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Saturday, November 12, 2016

TERRORE NELLA SPAZIO / PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES (1965)

In a break from his horror speciality, Italian cult director Mario Bava slips into lowball Sci-Fi with this atmospheric thriller. Loaded with visual & story elements that would later be seen in STAR TREK and ALIEN, then closing on a meta-twist ‘reveal’ Rod Serling might have used in a TWILIGHT ZONE, Bava easily overcomes his starvation budget with imaginative color zones and some suspiciously spacious space modules. (In Space No One Can See You Wax The Floor!) With a nifty (dubbed) multi-national cast and an American ‘ringer’ in Barry Sullivan to assure Stateside financing. The set-up finds two spaceships answering a distress call on a dying planet. But soon the crews are also going south, only to find themselves reanimated as ‘host bodies’ for what’s left of the local population. (More like PLANET OF THE ZOMBIES!) Darn effective in its way, with Bava in very good form.

DOUBLE-BILL: Ridley Scott swears he never saw or heard of this film. But see ALIEN/’79 yourself to compare. (The prologue is still tremendous stuff.)

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