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  Not of This Earth Save Us, Traci
Year: 1988
Director: Jim Wynorski
Stars: Traci Lords, Arthur Roberts, Lenny Juliano, Ace Mask, Roger Lodge, Rebecca Perle, Michael Delano, Becky LeBeau, Monique Gabrielle, Roxanne Kernohan, Ava Cadell, Cynthia Thompson, Kelli Maroney, Belinda Grant, Robby Bointen, Kim Sill
Genre: Comedy, Trash, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: An alien spacecraft enters the orbit of Planet Earth and lands with a flash of bright light in the middle of nowhere. Almost the middle of nowhere, for there is a couple canoodling in the back seat of their car who are undistracted by the light, though they should have taken it as their cue to get the hell out of there, because soon after a man dressed in a black suit (Arthur Roberts) appears carrying a suitcase and grabs the boy by the neck, then zaps the two of them with beams from his eyes. Once they are dead, he sets about draining their blood...

This remake of Roger Corman's Not of This Earth pointed the direction the legendary producer's career would be headed for the rest of his life: cheap rehashes and remakes, stuffed with stock footage and cutting corners wherever possible. Although for some movie buffs this was rather sad in regard to a figure who had revolutionised Hollywood in a way that oddly saw him to an extent excluded from that success, while it would have been great to see Corman heading up megabudget productions, it might not have truly been right for him. Besides, efforts such as this more comfortably settled with other filmmakers.

Filmmakers like Jim Wynorski, here betting Corman he could finish a remake of his fifties B movie favourite in twelve days, which he did, but not without shaving off many scenes which would have threatened to go over budget, leaving the most basic of special effects and a lot of people standing about talking in rooms. One of those people was Wynorski's real casting coup: Traci Lords, here seeking to put her illegally underage pornography past behind her and stake her claim as a proper actress, which is what she actually wanted to do before she made the mistake of getting into hardcore to pay the bills.

Thus this modest work was benefited by Lords' presence in more ways than one: first thanks to the publicity and curiosity of seeing someone with her notoriety in a straight role, and second because she took her clothes off for the camera for one final time, very tame compared to what had made her famous among "dirty old men" as she had once observed, but a small swan song for those who appreciated such things. As it was, she had studied at the Actor's Studio to hone her skills, which you might have thought was rather overdoing it or at least overambitious for a movie such as this, but it seemed she had indeed learned something from her classes as she didn't embarrass herself.

Not that she was called upon to do much except look attractive in her nurse's uniform, but at least she came across as if she belonged in front of a camera and wasn't strictly amateur trying to make good. The plot was almost identical to the fifties original, only here Wynorski sexed it up to provide the excuse for more nudity, including such especially desperate ploys at having a stripogram (Becky LeBeau) show up at the villain's home, something which should have been dispiritingly lame yet somehow had you admiring their cheek. The alien wants our precious bodily fluids, is in contact with an apparent space hippy in his closet, hires Traci to administer blood transfusions, and is interrupted at least twice for sequences from earlier Corman flicks to pad out the brief running time. The titles are a marvel of building up expectations crushed by the following movie as they edited a bunch of highlights from the producer's past, usually sci-fi, into a high octane montage. If Wynorski had lived up to that, this would be a shade more than mildly diverting. Music by Chuck Cirino.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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