Saturday, June 4, 2011

Not Of This Earth (1988)

Okay, so here it is: a Roger Corman-produced movie starring Traci Lords about an inter-galactic vampire that's come to earth to steal our human blood. Obviously this movie is going to be amazing, in the way that all Roger Corman movies are amazing, but I guess if you're one of those people who pretends to have good taste you might wonder if it's worth a watch. Before the credits even start you know the deal with Not Of This Earth - it's a weird, cheesy little piss-take of a film that looks cheap as hell and knows exactly what's expected of it. So yeah, it's awesome. 

NOTE takes its cue from kooky 50's invasion movies, and if you grew up with that shit like I did, you're in for a good time. It begins in truly bizarre fashion - clips of previous Corman movies play while the credits roll, a kind of greatest hits package from ten or so of his cheesiest creations, for absolutely no reason. This should tell you plenty about Not Of This Earth - it's like Corman didn't even think it was worth filming a credits sequence for, so fuck it, here's some other movies. All of this contributes to NOTE's awesomeness, in case you thought it might be a bad thing. The story is slight, but does the job - a being from another planet (disguised as a human) has come to earth to seek a cure for the plague that's slowly eradicating his race, and it just so happens human blood contains the nutrients needed to cure them. Traci Lords is employed as his personal nurse in order to give him daily blood transfusions, but little does she know he's been killing innocent folks in his basement to harvest their blood.

Speaking of Traci Lords, she's honestly one of the best things about the movie. She pretty much owns every scene she appears in, but I guess that's not too hard seeing as the other actors are beyond appalling... Seeing her play a super-intelligent expert on chemistry and genetics is a bit of a rib-tickler though. Apparently this was her first role in a non-porn movie, so I guess the fact that she doesn't sleepwalk her way through her scenes is pleasantly surprising. The movie is rife with technical faults, with classic guffs like visible boom mics and stunt men that look completely different to the actors they're filling in for, but hey, that kind of stuff just adds to it. Any scene that features the alien communicating telepathically is absolutely hysterical, with the actors gurning and miming while someone obviously reads the dialogue to them off screen, as is fact that the alien takes his orders from a fat Rick Rubin-lookalike; I'd love to know whose idea it was to cast that dude. 

NOTE is suitably trashy, but it's a little too fluffy to really qualify as sleazy. There sure are a lot of tits though. It only holds back when it comes to the gore, which is disappointingly scant... The movie could really have been a classic if they'd pushed the boat out there. The end is a little lame too, and really left me thinking "is that seriously it?", but Corman probably just ran out of money so I won't hold it against him. And besides, you have to admire any film that ends with "THE END?", complete with question mark.

There isn't much to Not Of This Earth, but it's so gleefully trashy that you can't help but love it. It's the perfect way to kill 80 minutes without having to use your brain, and for that it earns a special place in my heart. 

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