• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

The Last Man On Earth

TITLE: The Last Man On Earth

YEAR: 1964

GENRE: Horror

One interesting aspect of film making is how directors and producers will translate the exact same story in various productions over a period of time. One of those stories that have received multiple interpretations would be the apocalyptic tale “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson. One sub-par effort called The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston saw the light of day in the theaters in 1971, and another more contemporary version using the original title starring Will Smith was the hit of the Christmas season in 2007, but neither of these were the original telling of this end of the world epic. The Last Man On Earth is an excellent adaptation of the Matheson story and displays some of the best acting by horror legend Vincent Price.

A terrible virus has spread throughout the planet via an airborne pathogen and has turned mankind into pasty-faced zombie-like vampires. Dr. Robert Morgan (played by Price) is a scientist that for some reason is immune to the disease and spends his life surviving the apocalypse by gathering garlic and mirrors to protect his home, finding food and other supplies to meet his basic needs, and to stake and burn any of the ghouls that he finds. Dr. Morgan believes that he has to be the last human being on the planet until he runs across Ruth Collins (Franca Bettola), and Dr. Morgan welcomes the companionship. It turns out that Collins is not absent of the disease but is part of a group of people who are able to contain the virus through chemical injections. Dr. Morgan discovers that this group of quasi-humans wants him dead because he has killed many of their brethren inadvertently, and they believe that they are the next step in human evolution.

The best aspect of The Last Man On Earth is Price’s portrayal as the lonely and destitute scientist. Morgan’s existence is a routine of dreary loneliness and necessary survival: he is forced to perform a daily routine to protect his homestead from the marauding ghouls at night including gathering a dwindling supply of food and going on his shortwave radio daily hoping for any sign of normalcy. At night Morgan turns his big band and jazz records up as high as his stereo will go to drown out the sounds of the monsters literally at his door including his old best friend Dr. Mercer (Umberto Raho) growling at him to come out and face his inevitable fate. It is interesting how Price puts out hope among hopelessness and continues a daily routine when it is obvious to him that his efforts are fruitless. Price puts on one of his very best career performances as the forlorn and isolated scientist who is desperate for any form of attention and affection; the scene where he chases down a seemingly normal dog and discovers the canine is infected is especially striking. The Last Man On Earth is also lusciously filmed which is surprising considering that this is a low budget Italian film and not a big budget shoot. The ending is especially depressing and is not the standard Hollywood happy ending.

Matheson was public about how much he hated this adaptation, but The Last Man On Earth is very influential because George A. Romero admitted using the film and many of the scenes to inspire his epic horror film Night Of The Living Dead. The Last Man On Earth is an excellent example of an end of the world epic that tells a great story and is one of the very best independent films of the 1960’s. This film is in public domain and is available to watch for free on many websites, but don’t let that deter you from watching this quality film or dismissing it as junk. The Last Man On Earth is a quality production that is worth watching and adding to your instant streaming list.

* * * *

–Mark

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