Dr Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) is the titular Last Man on Earth. A plague has swept the world, killing much of the population and transforming the remainder into vampires.
Every day he goes through the same routine, carrying out his undending search and destroy mission against then returning to his boarded up, garlic, mirror and crucifix-festooned home before night falls and the undead, including his former colleague and friend Ben Cortman (Giacomo Rossi-Stuart) gather outside and taunt him to come out...
A faithful adaptation of Richard Matheson's classic 1951 horror novel I Am Legend - the author had a hand in the writing under the pseudonym Logan Swanson - this 1964 Italian-American co-production would seem to have exerted a considerable influence on the imagery of George A. Romero's Dead films and The Crazies, the sequences of gas-mask wearing soldiers pitching bodies into burning pits also being the kind of things that would not look too out of place in a documentary on Nazi atrocities.
Benefitting from a strong performance from a cast-against-type Vincent Price - his sophisticated, suave manner has no place in a world where all that matters is to survive - and good use of the distinctive architecture of the EUR region of Rome, as also seen in Antonioni's L'eclisse and Argento's Tenebrae, The Last Man on Earth is a surprisingly good film that deserves to be better known.
The post-apocalyptic landscape of the EUR
One also wonders if the depopulated world of Tenebrae, as another science-fiction film set a few years into its future - now our past, of course - might not have been affected by a plague like the one depicted here, leading to the emergence of a new, post-human order. (After all, weren't Demons and Phenomena in part Argento's musings on a world where fascism had triumphed and Opera a meditation on the impossibility of love in the era of AIDS respectively?)