Sunday, March 3, 2013

Planet Of The Vampires (1965)

Starring Barry Sullivan, Norma Bengell, Angel Aranda, Evi Marandi, Stelio Candelli
Directed by Mario Bava
(actor & director credits courtesy

Two spaceships land on an alien world inhabited by life forms who drive the ship's crew to kill each other so they can take over their bodies.

A rare excursion by famed Italian horror director Mario Bava into science fiction territory, this film is saddled with the unfortunate English title, Planet Of The Vampires, despite the fact that there are no vampires in the movie.  However a strong screenplay builds suspense as the planet's landscape and the aliens are introduced, and offers Hollywood veteran Barry Sullivan a choice role as the captain who saves his crew from surrendering their bodies to the aliens' control, but then must face the crew of the other ship who were not so lucky.  The movie's sets are also first rate, creating believable futuristic spaceship interiors, and a otherworldly alien setting shrouded in mysterious fog.  The only shortcoming is special effects, although the filmmakers supply some nifty camera tricks in place of more costly effects.

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