When a plague devastated life on Earth, the population died or became a sort of zombie living in the dark. Dr. Robert Morgan is the unique healthy survivor on the planet, having a routine life for his own survival: he kills the night creatures along the day and maintains the safety of his house, to be protected along the night. He misses his beloved wife and daughter, consumed by the outbreak, and he fights against his loneliness to maintain mentally sane. When Dr. Morgan finds the contaminated Ruth Collins, he uses his blood to heal her and he becomes the last hope on Earth to help the other contaminated survivors. But the order of this new society is scary.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
It is assumed that the action takes place in USA, but Italian cars (such as the Fiat 600 that were unusual in the States) appear, because the film was shot in Italy. Morgan drives a 1957 Chevrolet Station Wagon with California license plates, and the map he maintains is that of San Francisco CA, turned sideways. See more »
In the flashback sequence where Morgan takes his wife's body in his car for a secret burial, the shots of him inside the car driving shows that it is night or pre-dawn. However, the exterior shots of the car moving along on the road show that it is already daylight. See more »
Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) is the last man on earth. After everyone else dies off from a weird vampire virus (or becomes a weird vampire), he is left as the only human to try and stop the vampire menace. Little does he know there might be other survivors.
Based on the story "I Am Legend" by Richard Matheson ("What Dreams May Come", "Stir of Echoes"), this film really nails the story. Some liberties are taken (as is true with any film), and for some reason the main character is Robert Morgan rather than Robert Neville, but that is a trifle.
Vincent Price has always been consistently a great actor, particularly in horror and science fiction. This role is no exception. Although half of the film relies on voice-overs rather than dialog (because who is Robert going to talk to?), his chilling tone fills the air with a mood that only Vincent Price can master. (Ask yourself: who else has such a voice that its very tone can carry a picture? I mean, look at the "Thriller" music video.)
I first watched this on the very cheap Treeline copy of the DVD, but despite the inferior picture and sound (the MGM "Special Edition" copies are crisp and a must-own), you just know this is a solid film. The plot is good, the order the story is told -- non-linear -- works very well for exposing the situation and background, even pulling off a flashback of nearly a half hour. All questions are answered, or at least attempted -- food, gasoline, the source of the vampire plague. It all seems to have a good and reasonable explanation.
It seems natural to want to compare this to "Omega Man", the 1970s remake with Charlton Heston. And one can make that comparison, but they are almost two entirely different films. The basic premise is the same -- one lone man who can cure the vampire plague -- but that is about it. The entire feel is different, and the cult/vampire situation is similar but notably different at the same time (with the 1960s cult coming across more like zombies than vampires, really).
This is a film you have to see. All horror fans must see this, especially if they plan to see the 2007 remake with Will Smith (which I was not looking forward to but was actually alright). And especially if you love George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead", which is directly influenced by this. But even film fans in general might enjoy this, as I think the story here is quite pleasing, even if you do not care for horror. Vincent Price and Giacomo Rossi-Stuart can do no wrong (especially when they are working with Richard Matheson's material -- the Poe adaptations are all pure gold). Very highly recommended.
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