Thursday, March 31, 2011

Not of This Earth (1988)

It's funny: while some people discovered by Roger Corman (Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and James Cameron) went on to do greater things, Jim Wynorski hasn't gone on to do greater things, and that's most likely his intention. According to the commentary he and star Traci Lords have for his 1988 remake of Corman's "Not of This Earth", he would rather continue to make movies with beasts, babes who flash their breasts at the drop of a hat, blood and other exploitable elements. Gotta like that honesty. Now, onto the review.

Mr. Johnson (Arthur Roberts) is here for one purpose: to feed on the souls and blood of people-preferably buxom women. You see, he's a vampire from space, and his planet is in peril, so he decides this one is good enough. One lady he takes particular interest in is Nurse Nadine Story (Lords, in her first movie role after her other...ahem, career), and decides to take her in. However, she's not just some dumb blonde-she's been doing some investigating, and knows something's up with this guy...

Made on a bet with producer Roger Corman, "Not of This Earth" is cheap, undemanding exploitation fluff, which doesn't warrant much thought, and exists solely as disposable junk food. To be fair, that's pretty much all of Wynorski's oeuvre, but at least he doesn't do anything too offensive here. In fact, unless you are upset by the sight of heavily endowed (and usually surgically enhanced) women prancing around topless, there really isn't anything particularly harsh in this movie.

So, while it's a pretty slight movie that I'll probably forget in oh, about six months, I still found it rather enjoyable in it's own way. The humor is pretty amusing at times (Monique Potter and Becky LeBeau in particular have great cameo appearances), Lords does a surprisingly good job in her role, and at 82 minutes, very little of the movie feels like a waste of time. I also really liked the electronic score by Wynorski vet Chuck Cirino, which captures the campy tone of the film perfectly.

In a way, I admire Jim Wynorski: Sure, he's delivered some serious bullshit (though I'm sure he'll be the first to admit that), but it's refreshing to see a director working to this day that has no pretensions about what he's doing. That's what I like about this movie the most: it lacks pretension as well, and that's certainly for the best. I'm not the biggest fan of the term "turn your mind off and enjoy", but in this case...

Rating: 6.5/10

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