Saturday, July 14, 2007

Not of this Earth (1988) – review


Director: Jim Wynorski

Release Date: 1988

Contains spoilers

This is a Roger Corman produced remake of his 1957 film of the same title and would be remade again in 1995. A sci-fi vampire movie, it stared Traci Lords in the lead role as nurse Nadine Story, and was her first mainstream movie.

grabbed by the throatThe film begins with scenes of a spaceship flying around, though that seems little to do with the plot. Then strange lights appear in the sky near a car where a couple of teens make out. A suited man, with shades and a briefcase approaches the car. He grabs the boy by the throat and then… well it’s never really explained but he kind of sucks the life out of the girl with his eyes. He then opens his briefcase that is full of tubes and siphons her blood.

During the credits we get all sorts of scenes of sci-fi B movie badness, none of which has any connection with the film.

Traci Lords as NadineThe briefcase man enters a clinic and introduces himself to Nadine, who is the nurse on duty, as Mr Johnson (Arthur Roberts, who would cameo in the next remake of this and go on to play a more conventional vampire in the soft porn flick Countess Dracula’s Orgy of Blood (2004)). He has come for a blood transfusion but refuses a blood test. Frustrated by his lack of cooperation Nadine gets Dr Rochelle (Ace Mask, who would go on to star in Transylvania Twist, which Wynorski also directed).

Ace Mask as Dr RochelleRochelle talks to Johnson who uses telepathy to control him and make him give the transfusion. He also allows the Doctor to test his blood, so long as he never speaks of it to anyone. This leads later to the Doctor clamming up whenever Johnson is mentioned and also allows a little bit of plot exposition when he talks to Johnson of the test results – the alien’s blood is turning to dust essentially.

Lenny Juliano as JeremyNadine ends up having to work as a live in nurse, administering daily transfusions and along with his manservant, ex-con Jeremy (Lenny Juliano), begins to suspect there is something wrong.

Johnson’s home world, Davanna, is dying due to endless nuclear war that has damaged their blood. His mission is five fold. One, he must study the sub-humans as they refer to us. Two, he must gather blood for testing on his planet, hence the murder of several women. Three, he must send a live specimen through his transport device for vivisection – which doesn’t go quite to plan as the poor girl is compressed but, hey compression or vivisection, it’s not much of a choice. Four, his own survival will indicate whether the blood of Earth is good enough and, if it is… Five, he must bring about the conquest, subjugation and pasturing of humanity.

life suckingThere is an eye mojo thing going on, not in the telepathic control – which is not eye reliant – but in the fact that they glow and rip the life out of people. He uses this method on his victims, some of whom he goes out and hunts and others come to him such as a vacuum cleaner salesman and three prostitutes he picks up. We do discover a couple of times that high decibel noises cause the Alien pain, this is not really exploited and in the climax a scream from Nadine gives her some distance from Johnson as he holds his ears but that is about it.

dead female alienAt one point a female alien (Rebecca Perle) comes through the teleporter and he gives her a transfusion, unfortunately using blood that has been contaminated by rabies. This turns her into a mad slasher with gooey face until she dies. When the aliens die their eyes turn black, well they would, wouldn’t they?

bed effectsThe special effects are awful. The case with blood extracting equipment looks so cheesy that I think I could knock one up with a few bits of tube if you give me five minutes. He has a food supplement that he puts in water that makes it turn red and have a little mushroom cloud above that looks so crap it is untrue.

The acting is patchy to say the least. The best performance is by Lords, who has some sass at least, but much of it is so hammy that you could open a delicatessen. One thing that does become apparent is that Wynorski makes a pure 1950s cheesy flick in the 1980s. You just cannot get away from the 50s feel and the acting adds towards that.

gratuitous bikiniOne thing Wynorski does, that is not 50s in nature, is put a generous helping of flesh on view. Lords is used to the fullest, with a couple of tease level T&A scenes and of course you get her in a nurse’s uniform, as well as a quite gratuitous bikini section. He then ensures that several more actresses reveal bare flesh for the camera. Making this almost a combination of 50s cheese and late 60s, early 70s sexploitation.

Not a great film, but it does carry a tacky charm and it is better than Wynorski’s other sci-fi vampire film Vampirella, 2.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Sguffalo Bill said...

I already watched this film, but I don't like it. There isn't enought Sgufala

Taliesin_ttlg said...

fair enough... it isn't a great film but as I said it does have a tacky charm... unfortunately I'm not qualified enough to comment on Sgufala