Planet of the Vampires, directed by Mario Bava
One of the illustrious MGM Midnite Movies, Planet of the Vampires promises greatness with its title and its director. I am a big fan of Italian horror and more specifically the holy triumvirate of Bava, Argento, and Fulci, so the opportunity to see Bava direct science-fiction-based horror is more than a little intriguing. The story involves two deep-space vessels forced to land on a deserted planet harboring an unspeakable evil. Again, it demonstrates a great deal of potential early on but its dull characters and molasses-like pacing are enough to effectively rename it Planet of the Boredom.
The biggest problem, as I see it, beyond the tedium is the fact that at no point is there a single vampire on this planet. It would have been more apt to title the film Planet of the Demons as the antagonists inhabit the various crew members and use their bodies as vessels for carrying out their nefarious deeds. But it wouldn't be my beloved Italian horror if you didn't feel at least marginally ripped-off at the end. The only evidence of vampire influence is the costuming. The crew members wear black leather suits with gold trim leading to pointed, up-turned, collars reminiscent of Dracula's cape. Even the helmets they wear make it look like they have black, slicked-back hair and a widow's peak. What was funny to me, as my friend and colleague John Gholson pointed out, was that the uniforms also looked strikingly similar to Bryan Singer's X-Men uniforms.