Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Planet of the Vampires (1965)

Planet of The Vampires, or Terrore Nello Spazio, to give it it’s Italian title, was a co-production between the United States and Italy, with some Spanish backing thrown into the mix to help it along.
Its plot concerns the crew of two space ships who are both drawn towards the unexplored planet of Aura from where a distress signal has been emanating.  Once within the fog enshrouded atmosphere, various crewmen become temporarily possessed by the world’s ethereal inhabitants, committing murder upon their fellow man.  Both ships manage to make it to the planet’s surface although the situation only worsens as the Aurans begin to reanimate the newly dead, using their bodies as corporeal hosts and a means to escape their dying world.
Planet of the Vampires is one of those; love it or loathe it films although it’s become far more cult than perhaps it might have done simply because it’s B-movie plot reads a lot like a first draft for Dan O’Bannon’s Alien script.  Obviously, with the way Ridley Scott’s directorial eye colours a film it’s not so blatant in its telling.  I could well believe that Planet of the Vampires was an inspiration behind at least a few of the scenes in Alien but for what it’s worth I personally think that John Carpenter’s The Thing owes just as much to it, at least in tone.

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