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Not of This Earth Reviews

Perhaps dissatisfied with director Jim Wynorski's lackluster 1988 remake, schlock king Roger Corman has overseen a new production of his 1957 camp classic NOT OF THIS EARTH. Aside from a few technical, sexual, and thematic elements unattainable in 1957, this new version remains faithful to the tone of the original. Paul Johnson (Michael York), while appearing human, is an alien from a distant planet, sent to Earth in search of a cure for the rare blood disease threatening his homeland. Johnson discovers that human blood temporarily ameliorates his illness; he attacks people by burning their eyes and draining them dry. Seeking a better solution, Johnson uses mind control to force blood specialist Dr. Rochelle to search for a cure. He also brainwashes the doctor into hiring out his nurse, Amanda Sayles (Elizabeth Barondes), who moves into Johnson's house to administer daily blood infusions. Amanda notices that Johnson moves and talks in odd ways and never removes his sunglasses. Initially, she dismisses it, but she grows suspicious when Johnson's twitchy butler, Jeremy (Richard Belzer), tells her about disappearing visitors and the house's creepy basement. Amanda's cop boyfriend, Jack (Parker Stevenson), is also suspicious. Johnson, meanwhile, has learned from his superiors that civil war has left his planet in chaos. He encounters a female refugee from his world, and, using Rochelle's newfound cure, the pair plan to breed a new lineage and return to claim control of their planet. The female dies, however, when Johnson mistakenly infuses her with rabid blood. By now, Amanda and Jeremy have found considerable evidence that Johnson is an alien and they confront him. Jeremy is burnt to a crisp by Johnson's eye-rays and Amanda flees. Amanda manages to call Jack, who arrives on his motorcycle. After a chase, Jack forces Johnson's car over a cliff; the alien dies. At Johnson's grave site, Jack and Amanda ponder the alien's horrific and sad fate. A man with odd mannerisms and dark glasses approaches the grave as they walk away. Corman's producing presence on this remake insures that nothing is taken too seriously. The space vampire plot is strictly B-movie fodder and the filmmakers openly acknowledge this and use it to their advantage. York clearly enjoys himself here, and his twitchy, semantically-challenged alien is the best thing about the film, a goofball version of Jeff Bridges's character from STARMAN (1984). Barondes, Belzer, and Stevenson are also quite good, with Barondes standing out as the sharp-tongued nurse Amanda (a role essayed by ex-porn star Traci Lords in the 1988 remake). Screenwriter Charles Philip Moore also deserves credit for smart, funny dialogue and timely references to AIDS as it relates to the alien's blood ailment. While such contemporary themes, as well as some suitably slimy special effects, have updated this NOT OF THIS EARTH, it is its faith to the Corman ideals of fun-loving camp that ultimately redeem the film and make it an enjoyable experience.(Violence, nudity, profanity.)