Makes your blood run cold
The Last Man on Earth is a black-and-white post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film based on Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend. It stars Vincent Price, who really makes this feel like a Twilight Zone episode. He speaks to himself and travels alone because, well, he’s the only human left. There are plenty of vampires roaming about, though, and this is what this movie is about.
I’ve rarely appreciated Price’s presence as I do here. His character struggles. When’s the last time you saw Vincent Price struggle? His characters are usually serene and smooth; not so much here. This is one of the 1960s horror films that aged best. It mutated and became a subgenre. We tend to give credit to Night of the Living Dead for this trend, but it came out four years later.
This isn’t a flaw, but every time Price isn’t the “last man on Earth”, the title loses some of its potency. It’s such a powerful, allusive title that we get disillusioned during flashbacks of a populated Earth. By the way, the undead are called vampires, but they behave like zombies, AKA living dead. This is a film history lesson in itself. It’s a milestone. It’s something else.