Though not considered one of director Mario Bava's greatest achievements, Planet of the Vampires is nevertheless a pulp science-fiction lover's dream. Many of the director's stylistic trademarks are well represented here, from his extensive use of color filters to his imaginative camera shots and gothic horror preoccupations. At times, the film looks like a pulp cover come to life -- the garish primary- color glow of the alien landscape; the undead crewmen, wrapped in plastic, rising from their makeshift metal tombs; the discovery of the massive "vampire" skeletons inside the creatures' crashed spacecraft; and the crew wearing tight black leather uniforms with lightning bolt insignias on their chests. Bava makes the most out of his limited budget, giving the film a surreal pop art glow that puts many bigger productions to shame. Along with It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958), this atmospheric sci-fi shocker would go on to influence Ridley Scott's big-budget B-movie, Alien (1979).
by Derek Hill review