The Last Man on Earth
THE LAST MAN ON EARTH (1964)
Summary and commentary below by Cory Hanaway (2006).
Notes: 86 minutes.
Starring Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia.
Directed: Ubaldo Ragona
Summary: A plague has ravaged the world leaving only Dr. Robert Morgan alive against the onslaught of the undead. For three years Morgan has lived alone in his home fighting the hordes vampires that rise to try and kill him every night. Morgan lives by day in a world that only comes alive a night, he makes stakes and searches the city in an effort to find his dead friend and put him to rest. He meets Ruth on one of these hunts and learns that she is a vampire that is taking medication to avoid turning into one of those after Morgan. As the undead are killed by more people who are on the medication, Morgan learns that they will be coming after him next. Ruth tells Morgan that many of the vampires that he killed on his daylight hunts were people who were still alive due to the medication. Morgan is hunted down and killed for his mistake.
The people all died and turned into vampires due to a plague that has left Morgan untouched. His immunity to it has the explanation of that he was bitten by a bat some years earlier and so he has immunities to the plague. This is not a very scientific answer to vampirism as a disease. Morgan is able to survive for three years on his own because the vampires in this movie are slow, dumb, and weak. The writers of this film are crossing zombies with vampires and don’t realize it. The vampires also can’t stand garlic or to see there own reflection in a mirror. This is strange because we are never given a reason of why they can’t look in a mirror, maybe it is because they are an abomination and they know it.
During Morgan’s flashback we learn that he was working on a cure for the plague, but could not find a cure in time to save his family. When the military comes to take the bodies of the dead he fights them and hides the body of his wife so that she won’t be burned in the fire pit with all of the others. As a scientist, to do that is out of character. He is not helping the problem at that point. Later he burns the bodies of the dead vampires that he kills so he clearly got over whatever his problem was earlier.
For a 1964 film with Vincent Price having most of his scenes alone it was not a bad movie. There were several great errors in the story line, like the difference between a vampire and a zombie, but for the low budget, Price delvers a grade-A performance.