Joe Dante on

Planet of the Vampires

Released 1965
Distributor AIP

Gothic grandmaster Mario Bava leaves his corpse-strewn crypts behind and takes off into deep (and scary) outer space. In doing so he simply transforms the spaceships into intergalactic haunted houses (though sans cobwebs). Britain’s Monthly Film Bulletin accurately pegged this lurid Italian-Spanish-US mash-up as “a triumph of mind over matter, or of Bava over a shoestring budget and appalling dubbed dialogue”. It comes replete with the director’s usual stylistic flourishes including the oddly fetishistic space suits worn by the beleaguered astronauts and a super-saturated red and green color scheme that suggests sinister Christmas tree lighting.

About Joe Dante

Joe Dante is a lifelong film buff who turned his obsession into a career. He got his start cutting trailers for Roger Corman and later directed the hit movie Gremlins, as well as Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Innerspace and Small Soldiers for producer Steven Spielberg. His feature films include The Howling, Piranha, Matinee, The ‘burbs , Looney Tunes Back in Action, The Hole (first winner of the 3D Persol Award at the Venice Film Festival) and the zom-com Burying the Ex. His TV directing work includes: Police Squad, Amazing Stories, the HBO film The Second Civil War, the Masters of Horror titles Homecoming and The Screwfly Solution, and episodes of Eerie, Indiana, CSI: NY, Hawaii 5-0, Witches of East End, Legends of Tomorrow and Salem. His latest big screen credit is an episode of the upcoming Nightmare Cinema.