earth's population into vampires. Daytime he scavenges for food and supplies and tries to kill off any vampires that are currently sleeping, but at night's he hides in his house behind mirrors and garlic. In his struggle to not go insane from missing his wife and daughter, he continues his fight against the creatures of the night, but his faith in surviving is restored after he meets another living person.

Our thoughts:
"The Last Man on Earth" is one of the great non-gothic Vincent Price movies, which is what I often prefer. What really separates "The Last Man on Earth" with many similar vampire movies of its time, is that it actually feels like it is just a step or two before modern horror kicks in. And it's not entirely wrong, because it was released somewhere in the middle of two staples of modern horror: "Psycho" and "Night of the Living Dead".

The year is 1968. An epidemic has turned the Earth's population into bloodthirsty vampires that stalk the streets. The only person alive is Dr. Robert Morgan, a man who lost his entire family to the disease, and is now struggling to stay sane, or even alive. He scavenges for things at day, while also taking the chance to kill off some of the vampires while they sleep, but at night he is the hunted. He uses mirrors and garlic to protect himself, but the vampires are many and he knows that they are going to reach him eventually. One day he meets Ruth Collins, another human being who is unfortunately contaminated by the disease.

What's interesting now that I watch this movie as I'm older, is that it becomes clear that while the monsters are vampires, they were actually pre-Romero zombies. This is like one of the last blueprints for Romero turning zombies into icons with "Night of the Living Dead" - and the similarities are quite a few. Obviously "The Last Man on Earth" has gotten its recognition and is not in any way an unknown movie. However, it can't reach the heights of "Night of the Living Dead" due to its weird vampire creatures that were behaving rather stupid and obnoxiously. It's one of the flaws of the movie: that whenever the vampires are on screen, they're just being annoying and doing weird things that feels dated compared to some horror movies from the same decade.

I'll keep this to the point. I love "The Last Man on Earth". While not one of the best '60s movies, it's fun and it does all the zombie survival things right, years before that became a staple in horror (and using the vampire myth). It truly sells the apocalypse as something devastating and depressing. Vincent Price is excellent as always, and his role has a great character arc that goes from heroic to tragic. There are creepy moments in the movie and it has a very powerful ending that, yet again, doesn't stray too far from what Romero used in his genre-defining masterpiece. Unfortunately there are some moments that haven't aged well, where the vampires just come off as stupid rather than scary, but ultimately it doesn't hurt the movie that much. It is still a great movie based on the "I Am Legend" novel, and it's great to see a fairly new Swedish distributor (Rapid Stream) put it out on DVD here.

Positive things:
- It's a vampire movie, but it's pretty much a pre-Romero zombie movie.
- Vincent Price!
- Great character story.
- Mixes horror and drama really well.

Negative things:
- The vampires are acting stupid and weird. Takes you out of the movie a bit.

Gore: 0.5/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 4/5
Effects: 2/5
Comedy: 0/5

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