The Best Looking Movie I’ve Seen is a 60s Italian B-Movie

Let me tell you why I find it so beautiful

You may think the title of this article is deceitful clickbait or based on some silly technicality of colour processing. But no, it’s really true. My favourite movie in terms of aesthetics really is a cheesy 60s Italian B-movie.

Beauty is a subjective term. Of course Lord of the Rings and Avatar are beautiful movies. The armies of artists who worked with powerful CGI machines on them are sure to make every shot look amazing.

But there is a movie with visuals that excites me even more. Most of you reading this will think I am just being ridiculous, but I’m completely serious.

The most gorgeous movie I have seen is called:

Planet of the Vampires (1965)

I kid you not!

It’s a very low-grade Italian B-Movie made long before I was born. It was shot on very small sets, that are filled with mist and beautifully lit with garish contrasting colours. Fantastic miniature work, and out of this world wardrobe design. The dialogue is awful, the story is somewhat unoriginal but serviceable (although it was a huge inspiration to Ridley Scott while making Alien and Prometheus), and most of it is dubbed with American voices (the actors were from countries like Spain, Portugal and Italy, and actually spoke their particular native language while filming).

But despite that, it’s an extremely entertaining and visually striking movie.

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Planet of the Vampires (1965)
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Planet of the Vampires (1965)
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Planet of the Vampires (1965)
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Planet of the Vampires (1965)
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Planet of the Vampires (1965)
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Planet of the Vampires (1965)

I am a big fan of fantasy artists like Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo. I love the claustrophobic vignettes they make, surrounded by coloured mist and a bit of blurry terrain as if what we can see in the image is all there is in the entire universe. I don’t know why I like that kind of thing, I just do. I really love it; it’s almost a spiritual feeling that I can't describe. It’s like a scene in a bottle or something. As a teenager, I used to paint little fantasy miniatures and constructed bits of scenery and made tiny vignettes. Maybe that’s why I like those images so much. Dunno?

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Fire and Ice — Frank Frazetta (1983)
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Death Dealer — Frank Frazetta (1973)
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A Matter for Men — Boris Vallejo (1982)
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Flash Gordon — Boris Vallejo (1980)

Anyway, you can see that Planet of the Vampires is thoroughly gorgeous and really captures the spirit of the paintings. It has the same tight, multicoloured misty backgrounds, and otherworldly atmosphere. This is the only live-action movie I have found that satisfies my craving for such claustrophobic alien worlds.

I would do anything to be given the chance to make my own movie with those kinds of visuals. How about you? What kind of movies do you find visually stunning, and why?

Long live Planet of the Vampires!

Scifi writer, roboticist, and game developer, 2x Quora Top Writer. I write about writing speculative fiction, computer graphics, AI, evolution, and programming.

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