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  Not of this Earth You Shall Have Blood
Year: 1957
Director: Roger Corman
Stars: Paul Birch, Beverly Garland, Morgan Jones, William Roerick, Jonathan Haze, Dick Miller, Anna Lee Carroll, Pat Flynn, Barbara Bohrer, Roy Engel, Tamar Cooper, Harold Fong, Lyle Latell, Gail Ganley, Ralph Reed
Genre: Horror, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: A teenage boy has brought a teenage girl home and they are parked outside her house while they make with the small talk, though she turns him down when he wants to take it further, telling him she will see him tomorrow. But she will not, as when she gets out and he drives off, she hears footsteps approaching, yet cannot see anyone they might belong to. Spooked, the girl walks into her garden only to be confronted by a well-dressed man (Paul Birch) wearing dark glasses and carrying a suitcase: she is transfixed to the spot as he lifts his glasses to reveal two pale eyes with a paralysing glare and the girl drops dead. Then the man begins to drain her blood...

Not of this Earth is generally considered one of director Roger Corman's best films, certainly one of his best from the fifties, and the reason for that might be the enthusiasm it took on a variety of genres without making any of them look out of place. Indeed, for all its gear changes he created a low budget shocker that ran remarkably smoothly mainly thanks to his scriptwriters, who included Charles B. Griffith, and his cast - this in spite of Birch not getting along with Corman at all. Perhaps that enhanced his performance of cool hostility, who knows, but of all the aliens of this decade, his Mr Johnson is among the creepiest.

He is always in his black suit and tie, which makes him look like the world's most sinister businessman in those shades, with his clipped speech not contributing much in the way of warmth either. Birch may not have been enjoying himself, but you cannot imagine anyone else being quite so effective in the role and the scriptwriters have a few tricks up their sleeve to twist the mundane urban and suburban landscape of the story into something off kilter and uneasy. Take that suitcase Johnson carries, which contains a blood donation set up, not that his victims have much say in making their contribution.

He also has a teleportation cum communication device behind a sliding door in his lounge, which not even his manservant, sleazy ex-con Jeremy (Jonathan Haze), is aware of. The reason the man from another world is here on Earth is to get as much blood out of us humans (or subhumans as he terms us) as possible, but as there's just one of him presumably the project is slow-going. Oh, no, he's merely here to test out our compatibility with his own race, and when they have confirmed they can use our precious bodily fluids, they will arrive en masse - there's only one thing that can stop them, and that's the fact the film's budget won't stretch to that kind of spectacle.

Fortunately for Mr Corman and the inhabitants of our planet, there are a few humans who twig what is going on, chief among them nurse Nadine Storey (Beverly Garland in one of her best loved roles), who is recruited by Johnson to administer blood transfusions in the comfort of his own home. Nadine grows suspicious (how could she do otherwise?), mainly because there are so many weird aspects to the plot that alert her such as the fact that her new boss doesn't eat breakfast but drinks a chemical solution instead, something she sends to a lab to have it analysed. Other quirky bits include Dick Miller as a hepcat vacuum cleaner salesman, making an excellent impression before being drained, the female counterpart to Johnson who ends up with an ill-advised transfusion of rabid dog blood (!) and the bizarre head crushing umbrella creature that appears late on. It lasts just over an hour, but packs a lot in, and if nothing else is a fine example of resourcefulness on limited means. Music by Ronald Stein.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Roger Corman  (1926 - )

Legendary American B-Movie producer and director who, from the fifties onwards, offered low budget thrills with economy and flair. Early films include It Conquered the World, Not of This Earth, Attack of the Crab Monsters, A Bucket of Blood, The Little Shop of Horrors and X. The Intruder was a rare attempt at straightforward social comment.

Come the sixties, Corman found unexpected respectability when he adapted Edgar Allan Poe stories for the screen: House of Usher, Pit and The Pendulum, The Masque of the Red Death and The Tomb of Ligeia among them, usually starring Vincent Price. He even tried his hand at counterculture films such as The Wild Angels, The Trip and Gas!, before turning to producing full time in the seventies.

Many notable talents have been given their break by Corman, such as Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorcese, Monte Hellman, Jonathan Demme, Joe Dante, James Cameron and Peter Bogdanovich. Corman returned to directing in 1990 with the disappointing Frankenstein Unbound.

 
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