Italian horror master Mario Bava brought his considerable skills to bear on this hypnotic genre hybrid, creating one of the most eerily atmospheric science fiction films ever made. A spaceship is lured to a mysterious planet, where members of its crew are slaughtered, and their bodies possessed by a near-extinct alien racea minimalist plot, to be sure, but in the hands of Bava and cinematographer Antonio Rinaldi, Planet of the Vampires (the best-known of this film's many titles) is a near-masterpiece of style over substance. The simplest sets and backdrops are composed with a perfect eye for perspective and color, with sensible spaceship design and memorable costumes that look like they sprang from the futuristic fantasies of an S&M biker gang. Performances are secondary but effectively low-key, serving to enhance Bava's painterly use of matte work and miniatures. With a surprise twist ending, POTV is an essential addition to anyone's sci-fi collection.