Search - Panic in Year Zero/The Last Man on Earth on DVD

Panic in Year Zero/The Last Man on Earth
Panic in Year Zero/The Last Man on Earth
Actors: Franca Bettoia, Antonio Corevi, Christi Courtland, Emma Danieli, Carolyn De Fonseca
Director: Ubaldo Ragona
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2005     2hr 59min

Disc 1 Side A: Panic In Year Zero WS Disc 1 Side B: Last Man On Earth WS


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Movie Details

Actors: Franca Bettoia, Antonio Corevi, Christi Courtland, Emma Danieli, Carolyn De Fonseca
Director: Ubaldo Ragona
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: American International Pictures (AIP)
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/20/2005
Original Release Date: 07/05/1962
Theatrical Release Date: 07/05/1962
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 2hr 59min
Screens: Black and White,Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English, Italian

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Movie Reviews

Exceptional job on transfer for MGM Midnite Movie titles
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 09/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Two post-apocalyptic titles on one DVD filled with atmosphere and paranoia, "Panic in the Year Zero" and "The Last Man on Earth" make a potent and interesting double feature. Ray Milland stars and directs the first title a low-budget post-nuclear war saga where Milland tries to protect his family after the world has gone to heck in a handbasket. The film features a very nice print of the movie and the transfer is nice as well.

"The Last Man on Earth" is adapted by author Richard Matheson (writing under the nom de plume Logan Swanson when he wasn't happy with the results of the film)from his classic Science Fiction/horror novel "I Am Legend". Price plays Dr. Robert Morgan the last survivor of a deadly plague that wipes out humanity or so it appears at first. Morgan lost his daughter and wife in the plague. Those affected by the plague turn into vampires (although they look more like zombies in this film)who taunt as he's locked securely behind closed doors. His neighbor and close friend Ben Cortman (Giacomo Rossi-Stuart). Morgan spends his days searching for food, supplies and killing the vampires.

Morgan meets a woman trying to escape the vampire/zombies who appears to be normal. Matheson's original novel and his screenplay do a nice job of turning a cliched story on its head as things are not as they appear to be. Suddenly, it's called into question as to who the monster really is--Morgan or the creatures he hunts. remade into the dated science fiction film "The Omega Man" with Charleton Heston and Anthony Zerbe (playing the hero and Cortman called Matthias here)where very little remains of the plot.

The print looks extremely good (particulary compared to other versions floating around from low budget DVD companies). The extras include a brief interview with Richard Matheson where, again, he expresses his displeasure with the film. While the film fails to capture the moody essence of the book, it has some very effective sequences set in parts of decaying Italy. The film's big failing is the low budget and the use of Rome clearly standing in for the San Francisco location. Other than that,it's a fine production that could have been a whole lot more if the film had a bigger budget, had been shot in the United States and stayed faithful to Matheson's original screenplay.

FYI this was originally supposed to be released back in April of 2005 but was delayed when Sony purchased MGM. A few copies slipped out but most were recalled although there was no flaw with the discs (Sony/MGM just elected to put the series on hold). If you're thinking about purchasing a cheaper edition, the image quality is better here than on any version I've seen to date."
A Worthwhile Double-feature Entry in MGM's MIDNITE MOVIE Ser
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 09/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Two films on a double-sided disc:


This post-nuke survival story features Ray Milland (he also directed) as an average middle-class American father who fights to protect his family from pillagers, rapists, and murderers. Forced into brutal resourcefulness and often required to make snap moral decisions, the real challenge that Milland and family face is the struggle to maintain their traditional values in the face of chaos. Yes, it's one of many SF-ish cold-war dramas, but what sets this one apart from others is Jay Simms and John Morton's intelligent script, which is gritty and relentlessly unsentimental. Unfortunately, it is somewhat hindered by Milland's mediocre direction and often stilted performance, but it's still a better-than-average flick. And it's refreshing to see Frankie Avalon--who here does a fine job playing Milland's son--in a setting other than a beach.


This first cinematic incarnation of Richard Matheson's novel I AM LEGEND--the second was the 1971 Charlton Heston vehicle THE OMEGA MAN--features Vincent Price as the sole survivor of a global pandemic that has transformed the rest of mankind into vampire-like zombies. While more loyal to the novel than the Heston film, the pace is often excruciatingly slow. Still, Price's performance is as entertaining as ever, and the scenes that flashback to the origin of the plague are very well done and chockfull of grim imagery. Worth a look if for no other reason than to see why George Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) is often compared to it.


The two-sided disc from MGM offers both movies their original 2.35:1 widescreen format (enhanced for 16x9 TVs), and the digital transfers are beautiful (especially THE LAST MAN ON EARTH, which far outshines the cut-rate DVD releases already floating around). Each flick is paired with its theatrical trailer, and THE LAST MAN ON EARTH also includes a cool featurette in which co-scripter Matheson explains why he was unhappy with the final script and chose to be credited using a pseudonym.

All in all, this double-feature from MGM's Midnite Movie series is well worth the price of admission."
Heather L. Parisi | St. Augustine, FL USA | 01/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Finally, courtesy of the MGM Midnite Movie series, we have a premium transfer of both these fine old films in true Widescreen format. Did I mention, the price is incredibly reasonable?


For me, "PANIC IN THE YEAR ZERO" was the "reel find" on this DVD. For years it had been available only on a rather shoddy "pan and scan" VHS that, since going out of print, had risen to almost $50 on the used video market.


Really, this film is all about how a relatively-normal, middle-class, Southern California family reacts to the sudden stark and bleak reality of a nuclear attack. The point is subtle, but this could be happening to us, literally any of us.


Ray Milland (who stars and directs) is Harry Baldwin, husband and father. He is about to be handed the biggest possible surprise an hour after embarking on a family vacation with his wife, Ann [Jean Hagen], and his teenage kids, Rick [Frankie Avalon] and Karen [Mary Mitchell]. Behind their 1962 Mercury Monterrey, they towed a travel trailer. They were all set to go fishing and they were on their way ---- UNTIL!!!!

When the bombs go off, the film's saga takes off and their family outing, not unlike one any of us might undertake, takes a decided detour into the twilight zone. Everything about Harry Baldwin stays on the same even keel, but his actions are incredibly responsive to the fast-changing societal conditions. While all his actions, though increasingly drastic and ever more overtly violent, may seem justified based on what he was facing at the moment, the easy way this otherwise-decent family man descended to address the jungle in which he was being steeped was frightening. Could this happen to us as well?

REVIEW FOR: "The Last Man on Earth"

My low expectations for this dystopian yarn were far exceeded by this seemingly half-baked, Italian-made "B" flick. Titled "L'Ultimo Uomo della Terra" [same meaning] where it was made in Italy, this film is initially powered by Vincent Price's soliloquy to get the narration going as this film creeps along. Largely due to Vincent Price's efforts, SOMEHOW THIS FILM WORKS!

We hear and see how in a post-epidemic Earth, scientist Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) is the one man immune to a plague that has transformed all of humankind that survived (the others died) into vampire-like creatures. Morgan becomes a vampire hunter while the few remaining half-alive mutant vampires live in fear of him. He is alone. In his despair, we see through his eyes how the plague developed just 3 years earlier and how his best friend became one of the monsters that now stalks him by night. The flashback ends with Morgan recalling how his wife returned from the grave after he had just buried her, calling him by name as she menacingly approached him. This was creepy stuff.

At this point, now back to the present, Morgan finds a puppy. After adopting the dog as his own, Morgan finds that he too is a plague victim. After the dog's hair begins falling out, we move on to the next scene which shows Morgan burying the puppy covered with a white sheet with a stake through it. I admit it was pretty obvious, but effectively pathetic nonetheless. Then Morgan has a real break and meets one of the human "survivors". He actually cures this zombie, Ruth (Franca Bettoja), with a transfusion of his blood. For the first time in over three years there seems to be hope.

This story is based on Richard Matheson's dark novel "I Am Legend". In 1971, this story was remade as "The Omega Man" with Charlton Heston in the Vincent Price role. "The Omega Man" seems over-the-top compared to this more modest effort and Price does an excellent job of making the bleakness look real and appropriate.


This MGM Midnite Movie edition lacks features but has a terrific transfer which for both films is widescreen and is a major improvement over the VHS releases in both sound and video quality. I bought this without worry since "Reptilicus" is also an MGM Midnite Movie, and its transfer quality is literally unreal."
Don't be thrown by earlier reviews here!
D. A. Sherman | KY USA | 09/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Amazon has lumped in a lot of reviews for earlier DVD editions of the films contained within the new MGM double-feature disc, and in doing so unfairly gives readers the idea that the DVD released on September 20, 2005 looks terrible.

I'm happy to report that this is not the case. PANIC IN YEAR ZERO looks great and includes not only closed-captioning for the first time, but also the theatrical trailer that includes a snippet of a scene at the ranch house not seen in the film itself. The film itself takes on a darker tone in these post-Hurricane Katrina days (looting in the streets, a town cutting of evacuees from coming into their town, gas stations jacking up gas prices due to the crisis, the law breaking down, etc.), and it is not a film waiting for a MST3K-ing from viewers even if the title sounds like it would be; so keep that in mind.

Meanwhile, this has to be the best print I've ever seen of LAST MAN ON EARTH, and I've had several video and DVD prints of it in the past. Plus, it is also closed-captioned, which is a definite plus for anyone who is HOH or deaf who has been longing to understand all the dialogue in this film. Plus, any chance to see and hear Richard Matheson talk is another great bonus.

If you're interested in either of these two films, this is definitely worth the purchase."