The Last Man on Earth


The current Will Smith vehicle I Am Legend is the third major version of Richard Matheson’s story about the last human in a world overrun by nocturnal zombie vampires. Or are they vampire zombies? Anyway, although The Omega Man is the best-known adaptation to date, this 1964 B-movie was the first. Vincent Price slices some fatty ham as a lonely scientist who is the only survivor of a global pandemic that re-animates the dead. In extended flashback, we see him lose his entire family to the virus, which leaves its victims to roam the earth feeding on blood. The lumbering “monsters” are laughably un-scary, but the film realistically captures Price’s drudging daylight routine—replace the garlic, fill up on gas, dump bodies into bonfire—before going awry in the final scenes.