Not of This Earth
When people picture the typical 1950s science-fiction invasion film, it usually involves a square jawed male lead, an initially independent but soon swooning female, and some kind of threat that may come in the form of a rubber suit or giant insect. The characters are simple, the plot is simple, and it’s all neatly wrapped up by the end of the movie. Not of this Earth bucks all these trends and delivers a perfect low-budget gem.
A strange man by the name of Paul Johnson (Paul Birch) arrives in town and hires a nurse, Nadine (Beverly Garland) to attend to him. Mr. Johnson wears dark glasses at all times and is adverse to loud noises. Mr. Johnson also has a habit of killing people by revealing his strange white eyes, which destroy the brain of anyone who looks upon them. Johnson is a being from a planet called Davanna. After a devastating nuclear war, Johnson’s race has developed a blood disease. Human have similar blood and they look ripe for conquest, if Paul can stay one step ahead of the police.
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Beverly Garland is given another strong role in a Roger Corman production, Nadine is self-reliant and brave. She’s more than willing to dig in and try and figure out the mystery of Paul Johnson, and even confront him if need be. She is a far cry from often sidelined female roles that plagued 1950s (and to this day, sadly) genre films.
There is plenty of humor sprinkled throughout the film, to the point it borders on being a black comedy. The best comedic moments are delivered by the always enjoyable Dick Miller, who takes a turn as a hep-cat vacuum cleaner salesman who knocks on the wrong door. He even manages to break the 4th wall a little before his inevitable demise. In lesser hands this moment might be a bit too much, but Miller makes it work.
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Taping into the myth of vampires, alien abduction, Men in Black, and the fear of nuclear war, Not of this Earth is an exciting b-movie with a lot more intelligence than it’s exploitative title and poster would have you believe.