Planet Of The Vampires (Terrore Nello Spazio)

Director: Mario Bava

France/Italy 1965
86 minutes
Cast: Barry Sullivan, Norma Bengell, Angel Aranda, Evi Mirandi

In the lonely expanse that is space the crew of a starship respond to a distress signal that is detected after they exit a meteor shower. Once there they find the remains of an extraterrestrial craft of unknown origin, inside they find the skeletal remains of a massive alien creature. Soon after the crew begin to succumb to the evil forces present as they fight for their own survival.

What sounds like Ridley Scott's terrifying 1979 classic Alien is actually the premise of Mario Bava's 1965 eerily atmospheric sci-fi thriller Planet of the Vampires. The crew of the Argo lands on a mysterious planet Aura after its sister ship Galliot has lost contact while responding to an unknown distress signal from a near by planet. They soon discover their sister ship with all of its crew dead, soon after the crew of the Argo fall victim to an unseen menace that takes control of them and forces them to fight one another as they try to find out who is not yet under their influence.

The film makes excellent use of simple but effective set design that helps establish the creepy fog filled planets setting. The fight scenes are a bit hokey and the dialogue a little on the silly side but you have to marvel at those really cool space suits. Leave it to Mario Bava to put his astro heroes in full black leather. This film would be released in the US under half a dozen titles and help establish a trend that would lead to numerous copycats of a film that was itself a near copy of another film.

Terrore Nello Spazio @ Mario Bava site | This film @ IMDB | This film @ Wikipedia

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