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Film / The Last Man on Earth

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"You're freaks! I'm a man! The last man... "

The Last Man on Earth is a 1964 Italian-American post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi Horror film, directed by Ubaldo Ragona and Sidney Salkow and starring Vincent Price. It is an adaptation of Richard Matheson's classic novel I Am Legend, and is in many ways closer to the source material than either of the subsequent film adaptations (The Ωmega Man and I Am Legend).

Not to be confused with the comedy series of the same name or the Mary Shelley novel The Last Man

This film provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Job Change: In the original text, Robert was a factory worker who struggled with advanced concepts like science. In this adaptation, he's a disease researcher.
  • Adaptation Name Change: The protagonist went from Robert Neville to Robert Morgan.
  • Adaptation Title Change: The Last Man on Earth is based on the novel I Am Legend.
  • After the End: As in the original story, the movie is set after a terrible plague has unleashed undead hordes on the Earth. Vincent Price spends all his free time researching for a cure and killing the undead.
  • The Aloner: Morgan, of course. Thanks to the plague he's the last man on Earth.
  • Came Back Wrong: Arguably Virginia, Robert's wife. Dead and brought back by the disease, she can remember where she lives and who Robert is, but her humanity and any fragment of her personality have been obliterated, leaving her one of the essentially mindless creatures.
  • Contamination Situation: Morgan is the only person left and is immune to the virus turning people into vampires, but does have the virus.
  • Crapsack World: There is exactly one human left, with everybody else being a ravenous, bloodsucking monster. Except there are a few stragglers, who live in fear of the supposed last man who has been mistakenly killing them.
  • Downer Ending: Morgan learns he killed people who had managed to regain their sentience, not knowing they were vaccinated, and that they view him as the monster. Soon after discovering his blood is a cure, but before he can communicate that information, the vaccinated people kill him.
  • The Film of the Book: The first screen adaptation of I Am Legend.
  • Flashbacks: Most of the film's second act is taken up with flashbacks that show how Robert's life fell apart as the disease progressed and destroyed everything he loved, as well as the inability of humanity to understand or cure it.
  • Ghost City: Morgan's home town emptied by the plague and everywhere else, really.
  • Happier Home Movie: Sometimes Morgan watches home movies of his (dead) daughter and (undead) wife.
  • The Hero Dies: Robert Morgan is speared to death by other survivors, who view him as a monster for unwittingly killing them.
  • Hunter of Monsters: Morgan himself. He spends most of his time hunting down and killing the undead, who he thinks are all near-mindless monsters. He learns differently, to his regret.
  • The Immune: Morgan spends his time hunting for someone like this to make a cure for the plague. He eventually learns there's no need. Because everyone on Earth is either dead or undead.
  • Last of His Kind: Morgan, as the title suggests.
  • The Last Title: The title.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: The vampires who besiege Robert's house drain the weakest of their own number of blood and leave the bodies lying in his yard.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The movie is set in 1968, in the "near future" from when it was made in 1964.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: These are made by an airborne virus, which kills and resurrects humans. They are overall mindless and sleep during the daytime, alongside being repulsed by garlic and mirrors. However, they can regain their sentience via a vaccine, and be cured with an immune person's blood.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Had Robert and Ruth’s people not fed into their prejudice and fear of each other and actually tried communicating then Robert would not have died and they would not have condemned themselves to an existence where they will have to have continues vaccines just to keep the virus at bay in order to not turn into the vampires.
  • Protagonist Title: The Last Man on Earth.
  • Putting on the Reich: The extermination squads at the end of the movie are dressed in all black, like SS stormtroopers.
  • 2xFore: The infected make use of wooden planks to take on the protagonist.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Rather literally done as Morgan finds a little dog that he takes in for the joy of some living company. And then he discovers the dog has the plague too.