We watched 1964's "The Last Man on Earth," starring Vincent Price, this week. Vincent plays Robert Morgan, a brilliant scientist who also happens to be the only survivor of a plague that has turned everyone else in the world into zomb-- er, vampires. Every night a crowd of them staggers to his house and moans his name, calling him to come out, pounding on his boarded-up windows. Supposedly they inspired George A. Romero's treatment of his ghouls in "Night of the Living Dead," and they are certainly much more zombie than traditional vampire. They haven't got much intelligence, they have no visible fangs, and they seem more interested in sort of leaping on Morgan or pounding his windows than going for his jugular. Still, they are repelled by garlic, mirrors, crosses and sunlight, so vampires they are. I was surprised at how creepy this movie was. I'm adding it to my Willies List (which is not dirty) -- useful because mean Ed isn't letting me include "It" on account of "It"s being a TV movie.
At Borders the other week I got ahold of one of their last copies of "I Am Legend," on which this film is based, without the Will Smith movie cover. It's a spiffy short novel. I was inclined to agree with Dean Koontz's blurb on the back cover that it's the best vampire book since "Dracula," but then I thought of "'Salem's Lot." Still, pretty good, particularly if you're looking for something Halloweeny but don't have much time.