Not of this Earth (1988)

Cast - Traci Lords, Arthur Roberts

Director - Jim Wynorski

Country of Origin - USA

Discs - 2

MSRP - 19.93

Distributor - Shout Factory

Reviewer - Scott MacDonald

The Film (4.5/5)

 

     When Not of this Earth arrived in my mailbox, a few weeks ago I was convinced I'd never seen it. I knew I saw parts of the original 1957 film, but didn't have any recollection of seeing any other Traci Lords starring vehicle outside of 1989's rock and schlock slasher flick Shock 'Em Dead.  So when I started watching it I was quite surprised to find that I had seen it on video as a teenager. There are a lot of films from around that time, that I really enjoyed, and going back I wonder what I saw in the (*coughHeavyMetalcough*), and while I will never say that this Not of this Earth remake is some sort of lost cinematic masterpiece, it still holds up as a rocking good time.

 

     It also made me take note that some of my favorite B-Movies from that mid to late 80's period were directed by one man, Jim Wynorski who also directed such classic trash as Deathstalker II, Chopping Mall, and my personal favorite Hard to Die. As a director Wynorski has never attempted to make anything truly serious, and looking at his IMDB page his career eventually devolved into absolute dreck like the Bare Wench Project, and the Witches of Breastwick, but during this period he was gold, creating a series of seriously fun, campy B-Movies many in conjunction with legendary producer Roger Corman.

 

     Not of this Earth is a short fun ride, the direction from Jim Wynorski helps it flow with a nice quick pace, and the film never truly overstays it's welcome. The acting is pretty much what you would expect from a movie of this caliber, nothing special, but it works.  The film is, of course, filled with lots of violence and nudity, and if that is your thing you're going to be quite happy this flick. It also has a good sense of humor about it, it never takes itself too seriously, and knows exactly what kind of movie it is. Not of this Earth also ends up recycling footage from other Corman films, just in the opening sequences I caught clips from Humanoids from the Deep, Galaxy of Terror, Battle Beyond the Stars, and Forbidden World.

 

     Not of this Earth tells the story of Mr. Johnson (Arthur Roberts) an alien from a planet of vampires who has come to Earth on a sort of scouting mission (Think a blood driver version of David Bowie in the Man Who Fell to Earth) to check out if human blood is a compatible food source for his planets starving population.  Upon arrival he begins his mission, killing and draining the blood from a pair of lovers attempting to have sex in the back seat of a car. Soon after he goes to a blood bank for a transfusion, and hires nurse Nadine played by Traci Lords to be his live-in nurse. While living with him, she begins to notice his erratic behavior, and  with the help of her police officer boyfriend (Roger Lodge), and the Doctor she works for they begin to try and unravel Mr. Johnson's plan.

 

Audio/Video (3/5)

 

     Shout! Factory have presented Jim Wynorski's remake of Not of this Earth in it's original 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio. The transfer for the most part is very well restored with colors popping from the screen. The black levels are solid, and flesh tones largely accurate.  And while I say the transfer is quite good, it never really goes beyond it's low budget origins, there is some sporadic print damage through the film, and the occasional cigarette burn. The audio is presented in a less than stellar English Dolby Digital 2.0 track. The mix on this track was far from perfect, and I found myself having to constantly shift the volume in order to hear dialogue, but lower it more action-oriented sequences. Also, there were some occasions slight distortion and popping on the track.

 

Extras (3.5/5)

 

   Shout! Factory has put together a nice array of extras for their release of Not of this Earth.  The film features 2 commentary tracks, one is new, and one has been ported over from a prior DVD release. The new track features director Jim Wynorski together with lead actress Traci Lords, as they go over their memories of the production.  There is also a commentary with Wynorski again, this time with actor Lenny Juliano.  This is followed by an 11 minute interview with actress Traci Lords , where she discusses her involvement with Not of this Earth. The disc is rounded off by a photo gallery, and the films original theatrical trailer.

 

Overall

 

     Jim Wynorski's Not of this Earth takes Roger Corman's 1957 original, and updates it for the 80's. The film is a well paced, fun, and schlocky ride.  The audio/video on this release courtesy of Shout! Factory is quite good for a film of it's age and budget, but still has minor issues, while the audio is less than stellar.  The extras are a good mix of informative, and entertaining.  This release is definitely recommended for fans of 80's B cinema.