Paul Johnson is an alien who has come to earth in order to find a cure for the plague that is wiping out his own kind. There's hope to be found in the blood of humans, and in order to stay alive while trying to find his cure, he must drain the blood from his victims and take it as his own. However, he needs the aid of a human nurse to implement the blood transfusions and so Amanda Sayles is hired to be Mr. Johnson's live-in nurse. While in his home, Amanda becomes suspicious of her employer and soon she accidentally uncovers the terrifying truth.
In 1957, Roger Corman released the original "Not of this Earth", and while it was fun movie, it was forgettable due to all of the Sci-Fi schlock that was released in the '50s. Then in 1988 Jim Wynorski was hired to direct a remake for "Not of this Earth" since a remake for "Attack of the Crab Monsters" would have been too expensive (this is the actual reason). While my opinion is biased because I adore Wynorski's work, it is undeniable that he brought a style to his adaptation of "Not of this Earth" that perfectly captured the essence of what makes campy drive-in b-movies so much fun.
But that's not what we're here to talk about! We are here to talk about the second remake of "Not of this Earth" that was released in 1995. Since camp films aimed at the drive-in audience were passé and serious, darker movies were in (yes, people wanted "darker" movies before Christopher Nolan), "Not of this Earth" was remade again. I can't say for certain, but also believe the remake was dictated in order to take advantage of those fancy-shmancy computer generated effects that everyone was dying to use.
An alien comes to earth from his dying planet in order to find a cure for the plague that is wiping out his species. Taking on the form of human Paul Johnson, the alien is quick to visit a hospital where he hypnotizes Dr. Rochelle to study his infected blood in order to help him find a cure. In the meantime, the alien hires Dr. Rochelle's nurse, Amanda Sayles, to become his live-in nurse so he can receive daily blood transfusions. With the rise of victims who people are completely drained of their blood and Paul Johnson's erratic behavior, Amanda begins to investigate who her employer really is.
So, yes, it's the exact same plot as the last two movies. Who would have guessed? In an attempt to capture that serious tone that they were going for this time around, there is more of a focus put on the character of Paul Johnson (Michael York) and less on the Amanda Sayles (Elizabeth Barondes) character. Even though Traci Lords playing as the live-in nurse for the ailing alien was a major part in the success of the version from '88. But still, this time around they wanted to make a serious movie about alien draining the blood from humans in order to save his species and…they didn't accomplish that goal at all.
The 1995 version of "Not of this Earth" is as campy as its predecessors but the reason it didn't succeed a third time is because in that attempt to make it serious, it resulted in a dry, boring and humorless movie. They managed to suck all of the fun and entertainment out of "Not of this Earth". I guess it's only fitting since the movie is about an alien that sucks all of the blood out his victims. Even when Michael York is playing it up and chewing the scenes in an attempt to capture a brooding and angst ridden alien, there's still nothing fun about watching "Not of this Earth".
It's not a movie that has aged well at all. It's a movie that's so embedded and encapsulated in he time that it was made, it was doomed to be dated by the following year. That's something that should provide at least some humor when watching the movie now, but again, there's nothing fun about watching "Not of this Earth". Not even from an ironic standpoint is the movie enjoyable.
One of the things that has aged the worst within the movie is the awful CGI that was used. Even by 1995 standards, these were not good effects. By today's standards, they are even worse. Somehow the optical effects used in the 1988 film still hold up fairly well and even look great within the context of what "Not of this Earth" is. Because of that, the computer effects are knocked down even further. Again, from an ironic perspective, this should make the movie entertaining from being laughable at some point but it doesn't. The movie is simply so dull that even simple things like bad effects cannot garner some form of enjoyment.
The same can be said for the actors and the performances in the movie as well. As I said, Michael York's performance of the alien character, Paul Johnson, is absolutely terrible because he comes across as completely hammy in his attempts at conveying an emotionally complex character. Part of the problem with that and the reason it causes an issue is that the writing is simplistic and basic -- it's the same goddamn thing as the last two movies with zero changes, so there's nothing complex about anything. The other problem is that Michael York is trying to find a balance between serious and comical. The movie is trying to be serious but it's using the cliché of the alien being awkward in their interactions with people because of the crazy human customs. Bleh! As such, York's performance is genuinely awkward and cringe worthy. Far removed from being amusing. Then there's Richard Belzer who manages to make his character -- the comic-relief of the movie -- also cringe worthy. Probably had something to do with ending every sentence with the word "babe."
People have claimed that the 1995 version of "Not of this Earth" is intentionally campy but it's actually not. Even though the movie is a Roger Corman production, "Not of this Earth" was, for all intended purposes, meant to be a serious adaptation of the original story. It just didn't happen. While I love Wynorski's version, I tried not to compare the two but it's impossible since Wynorski was able to perfect the tone of the material that is "Not of this Earth". Where as Terence H. Winkless produced an incredibly boring and dated movie that lacks any distinguishing qualities from the previous two films.