Paul Bond and I are rolling again with the Mario Bava film festival. This week we discussed Bava’s only foray into science fiction: Planet of the Vampires (1965). If nothing else, watch this film for the first 18 minutes of leather-clad, gravitationally challenged, analog scifi magic. I have a soft spot in my heart for this film because it’s my first exposure to Bava. I picked this film up in the mid-90s on a lark at a variety store in Borough Park, Brooklyn. After watching the first 18 minutes when the groovily-outfitted crew gets pulled onto the mysterious planet I was sold. I loved the offbeat pacing and analog scifi aesthetic. I mean check out this control panel, it could be something from a 1960s VW bug:
This discussion went smoothly, and we’re starting to dig deeper into to some of the larger themes that recur in Bava’s films thanks to Paul. What’s more, it’s hard to resist the similarities between POTV and Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) as well as John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982), and we covered this at some length. This was a fun discussion, and I think we got the hang of using Google Hangouts to share our screen, play scenes, and generally share the media we are talking about. And while the quality of the final video is pretty rough, I find it hard to argue with how easy it is do something like this with no overhead.
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It’s a beautiful, inspired, utterly mad film. I can’t see enough of it.
I do wish, though, that I could recapture the feelings of dread and gut-churning horror which swept over me when I first saw it around age 7 or so. Something about the dead rising in those goofy plastic sheets wasn’t silly, but cthonic.
I have to agree, the plastic bags around the corpse is definitely horrific, but having seen this in my mid 20s for the first time I was already innured by Michael Rooker in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. 🙂
Ah yes. I also saw Henry in my 20s, and recommended it as a date movie.
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