Combining the folkloric conventions
of vampirism with the sleek scientific notions of recent
centuries has often produced truly mixed cinematic results.
As the horror and sci fi genre's came to overlap, however,
producers displayed a modicum of imagination in their
attempts to satisfy monster-lovers of all stripes. The
following 10 arguably memorable sci fi vampires have
been scrutinized for your approval:
10. Planet of the
Good looking, slow
and arty, this one's an acquired taste. Italian horror
maestro Mario Bava rings a real note of mysterioso with
this saga of black leather-clad astronauts investigating
an ancient, seemingly haunted planet. Barry Sullivan
was never better.
9. Devil Bat's
follow up to the undeniable cult favorite Devil Bat
attempts to clear Lugosi's name and expose the genuine
killer. This oddity is most interesting when viewed
as a follow-up to the superior Strangler of the Swamp,
both featuring the same director/star team: Frank Wisbar
and Rosemary LaPlanche (Miss America 1941).
8. The Last
Man On Earth (1964)
I Am Legend served as the basis for this film
which is far better than it has any right to be, due
in great measure to the tormented presence of Vincent
Price. Its depiction of a horrific plague which leaves
everyone on Earth a vampire except Vincent, is not without
atmosphere. Actually kind of scary if you watch at night
-- more than can be said of its remake, the mind-numbing
7. Queen of
know it or not, you've probably watched scenes from
the Russian space epic Planeta Burg more than
once. Roger Corman purchased the film and had several
of his minions fashion films around the effects footage.
This is the best of them, boasting an eclectically watchable
cast: Basil Rathbone, John Saxon, Dennis Hopper, Forry
Ackerman and Florence Marly as the silent green bloodsucker
the film is named for.
6. The Vampire
enjoyable curio made entertaining by a can't-miss cast.
Melvyn Douglas holds his own even with psycho supreme
Lionel Atwill in the driver's seat. Fay Wray and Dwight
Frye ("Me do! Me do!") are icing on the cake.
5. The Vampire
John Beal pours on
the pathos as a dedicated small-town doc accidentally
done in when his own daughter mistakes his aspirin for
an experimental vampire tablet. Hyde-like, he takes
to the streets to stalk former patients. Stalwart cop
Ken Tobey and ever-ready nurse Coleen Gray do what they
can. One or two effective fright shots make this one
of the Giant Leeches (1959)
Nature's very own bloodsuckers in their first starring
vehicle. It seems the swamps are alive with gigantic
leeches that drag victims to an underwater cavern, there
to feed on their blood until refills are necessary.
Director Bernard Kowalski's cult classic features Yvette
Vickers, Ken Clark and the immortal Bruno Ve Sota.
3. The Devil Bat (1941)
the scenery to shreds in one of his very best post-Dracula
roles. As a demented, vengeful scientist (is there any
other kind?) he perfects an after-shave that doubles
as a sure-fire bat lure. After splashing the stuff on,
victims are promptly sucked dry by Bela's ferocious
fledermaus. Don't miss this one.
2. It! The
Terror From Beyond Space (1958)
One of many
fantasy films on director Ed Cahn's staggering resume,
this one is a true standout and, in fact, served as
the uncredited model for Alien decades later.
The titular Martian menace is an ugly blood-slurping
stowaway stalking a spaceship's hapless crew. The simple
plot is unraveled with far more tension than usually
found in Cahn's films.
1. Not Of
This Earth (1957)
The sonorous voice
of Paul Birch dominates this, arguably Roger Corman's
best film. Birch is a mysterious emissary from a distant
planet sent Earthward to gather gallons of the human
blood so desperately needed on his home planet. Sporting
shades that add to his otherworldly aura, Birch hypnotizes
pretty Beverly Garland into nursing his blood-starved
body back to health. Dick Miller's cameo as a squirrelly
vacuum cleaner salesman is priceless.