Not of This Earth

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Not of This Earth

Post  BoG on Sat Mar 06, 2010 9:13 pm

A small alien invasion tale from Roger Corman (producer-director), who - even by this early point of his career - had already gained a rep as a quick, proficient filmmaker. Allied Artists hired him for a couple of projects, including this one. This is essentially a one-man invasion plot (the "man" - calling himself Johnson - of course is not human), represented by Paul Birch, a stocky figure dressed in  a suit and dark glasses. When he takes his glasses off - watch out Exclamation  you see white, pupil-less eyes which literally can kill you. He's out for blood - so this is a vampire from outer space plot. He had teleported here in the recent past, on a mission for his planet, setting up shop in a large house with a shady assistant (Jonathan Haze). In the first act, he acquires an on-site nurse (Beverly Garland) to handle blood transfusions on him.
The plot doesn't make all that much sense - there's a good attempt at covering up this weakness with elaborate exposition involving the six phases of Johnson's mission during Johnson's meeting with a head image of his commander, but it's all mostly nonsense. Phase Four, for example, involves Johnson ascertaining if he can survive on Earthling blood, but Phase Two was already an increase to the amount of earth blood transmitted to Davanna (the alien's planet); shouldn't Phase Four and Phase Two be reversed?  In all, it's questionable how only one agent can supply any significant amount of blood to help his planet.

There are some entertaining moments, as is usual for a Corman feature: Dick Miller has a one-scene role as a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman who falls victim to the alien invader. His death scene is bizarre and off-beat. Haze's goon scenes with Garland are close to hilarious. And some of the alien's quirky outlook and decisions, such as inviting a trio of homeless bums to his house, are amusing. Overall, though, it's a bit on the slow side. The climactic scene, though a standard twist, does suggest that there was more to this invasion than we thought and makes more sense than the rest of the film. BoG's Score: 5 out of 10

Trivia of This Earth: actor Paul Birch had problems with the special contact lenses he had to wear in  a few key scenes and this led to problems with Corman; as a result, a double is used for Birch in  a couple of scenes, probably because Birch was suddenly unavailable.
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