Not of This Earth (1988)

Remakes can’t be all that bad… as in 1957 Roger Corman brought us the b/w low-budget sci-fi classic “Not of this Earth”. Director / writer Jim Wynorski would convince Corman to allow him remake it (and just under a decade later another remake of this tale came on the scene). Where the film would gain much attention for and eventually become a cult favourite would be the bold casting of the highly delectable Traci Lords in her first major feature film. Don’t let it fool you that she started off in porn films (and infamously being underage too), because even here she shows how much of a talented “actress” she was. Truly committed to the material (despite the daft nature), but Wynorski also took advantage of her risqué image to show off her titillating body and she wasn’t shy of it either. She truly played it up for the camera. Lords is excellent in her portrayal as headstrong nurse Nadine Story who’s hired by the very strange Mr. Johnson to perform his blood transfusions. There’s something that’s not quite right, so Nadine begins to investigate as secretly her boss is a space being looking to see if his dying race could survive while harvesting off the fresh blood of the human race.

This snappy, sexy contemporary late-night b-flick revamp is a complete blast from start to finish. Even though its low-budget restraints show up, it doesn’t get in its way and director Wynorski keeps it economical, without losing any of the old-fashion enthusiasm (just listen to that spaced-out music score). Even with its sleazy jabs (leering topless female shots) and jarring jolts (some ghastly attack scenes with some slasher traits to them), beneath (just remember what decade it was made) it still had the spirit and atmosphere of those old-school sci-fi horror outings Corman was churning out early in his career. Special effects are cheap, but crisply done for its minimal approach and so were the optical effects. The silly material keeps it rather tongue-in-cheek, plenty of wisecracks with biting dialogues and some amusingly noticeable in-jokes especially regarding Lord’s porn past. The acting fairs up. Arthur Roberts is effortlessly good as the expressionless Mr. Johnston — with those glowing blue eyes under the shades and the sensitive hearing. Lenny Juliano, Ace Mask and Robert Lodge are amusingly acceptable. Other than Lords, there’s plenty of buxom ladies showing up; Monique Gabrielle, Ava Cadell, Cynthia Thompson and Rebecca Perle. Also the perky Becky LeBeau is quite memorable and furthermore looking good in a nurse outfit is Kelli Maroney.

I was amused by the oddly placed collection of clips from Corman produced features that showed up in the film’s opening intro.