Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Review: Planet of the Vampires

Ib Melchior strikes again!
Planet of the Vampires (Terrore Nello Spazio) (1965)

What the blazes this has to do with vampires is beyond me.  Zombies, maybe.  Vampires, no.

The spaceships Argos and Galliot investigate a distress signal coming from the planet Aura.  On landing, contact is lost with the Galliot and the crew of the Argos go berserk and try to kill one another in over-cranked action.  There is something very odd  about this planet–especially when the dead don't stay buried.

Planet of the Vampires is famous as one of the seminal influences for the 1979 blockbuster Alien.  However, where Alien was a big-budget blockbuster with artistic pretensions meant to hide its pulp-fiction origins, POTV revels in its low budget and garish space opera.  Director Mario Bava makes a virtue out of necessity when he makes up for his lack of an effects budget by doing his effects in-camera and he takes two second-hand rocks left over from another picture and by means of mirrors, fog and clever lighting transforms them into a truly eerie planetscape.

An American-Italian-Spanish co-production, POTV boasts an international cast headed by Barry Sullivan.  The characterisation is thin to the point of non-existence and many times Sullivan seems to be in a different film from everybody else, but this isn't surprising because all the actors delivered their lines in their own languages and were redubbed for their target markets.  It's a shlocky, garish, melodramatic, and often overacted production, but this isn't a film for analysing; it's for pouring extra butter on your popcorn, sitting back, and enjoying.

No comments:

Post a Comment