mike@projection-booth.com mike@projection-booth.com

July 15, 2014

Episode 175: Planet of the Vampires (1965)

Guest Co-Host: Troy Howarth

We examine this sci-fi classic from Mario Bava, Planet of the Vampires (AKA Terrore nello spazio) along with Troy Howarth, author of The Haunted World of Mario Bava.

Buy The Haunted World of Mario Bava
Buy Planet of the Vampires on DVD
Buy It! The Terror Beyond Space
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  1. I have listened to your podcast for close to a year. Being a fan of Mario Bava, I sometimes wondered if you would get around to reviewing one of his films. Naturally, I was delighted when I saw that Planet of the Vampires was the subject of one of your shows.

    The depth of the discussion of the films featured in your podcasts is admirable. What makes the discussions so refreshing for this cinephile is the focus beyond the finished product. The production process, advertising, and the societal and business contexts the films were produced in are vital aspects of appreciating movies. I believe this is especially true with a director like Mario Bava, who almost always had low budgets and lackluster scripts to work with. Even though they are flawed, his films also demonstrate tremendous creativity and resourcefulness. It is in the realm of lighting, camera work, and atmosphere that Bava's films move beyond mediocrity. Planet of the Vampires is a good example of this, but I think Hatchet for the Honeymoon is the best representative. There are some amazing visuals and sequences in the latter film.

    My favorite movies by Mario Bava are Black Sabbath (particularly The Drop of Water section); Blood and Black Lace; Kill, Baby, Kill; Danger: Diabolik; and Lisa and the Devil.

    Thank you for the show.

    1. Mr. Anonymous - I presume?

      Thanks for the kind words. To me the film is more than just the film - there's the context of when it was made, how it was sold, what was going on at the time. My high school English teacher got me to realize this in terms of novels - no one creates in a vacuum, everything reflects the era in which it was made... even if the author didn't consciously set out to do so.

      Thanks for listening and supporting the show,

      Rob St. Mary
      co-host of "The Projection Booth"

  2. I remember seeing this on the late, late show back in the early 80s and it wormed its way into my mind. In the mid 90s I found an EP VHS copy in a bargain bin at a video store... That was one of the best 'movie' days of my life, except it contained that horrible redone score. Grrr. I was simply happy to have a copy of this rare film.
    One of the things that 'made' the movie that you didn't touch on much was the sound design. Like you said the odd creepy electronic 'noise' that fills the spaceship. Disturbing back ground sound that is for some reason truly disturbing. Space movies of the time contained Space sounds electronic beeps, the clicky-clicky of punch card readers. The only other space movie that used simple sounds rather than scores for atmosphere was some parts of Forbidden Planet. The scene one the derelict space ship scared the crap out of me as a kid and it's still creepy today. Our hero accidentally activating a last recording a dead giant, still sitting as a skeleton clutching the device. When our heroes start freaking, you are too. The sounds in the alien ship are great. The distant deep thumping of what sound like the ships heart, the rasping inhaling and exhaling of mechanical lungs. The deep elephantine voice of the dead crew member booming out in the suddenly locked room. The wasp like buzz of the device used to open the door. Great stuff that really gets to you on a subconscious level. That one scene haunted me for Decades!