Not of This Earth (1988)
Not of This Earth (1988)

Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 21 min.

Release Date: May 20th, 1988 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Jim Wynorski Actors: Traci Lords, Arthur Roberts, Lenny Juliano, Ace Mask, Rebecca Perle, Becky LeBeau, Monique Gabrielle, Roxane Kernohan, Ava Cadell, Cynthia Thompson

 


 

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spaceship heads for earth, crash landing in a deserted wooded area, where Tommy (Robby Bointen) and his date (Belinda Grant) have parked for some undisturbed, late-night lovemaking. But the alien invader, clad in a black suit and hat and sunglasses, slaughters them both – for their blood. The following morning, the murderous visitor, using the name Mr. Paul Johnson (Arthur Roberts), visits a doctor’s office for an emergency transfusion, but is reluctant to submit to prior testing. Dr. Rochelle (Ace Mask) assigns his head nurse, Nadine Story (Traci Lords), to become Johnson’s personal caretaker, after the alien being uses telepathic mind control to ensure that he receives regular blood donations.

Unexplainably, Johnson has shacked up in a grand estate (for about a month), waited on by suspicious but obedient butler Jeremy Perrin (Lenny Juliano). Apparently, the vampirical alien has limitless funds. When Nadine arrives in the evening, he explains that he’s slowly dying, but won’t need any blood until the next day. He then communicates through a special beam with a representative from his home planet of Davanna, who instructs him that his mission involves a multi-phase analysis and utilization of human blood to determine whether or not a full-scale invasion will be fruitful.

In a boldly low-budget, unexpectedly cheesy move, the opening title credits feature clips from producer Roger Corman’s other science-fiction and horror films. And they show monsters and gore that far surpass the impressiveness of the coming production. “Not of This Earth” continues to openly mock its own elements, from Johnson’s deep, monotonic voice and his clichéd verbiage, to the hokey music and the gratuitous nudity. It features plenty of ludicrously contrived moments for baring flesh, including employing prostitutes for easy victims, a strippergram performed for the wrong house, and Lords parading around in revealing lingerie and swimsuits, or just showering. She also stars in her own slow-motion but very poorly edited sex scene (in which she thrashes her head around a few times while sheets remain ridiculously lodged between areas necessary for reproductive acts).

Struggling to find any redeeming qualities, “Not of This Earth” also puts into service poor special effects, primarily with electricity bolts and glowing, animated clouds; appalling makeup; and supremely bad dialogue. Quite surprisingly, however, Lords isn’t as bad an actress as one would expect. Her sincere treatment of the material gives it an extra fraction of seriousness, though even the brief moments of gore are of trivial influence on the overall realism or severity of the horror premise. There’s also a pointless plentitude of backstory for unimportant characters, including the detailing of Jeremy’s former life of crime and the doctor’s theories on evaporating blood. Minutes are additionally allocated to observe Officer Harry Sherborn (Roger Lodge), Nadine’s boyfriend, while the closing credits hint at possible bloopers that surely would have been far more amusing than most of the prior footage. This 1988 remake is the second of three films with the same title, all produced by Corman and made on extremely limited finances (the final adaptation in 1995 at least features more recognizable actors, including Michael York, Richard Belzer, and Jennifer Coolidge).

– Mike Massie

  • 2/10