Not of This Earth (1988)

Is there a woman in this thing who manages to keep her clothes on?

It took me a moment to remember that one of the three hookers our evil alien takes back to his place does actually keep her top on, but you have to admit that it is a huge accomplishment.  I suppose they couldn’t meet her price.

Now for those of you who haven’t done your homework, this one is a remake of one of Roger Corman’s classic 1950s SF films.  It does, more or less, repeat the plot of the original, but you really don’t have to look any further than the big star of the film to see what this one is about.  

Yes, yes, we all know Traci Lords hates it when people call her a “former porn queen.”  Let’s face it, though, right before she starred in this film, she’d just gained a tremendous amount of notoriety after she publicly revealed that she’d made around a hundred pornos while she was under the age of Eighteen.  This made it illegal to show or rent any of those films (except, curiously enough, the only one she held the rights to, the one she’d just finished.  Strange, right?)  You have to give her credit, she made a very serious effort to turn her life around and actually learn how to act, but there’s no real question why Roger Corman hired her for this thing.  We’re talking a film in full-bore exploitation mode, the kind of film where one of the victims is a daffy strip-o-gram girl who ends up at the wrong (and we do mean wrong) address because she won’t wear her glasses.  Not only was this is the first film she made after all furor following her revelations, but it is also the last film in which she gets naked, in a totally unnecessary changing her clothes scene while another character is watching.

The original film is vastly superior, and I’d have a hard time coming up with any good reason for making this thing, other than that Roger Corman made money on it. 

Jim Wynorski directed this one.  This is not a good thing, as he’s made some of the worst exploitation films ever made (although I do have a weak spot for Chopping Mall…). When he was a kid, he wanted to be Roger Corman, which is scary enough on its own without his teaming up with Roger to make a movie. Supposedly, he bet Roger he could film a movie in twelve days, and he finished Not of This Earth with half a day to spare.

The strangest thing about this one is the opening credits sequence, which is a series of creature moments from a number of earlier Corman films, including Humanoids of the DeepGalaxy of Terror and Forbidden World.  Supposedly, there are bits of film from each of these films in here somewhere, but you certainly don’t see any of these creatures anywhere in this film —  not even that giant worm rape scene from Galaxy of Terror!

However, there is one thing that makes this trashy Corman retread seem particularly sad.  The 1957 original was one of those films which disappeared without a trace, even though (like a number of films which hadn’t been seen in a long time) it was considered by many to be a classic or minor classic.  The only way to find it was to buy a rare and hard to find grey market copy (even some of the most reliable grey market sources just didn’t have this one!) or to watch this awful remake.

Or the remake Roger made a decade later, with Michael York as his sinister alien.

Not only was it easy to find the Traci Lords version in that long winter when the original was unavailable, but it is still readily available, even though you can finally buy the original.

Hard to imagine, isn’t it?

Oh, well. If you have an obsessive desire to see naked breasts, you might like this one.  And it is kind of fun in a slightly campy way, although it doesn’t handle the comedy as deftly as the original did. It is a very minor film, whose best points were handled better in the original.

Unless you’re looking for naked boobs.

However, if you aren’t, then you would be a lot better off watching the original, which didn’t need nudity to hold the audience’s attention.

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