Sunday, November 14, 2010

Not of This Earth

While I seem to be disappointed by them as often as not, I’m rather glad that Shout! Factory has been releasing so many of Roger Corman’s productions from the late 70s through early 90s. For one, I’m a bit of an idealist and want every movie ever made to have a DVD release, and for two, I’m always excited to have another early Jim Wynorski film getting a proper showcase.

Of course, being a fan of cheap exploitation directors like Wynorski does mean that one will be frequently let down by them. I had here been hoping for a film on the same level of quality as Sorority House Massacre 2 or Chopping Mall (or at least on the level of Transylvania Twist), and instead wound up with something closer in quality to Komodo vs. Cobra but with much more nudity. Granted, I’m hardly one to turn my nose up at naked women, but outside of Traci Lords, none of the ladies here are really attractive enough to justify themselves.

But I’m getting ahead of myself again. The film stars Arthur Roberts as Mr. Johnson, a vampiric alien who comes to Earth on a mission to see if his species can survive on our blood. Disguising himself as a human, he soon enlists the aid of a nurse (Traci Lords) who moves into his home to give him a series of transfusions to keep him alive, while slowly discovering a little too much about her new employer. Like his ability to drain all the blood out of his victims instantaneously just by removing his sunglasses and looking at them, for instance.

The main problem with the movie, if I had to point one out, is that there’s about enough of a plot for an episode of the Twilight Zone, here stretched out for about 80 minutes. It’s a very slow-paced, draggy film, and aside from Lords’ willingness to get naked frequently and a faint trace of Wynorski’s normal humor (though much more muted here than in his other efforts of the time), there is very little to offer here. There are some entertaining scenes scattered here and there (the highlight easily being when he picks up a trio of the most ridiculous prostitutes in film history, though the opening, featuring a couple getting it on in a car being killed by an alien is pretty nice too), but they account for less than half the film’s running time.

Even though I wasn’t really expecting much out of the film, it’s hard for me to not feel a little bit disappointed in it. After all, when I watch a Jim Wynorski/Roger Corman match-up, I do have a right to expect a bare minimum level of quality that just wasn’t shown here. It’s easily the dullest Wynorski film I’ve yet seen, and all the Traci Lords nudity in the world doesn’t fix that. Though I would not be opposed to her trying it some more.

Rating: * ½

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