Reviews of The Last Man on Earth (1964) and related work
The Last Man on Earth (1964)
A plague that started in Europe seems at first to have wiped out all humans except for one man, a middle-aged scientist with immunity. The victims of the plague do not stay dead. The scientist spends his nights listening to them trying to smash their way into his barricaded home. Meanwhile, a colony of people who are not immune have devised a partial cure, preserving their intelligence. They have formed a new night-time society, which loses members to the actions of a hated freak.
Post-apocalyptic horror with a nicely weak hero. Bad writing, pacing, acting and religion. The classic vampire weaknesses round out the film’s ridiculousness. Based on the novel I Am Legend.
‣ The Omega Man (1971)
Wise-cracking Messianic action, more influenced by “Paris Asleep” (1924) and similar “exploitation”. The victims of the plague are not undead or unintelligent, they just happen to have a religion opposing the use of technology, because the plague started with a global war.
Inferior in almost every way, and not much to do with zombies or the earlier filming.
‣ I Am Legend (2007)
The victims of the plague (undead again) are super-zombies who do not communicate.
Blockbuster. Begins as a reasonable compromise between the two previous films, but deteriorates. Visual effects supervisor Janek Sirrs has apparently stated that the original ending was rejected after a test audience screening because it humanized the victims, which would have given the film at least a shadow of the point of the book. Instead, there is only spectacle, and only the first half of that holds interest.