A scientist is the sole human survivor of a global plague that
has turned the human population into bloodthirsty vampires.
The Last Man on Earth (1964)
Directed by Ubaldo Ragona
Written by Richard Matheson and William F. Leicester
Starring Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia, Emma Danieli,
Giacomo Rossi Stuart
Based on the novel I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
So far, from all that I've seen, The Last Man on Earth is Vincent Price's best movie. It's a great depiction of a man driven near to madness by isolation following the death of humanity, and you don't often see Price disappear into a performance like he does in this film. Sure, he's charismatic and makes it impossible to look away, but rarely does he actually act. In this film, he does, and it's glorious. Apart from the painfully obvious Italian overdub, the film is quite entertaining and stands apart from Price's other, more hammy works.
Price plays Robert Morgan, a scientist who loses his wife, his daughter, and the rest of the human race to a global plague that makes them all into vampires. The film begins three years into mankind's extinction, and Morgan has been hunting the undead as often as he can. As it is in the Matheson story, Morgan's hunting of the undead have made him a monster to be feared by them, and it makes one wonder who exactly is the monster and who is the man. There are some dragging moments, but overall, the film is enthralling thanks to Price, and once he meets another survivor, things escalate pretty damn fast.
The Last Man on Earth is easily the most entertaining film of Price's that I've watched thus far, and is a great retelling of Matheson's I Am Legend. Vincent Price did more to popularize the horror genre than most, and thanks to films like this, his legacy lives on thanks to the fans who continually discover his work and share it. This is definitely one of those films that will be remembered.