PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES
Directed by Mario Bava
Written by Ib Melchior, Louis M. Heyward, Mario Bava, Alberto Bevilacqua, Callisto Cosulich, Antonio Román & Rafael J. Salvia
Based on a story by Renato Pestriniero
Cinematography by Antonio Pérez Olea, Antonio Rinaldi & Mario Bava
Music by Gino Marinuzzi Jr.
Cast: Barry Sullivan, Norma Bengell, Ángel Aranda, Evi Marandi & Ivan Rassimov
1.85:1/English/Italy/NTSC Region 1
Review from the MGM DVD
In the deep space, the twin spaceships Argos and Galliot have intercepted a distress call from the planet Aura. Upon landing, most of the cast falls unconscious. But as soon as they wake up they start fighting each other’s. Thankfully Captain Mark Markary (Barry Sullivan) and Sanya (Norma Bengell) manage to keep them apart and stop this violence.
To make things worse, there is no communication anymore from the crew of the Giallot. The Argos team decide to investigate the other ship and its surrounding. They can't enter inside the Giallot but see dead bodies lying around. Yet minutes later, the bodies aren't there anymore. Soon enough, they realize that they are not alone and that an alien race seeks out to escape this dead planet by any means necessary.
Based on the Renato Pestriniero's story "One Night of 21 Hours", PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES was the first and last venture into the sci-fi world for the Italian master. Surprisingly there are no vampires in the movie. The original TERROR IN SPACE title would be much more appropriate. At first I didn't appreciate the new artwork MGM used for the DVD but its much more faithful to the movie's spirit then the classic one with the huge skeletons running after the humans.
One of the most interesting scenes of the film is actually the ending. The two "survivors" are about to land on a blue unknown planet. This was especially surprising to me since like most viewers, I though that they were actually from Earth.
Once again, Mario Bava had little resources for making this film but he still managed to make the most out of it. Apart from the very obvious model kit used for the spaceships, the overall FX are nicely done and the movie has a very haunting atmosphere. It also features an interesting cast, including Ivan Rassimov in small role who would later be part of many giallo. Maybe more importantly, there is no doubt that PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES was the main influence for writer Dan O'Bannon when he scripted the 1979 Ridley Scott classic ALIEN.
This movie was released in the US by AIP and was unfortunately cut. For this edition MGM re-mastered a combination of both the Italian and American versions. For US television viewers, the movie was originally called DEMON PLANET.
MGM is presenting PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio but it is not anamorphic. For a 1965 low budget flick, the image is very impressive. Sure there is some grain but the colors are nicely saturated especially the deep black which are solid. Unfortunately the only audio track available is the dubbed English one in Mono. It does sounds good and clear but the original Italian track would have been much welcomed. Optional French and Spanish subtitles are available. The disc also features the original musical score unlike the Orion Pictures' VHS release back in the 1980s.
The only extra we get is the very cool theatrical trailer. The disc features static menus, 16 chapters stop and come in a keep case without a booklet or inlay card. The movie was also release as a PAL Region 2 DVD in Italy as TERRORE NELLO SPAZIO, which features an anamorphic transfer, original Italian track with English subs and more importantly features the slightly longer Italian cut the theatrical American release.
10,000 YEARS AGO, or 10,000 YEARS to COME, Are they beings of the Future or of the Past, these "men" who rule the DEMON PLANET?
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2007. ©