Planet of the Vampires (1965 Italy)

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Planet of the Vampires (1965 Italy)

Post  BoG on Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:22 pm

a.k.a. Demon Planet; The Haunted Planet; The Haunted World; The Outlawed Planet; Planet of Blood; Space Mutants; Terror in Space - all directed by Mario Bava ! (OK, it's all just one film)
Ah, yes, this is one spooky frightfest out in outer space. I would get a little agitated watching this as a kid even before they land on that infernal, mist-enshrouded planet. Those dark uniforms (spacesuits) looked like they were trying to ensnare the space travelers right from the outset, with those extra-high collars. This is all dark....  just all dark. Someone was really depressed when they wrote this, I think. Or ate one Italian meatball too many.

And then they find all this bizarre stuff down on the planet, not the least of which are those giant skeletons. This is definitely not the bright aspect of space travel. What's really amazing to me, though, is that this film preceded Night of the Living Dead and all the zombie films that followed. That's what this really is - Planet of the Zombies; this manages to be quite disturbing in that sense - the raising of the dead, the atmosphere of unrelenting doom. Bava is acknowledged as a great horror director; it almost seems like he anticipated the more modern style of Sci-Fi Horror here, way before Alien (1979) and the like.

But, more than anything, this functions as a prequel to Night of the Living Dead (1968); think about the unexpected ending here - then think about the news reports & rumors in the later film. It all fits very well, doesn't it? BoG's Score: 7 out of 10


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