Planet of the Vampires (1965)

planet of the vampires poster 1965 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 9/10

Good looking, slick picture

Story has some unnecessary confusing writing and weak twist ending, flat acting

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  Planet of the Vampires

Studio:  American International Pictures

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror

Release Date(s):  September 15, 1965

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

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The vampires? zombies? ghosts? are rising from the grave!!!

Two ships called the Galliott and the Argos respond to an isolated planet when they pick up a distress signal.  When they reach the planet, they find themselves under attack from an invisible enemy.  The astronauts begin savagely attacking each other, the dead begin to rise like a plague.  When the crews of the ship realize they’ve fallen into a trap, it might be too late to escape the entities seeking their lives.

Directed by Mario Bava, Planet of the Vampires (with the original title Terrore nello spazio) is an Italian science-fiction horror film.  The movie was based on the short story “One Night of 21 Hours” by Renato Pestriniero and well-received by critics and fans.  The film is often cited with It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958), The Thing from Another World (1951), and others as being an inspiration for Alien (1979) and has gained a cult following over the years.

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Wait, why are trying to kill me…no, seriously…why?

I had seen images for Planet of the Vampires over the years but never had seen it.  I wish I hadn’t waited.  I enjoyed the film but found some aspects of it problematic…but not enough to hinder a good experience.

The movie has some fantastic plot devices but also unfortunately is a bit confusing at points.  The rather generic characters in all matching costumes makes it take a while to distinguish the characters and the initial start of the attacks makes it a bit unclear what is going on (I still don’t understand how the creatures gained control since they only seem to animate the dead).  Once the plot starts going and the characters become more distinguishable, the story gets better.  I also find the rather weak Twilight Zone twist at the ending kind of unnecessary and below the movie’s plot (they weren’t human at all!!!)

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This alien skeleton is inspiration for the dead Engineer in Alien…allegedly

The cast is from all over with an American leading the group in Barry Sullivan.  I do find the acting rather bland and typical of B-Movie sci-fi.  The actors do fine with the material, but they aren’t the strongest actors and they come off as a bit flat.

Visually is where Planet of the Vampires excelled.  The movie has a strange sleek old sci-fi look combined with a very modern style.  With cool foggy sets, giant skeletons, and great costumes, if nothing else, Planet of the Vampires is memorable.  It really does feel more like a throwback sci-fi film or Buck Rogers serials in looks than in story which has more horror (thought the visuals do lend themselves to horror as well).

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That’s right…check this bad boy out!

Planet of the Vampires is a must for sci-fi fans.  With a lot of horror aspects, the movie could also appeal to people who like zombie movies (since essentially, the movie is a zombie movie and not a vampire movie).  I do think the film gets off to a bit of a rocky start, but it does improve along the way as the plot is fleshed out.  I am actually surprised (but thankful) that this film hasn’t been remade…as Hollywood gets more and more desperate for material that they don’t have to create themselves, I’m sure a remake of Planet of the Vampires will rise.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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