Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mario Bava's Planet of the Vampires

I'm late getting to Mario Bava's work. I've loved Italian horror through Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, Lamberto Bava, and Michele Soavi (not to mention all the great Spaghetti Westerns) for years, but I never came across any of Bava's films, that I could afford at least.
In the book Broken Mirror, Broken Minds Bava comes up a lot as an early hero of Argento, so I've always been keen on getting into his films.

Planet of the Vampires wound up my choice for first of Bava's films, mainly because it was one of the films Dan O'Bannon ripped off for Alien.

From IMDB; After landing on a mysterious planet, a team of astronauts begin to turn on each other, swayed by the uncertain influence of the planet and its strange inhabitants.

Released in 1965, the film has some glaring problems stemming from cheap special effects right from the beginning. They all involve shots in space and of the ships flying. There is no getting around how supremely cheesy this looks.

Fortunately, the rest of the film doesn't suffer nearly as much. The acting is rather strong for a B-movie, there's some blood, some mild shocks. The set is creepy and atmospheric-not a far cry from some foggy British moor. The costumes are fantastic and the overall execution of the film is well done.
I don't doubt I could have picked a stronger film to start with, but I had a good time and recommend it.

3 1/2 Severed Thumbs Up


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