100 Days of Horror welcomes you to ... SATANFEST 2013

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"Y'all know me, know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow ya whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', and down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back the tourists, that'll put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant! I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Twenty - "The Last Man on Earth."

Hi and welcome to the blog barely anyone reads. My life is falling apart. I have never been so despondent in my entire life. I wish I were fucking dead.

Here's a movie.

19. The Last Man on Earth (1964): Directed by Ubaldo Ragona and Sidney Salkow. Starring Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia, Emma Danieli and Giacomo Rossi-Stuart.

The Skinny: This is an Italian production of a story by Richard Matheson that has been remade twice – first as the 70s-era “The Omega Man,” and most recently as “I Am Legend,” which is the title of the original book. In this version, told mostly in flashback, Vincent Price stars as the eponymous main character – a scientist who has watched nearly the entire world succumb to a horrible virus that turns its victims into vampires. When he sees a woman running around n the daytme, however, he thinks he’s found a survivor at last. Instead, she is a trap set by a slowly evolving new strain of vamp.

What’s Good: This is one of those films that is also in the Public Domain, so there are many versions of it out there – some so-so and some with a decent transfer. But frankly, the movie is raised out of mediocrity by an excellent performance by Vincent Price – who happens to be one of my all-time favorite actors. Much of the film follows Price in his day-to-day labors as he makes stakes, forages for supplies and searches for survivors. He also seeks out vamps and kills them where they lie – something that don’t be sittin’ too well with their vamp buddies. Price lets the signs of madness creep in as the vamps gather around his house at night and chant and throw rocks. He carries the whole film with a tortured, nuanced performance.

What’s Bad: Low budget and a complete lack of other talent. This is seriously a film where the lead actor has to shoulder every single emotional moment because there’s no one else even remotely capable. The special effects are not too bad, especially the Auschwitz-like piles of burning bodies. For the most part, it’s a higher quality B-Movie than most, in great black-an-white, and with a great story ghost written by Matheson himself.

Why We Like It: Of course, Mr. Price and his inimitable voice with its rich timbre and paced delivery. I love that man, god rest his spooky soul. Plus it’s one of those rare B-Moves that’s actually good if you succumb to its charms. I like to put it in when I’m feeling despondent and depressed – it seems to exacerbate that mood. And I love it for that!

Memorable Stuff: Scenes where Price’s daughter is slowly succumbing to the virus are heartbreaking. The final symptom before death and vampiric rebirth is blindness, and when the little girl starts asking for mommy to “come closer,” it’s time to cover the eyes. Also, the final showdown in an abandoned church with hoards of s0-called evolved vampires is sheer terrorizing drama with just a hint of cheese … just how I like’s em!