Tuesday, 17 May 2016

A Tribute to Peggie Castle



Peggie Castle



(December 22, 1927 – August 11, 1973)

“Let's face it. Nobody likes nice women on the screen. Nice women are dull.”


Peggie Castle, an American actress was born Peggy Blair in Appalachia in Wise County, southwestern Virginia.

Early years


Peggy Castle took lessons in drama when she was 8 years old and she attended Mills College for two years.

Radio


Castle's first work as an actress came in the soap opera Today's Children. A spot on Radio Theatre in 1947 led to a screen test offer from 20th Century Fox.



Film


Castle was discovered by a talent scout supposedly while eating a shrimp cocktail in the seafood bar of the Farmer's Market in Los Angeles.

She was signed to a seven-year contract with Universal-International and made her film debut in the 1947 film When a Girl's Beautiful.

In 1949, she was named "Miss Cheesecake" by the Southern California Restaurant Association.

Later that year, the Junior Chamber of Commerce named Castle "Miss Three Alarm."






In her films Peggy Castle often played the role of the other (or at least somebody's) "woman" rather than a girlfriend or spouse. Her acting career tended to be confined mostly "B"-grade action, dramas or western films such as;

  • Harem Girl (1952) 
  • Wagons West (1952) 
  • The Prince Who Was a Thief (1951) 
  • Jesse James' Women (1954) 


Better quality roles would come with such films as;

  • Payment on Demand (1951) with Bette Davis 
  • 99 River Street (1953) with John Payne 
  • I, the Jury (1953) 
  • The White Orchid (1954) 
  • Miracle in the Rain (1956) with Jane Wyman 
  • Seven Hills of Rome / Arrivederci Roma (1957) with Mario Lanza



Television


In the 1950s, Peggy Castle appeared in on Fireside Theatre, Cheyenne, The Restless Gun and in the Perry Mason episode (1957) "The Case of the Negligent Nymph" in which she played defendant Sally Fenner.





For three seasons, from 1959 to 1962, she co-starred in the television western series Lawman, playing the role of The Birdcage saloon owner, Lily Merrill. the dance-hall hostess and romantic interest for Marshal Dan Troop. Commenting on this role, Peggy Castle observed, "For the first time in my life I'm a singer,” - at least according to her producer! Until then she never had a singing lesson!






In 1962 she had to all intents and purposes left the world of show business. Her final onscreen role was a guest appearance in a 1966 episode of The Virginian.


Personal life

Castle was married four times: 
  • Revis Call, 1945 - 1950 (divorced) 
  • Universal publicist Robert H. Raines, 1951 - 1954 (divorced) 
  • Producer/director William McGarry, 1955 – 1969 (divorced) 
  • Arthur Morganstern 1971 until Morganstern's death in April 1973 

Later years

For her contribution to the television industry, Peggie Castle has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

In her later years, Castle developed alcoholism. It has been reported that in 1969 she attempted suicide and was later committed to California's Camarillo State Hospital for her alcoholism, but she regressed after her release. In 1973 her body was found on the couch of her Hollywood apartment by her third husband. Peggy Castle had died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1973 only 45 years of age.





For me Peggy Castle stands out for her roles in two important science fiction films from the 1950s;

Invasion U.S.A. (1952): A bizarre and entertaining Cold War-themed movie featuring a World War III scenario. Peggy Castle as Carla Sanford develops a relationship with cynical and glib TV reporter Vince Potter played by Gerald Mohr.

Peggy Castle’s character, Carla Sanford:

“It's a nightmare, this can't be happening!”




Beginning of the End (1957) Peggy Castle gives an impressive performance as Audrey Ames, an enterprising photo-journalist, who together with scientist, Dr. Ed Wainwright (Peter Graves) tries to tackle the threat posed to Chicago by giant grasshoppers which have been accidentally created at the Illinois State experimental farm.

On one occasion when Peggy Castle was confronted with a terrible B-movie, a terrible script and lousy working conditions reportedly commented: 



“Who do I have to sleep with to get out of this picture?”





video
Peggy Castle in Invasion USA 1952




©Christo Christopoulos 2016

Saturday, 14 May 2016

A Tribute to Paul Birch


Paul Birch



(January 13, 1912 – May 24, 1969)

Paul Birch, American stage, film, and television actor, was a veteran of 39 films, 50 stage dramas, and numerous television series.

Early years


Born Paul Lowery Smith in Atmore, Alabama, Paul Birch attended Alabama Polytechnic Institute.

He entered motion pictures via small roles in several westerns in the late 1940s and early 50s.


Acting Career

Paul Birch appeared in various television series including;

  • Science Fiction Theatre (1955 – 1956) episodes: “Conversation with an Ape” (1955), “Survival in Box Canyon” (1956), “The Strange People at Pecos” (1955).




  • The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin, (1956) as President Grant, to whom he bore a striking resemblance. 
  • Cannonball (1958), a half-hour drama/adventure show about truckers. 
  • The Court of Last Resort, NBC (1957-1958).
  • Riverboat, (1959) as Sergeant Major Carmody commanding the vessel, the Enterprise, delivering military cargo to an Army outpost on the Missouri River, in the episode "The Face of Courage." 
  • The Fugitive as Captain Carpenter. 


On the stage, Birch appeared in the Broadway production of The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (1954-1955). He also portrayed (yet again!) both Union Army General, Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate General, Robert E. Lee in several historical plays.


Paul Birch’s film career included;
  • Rebel Without a Cause (1955) as the megaphone wielding police captain. 
  • It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). 
  • Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1967).

In terms of science fiction films of the 1950’s, Paul Birch appeared and starred in some memorable cult classics such as; 




  • Day the World Ended (1955) as Jim Maddison who together with his daughter and a small group try to survive a nuclear holocaust in a tiny isolated region immune from the effects of radiation.




  • Not of This Earth (1957) as Paul Johnson, part of an alien plan to avoid extinction by harvesting humans for their blood. At this point in his career, Paul Birch is reported to have broken off his association with Roger Corman apparently following a physical confrontation with Corman during the filming of this movie which had to be completed with the use of a double.
  • Queen of Outer Space (1958), as Prof. Konrad


Paul Birch started out as the first of the original members of the Pasadena Playhouse. He then passed on his knowledge and skills while acting at the Pasadena Playhouse, in his capacity as full-time instructor and director working with students in the Playhouse College of Theatre Arts.




In the mid-1950s, Birch appeared in magazine and TV ads as the first widely publicized "Cowboy" Marlboro Man.


Personal life


Paul Birch was married twice and was survived by his second wife, Betsy Ross Smith and their three children, Don, Jennifer, and Michael. From his first marriage to Margaret Farish, he had a daughter, Cindy.


Death


Paul Birch died of cancer May 24, 1969, at St. George's, Grenada and he is buried in a cemetery outside St. George's.

Assessment


Paul birch was a solid-looking and stocky individual with distinguishable features. He was a solid character actor who played bit parts and was often found to be lurking somewhere in the background. When he did have more prominent and starring roles, he approached them with seriousness and thought no matter how little those roles or the scripts had to offer. The characters he portrayed came across as being dependable, deserving of our sympathy and who could readily make the ridiculous sound quite plausible.


video\
Paul Birch at work in Not of this Earth 1957






©Chris christopoulos 2016

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

A Tribute to Beverly Garland






Beverly Garland

(October 17, 1926 – December 5, 2008)

Beverly Garland was an American film and television actress, businesswoman, and hotel owner. Born Beverly Lucy Fessenden in Santa Cruz, California, the daughter of Amelia Rose, a businesswoman, and James Atkins Fessenden, a singer and salesman, Beverly Garland grew up in Glendale, California.


video
Beverly Garland in Not of This Earth 1957



Acting Career

Beverly Garland studied dramatics under Anita Arliss, the sister of renowned stage and screen star George Arliss. She went on to do radio work and appeared scantily clad in risqué shorts with titles such as “Fanny With the Cheeks of Tan!” Her work in films consisted primarily of roles in low-budget action and science fiction movies.

In the 1950s, Beverly Garland often played the role of a no-nonsense, secure and tough woman who could handle herself whenever the situation demanded it of her, whether it be as a female marshal, a prison escapee or confronting and doing battle with an alien invader.

Some of the non-science fiction movies she appeared in include;

  • D.O.A. a classic film noir (1950) 
  • The Joker Is Wild (1957) 
  • Pretty Poison (1968) 
  • Where the Red Fern Grows (1974) 
  • Airport 1975 (1974) 

Beverly Garland also appeared in well-known television series and sit-coms such as My Three Sons. Scarecrow and Mrs. King and 7th Heaven. Some of her other appearances include;

  • City Detective (1955), "Man Down, Woman Screaming” 
  • Frontier (1955), "Cattle Drive to Casper" 
  • Decoy (1957-58), playing television's first policewoman as an undercover police officer "Casey Jones.” Garland was also the first actress to star in a television dramatic series 
  • State Trooper (1956), "Rodeo Rough House" playing a rodeo sharpshooter 
  • Wanted: Dead or Alive (1960), "Prison Trail" 
  • Riverboat (1960), "Three Graves" 
  • Laramie (1960), “Saddles and Spurs” 
  • The Dakotas (1963), "The Chooser of the Slain" 
  • The Eleventh Hour (1963), "What Did She Mean by Good Luck?" 
  • The Fugitive (1964-65), "Smoke Screen" 

Beverly Garland also had appearances on shows such as The Bing Crosby Show. Remington Steele, Twilight Zone, Kung Fu, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. 




Personal life & Later Years


Ms Garland had been previously married to Richard Garland whom she divorced in 1953. Her second husband of 39 years, businessman Filmore Crank died in 1999, They had a son and a daughter of their own, in addition to Mr Crank’s son and daughter from a previous marriage.

In addition to her acting career, Beverly Garland devoted a lot of time to the 255-room Spanish-Mission style resort called the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn that her husband Filmore Crank built and named for her.

Beverly Garland died at age 82 in her home in the Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California on December 5, 2008. She died from undisclosed causes after a lengthy illness. She was survived by a son, a daughter, and two grandchildren. 



Awards & Recognition

For her contribution to the television industry, Beverly Garland has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard which she received in 1983. In 2001, in recognition of her 50 years in show business, the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters inducted her into its Hall of Fame. 



Legacy: science fiction & horror genre films

Beverly Garland is probably best remembered as being associated with Roger Corman’s 1950s cult films. Despite how such films might be viewed now, back then she would have taken her roles in them quite seriously and would have given her all as an actress.

Science fiction / Horror films and TV series Beverley Garland appeared in include;

The Neanderthal Man, (1953)
It Conquered the World as Claire Anderson, (1956)
Swamp Women, (1956)
Curucu, Beast of the Amazon, (1956)
Not of This Earth as Nurse Nadine Storey, (1959)
Science Fiction Theatre episode, "Negative Man," (1959)
The Alligator People as Joyce Webster (Jane Marvin). 1(959)
The Twilight Zone (1960) episode, "The Four of Us Are Dying"

According to Beverly Garland, she could “scream with more variations from shrill to vibrato than any other girl in pictures.” However, her characters didn't just scream, faint, run away or cower behind a brave male lead actor. Unlike many other female actors and the kinds of roles they were required to take on at the time, the characters she plortrayed could hold their own in a male dominated world and take the lead when action needed to be taken.


video
It Conquered the World (1956)


(Watch the first 3 minutes of the clip when Garland as Claire Anderson confronts the alien in its lair: “I’ll see you in hell first!”)




“We really meant it. We gave our all. We were serious, good actors and we played it seriously”








©Chris Christopoulos 2016

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Not of This Earth (1957)


A fast-paced, entertaining low-budget sci-fi movie with a somewhat dark atmosphere


Directed by Roger Corman
Produced by Roger Corman
Written by Charles B. Griffith, Mark Hanna
Music by Ronald Stein
Cinematography: John J. Mescall
Edited by Charles Gross
Distributed by Allied Artists
Running time: 67 minutes (or 71 minutes)
Budget: $100,000
Box office: $1 million


Cast


Paul Birch as Paul Johnson
Beverly Garland as Nadine Storey
Morgan Jones as Harry Sherbourne
William Roerick as Dr. F.W. Rochelle
Jonathan Haze as Jeremy Perrin
Dick Miller as Joe Piper
Anna Lee Carroll as Davanna Woman
Pat Flynn as Simmons


video
Trailer

Spoilers follow below….




A human form ensconced in a chair radiates inhuman intent through cruel and cold milky white soulless orbs devoid of emotion. A device next to him triggers the opening of a cabinet in the wall that reveals the figure of one of his own kind who reports that,

“Time narrows, there is death upon Davana…. It is assumed that we shall perish.”




The seemingly human seated figure is not a human at all but is instead a shell occupied by an alien agent who goes by the name of Mr. Johnson. This being who is not of this earth has been sent to infiltrate our planet via a high-tech matter transporter from the distant planet, Davana. The inhabitants of his home planet have developed an incurable blood disease as a result of a nuclear war. Johnson's mission to Earth is to test the blood of humans for its usefulness in saving his species from extinction. His every thought and action is dictated by the implacable imperatives of survival.





Shut your eyes fast before they are suddenly assailed by abstract visions of inverted skulls and abrupt fleeting glimpses of dripping blood and bleached bones. For now, you are now being prepared to, 

“…adventure into the 
dimension of the impossible.” 
“To enter this realm, 
you must set your mind free 
from earthly fetters that bind it. “ 
If you find the events that follow to be unbelievable,
“it is only because your imagination is chained.” 
All you need do is to believe 
“so that you may cross 
the brink of time and space…. 
into the land you sometimes visit 
in your dreams!”




Not even the hopeful and carefree concerns of youth is spared from the life-force sapping alien influence. One evening a young couple in a sports car are necking. The teenage girl soon leaves and the boy drives off. As the girl is walking home, she is suddenly accosted by a dark figure carrying a briefcase. He removes his sunglasses revealing something that causes the girl to scream and collapse. The mysterious figure takes out a rubber tube and needle and attaches it to her neck. He then proceeds to drain her blood into the glass vials in his case. See now more closely the face of Johnson, our new modern-day Dracula with the white pitiless washed out emptiness of his inhuman eyes.





Later on, a Cadillac pulls up outside a hospital, but the driver has pulled up on the wrong side of the road, next to a fire hydrant and in front of a no-parking sign. The driver clearly is in command of the tangible and physical manifestations of our civilization but he does not understand the rules, conventions and principles that underlie and help to govern it.




Paul Johnson enters the hospital and is greeted by Nurse Nadine Storey. He has come for a transfusion of blood. When he is informed that his blood will need to be tested, he responds by saying, “No test…I came for a transfusion of blood.” Dr. F.W. Rochelle soon comes out of his office and invites Mr. Johnson in where he explains to Johnson that no doctor on earth would do a transfusion without first knowing the blood type of a patient. Johnson informs him, “I must have blood. I am dying. I have Type “O.” Johnson uses a scalpel to cut his wrist but to Rochelle’s amazement there is no sign of bleeding. Johnson explains to the doctor that it will bleed later.




Johnson uses the power of telepathy to communicate with and control the mind and will of Rochelle. Johnson agrees to the blood test, while Rochelle will not be permitted to divulge any information about Johnson. Johnson then asks Nadine to work for him and she agrees only if the doctor approves, which he does. As part of fulfilling Johnson’s command to “see to it that I don’t expire,” Rochelle is to give him a daily infusion of 500 cc of type "O" blood every night.




The criminal mind, the social outcast, the powerless individual stuck in a morass of limited prospects, lack of direction and under achievement often provides a willing fertile ground for those possessing “loftier” ambitions of ill-intent toward the world. Enter Jeremy, Johnson's chauffeur and butler and former small time criminal. Jeremy Perrin greets Johnson at the latter’s residence and is instructed to prepare a room for the nurse. 



Johnson enters the kitchen and removes several vials of blood and places them in the refrigerator. After doing so, he goes down into the basement. Jeremy, contrary to his instructions, enters the kitchen and tries to open one of the containers. Suddenly, he is caught in the act of snooping and is telepathically frozen by Johnson who tells Jeremy, “if you do so again, I shall eliminate you.”




Jeremy later greets Nurse Nadine upon her arrival at Johnson’s residence. She quickly rebuffs his rather clumsy and inept pass at her and makes her way to the living room and apologizes to Johnson for her late arrival. 



Johnson escorts Nadine to her room upstairs and when he leaves the room he locks her door from the outside. Nadine tells Johnson if her door is to be locked, she'd rather be the one to do so. Johnson informs her that in the place he comes from, “no person would dare sleep in insecure quarters.”


“Death Is Upon Davana”


Back in the living room, Johnson uses his communication device to contact his home planet of Davana. The closet door that conceals the matter transporter slides open. The alien courier telepathically informs Johnson about the dire conditions on his home world. Due to the war and the radioactivity that has resulted, the aliens require huge quantities of blood. Johnson’s mission on Earth will consist of six phases:


Phase 1: Study humans 
Phase 2: Increase the quantity of blood 

Phase 3: Obtain a live human specimen to be teleported to Davana for research 

Phase 4: Blood transfusions & Johnson’s own life or death 

Phase 5: If Johnson lives: conquest, subjugation and pasturing of the Earth's population 

Phase 6: If Johnson dies…….

Obliteration of planet Earth!!!!!



“Death Is Not a Remarkable Thing”


The next day we discover more about Johnson that highlights the fact that he is indeed not of this Earth. For one thing, he does not eat solid food. Instead, he adds a pill to water, which turns the liquid a dark colour which he then drinks.




Later that day in a rather comedic scene, a vacuum cleaner salesman by the name of Joe Piper calls at the residence and is met by Johnson. By now we are familiar with Johnson’s stilted, sterile and overly precise use of grammar and vocabulary. Contrast this with Joe’s free-flowing vernacular-ridden and rather unusual “crazy man” counter-intuitive sales pitch:


“I ain’t gonna force ya’ to purchase.”

“Hey, Lemmie finish will ya’!”

“Gimme a chance will ya’?”

“Look buddy, just gimme five minutes of ya’ time in ya’ cellar.

Instead of turning Joe down with a well-chosen expletive and a door slammed perilously close to his face, Johnson invites him in and escorts him down to the cellar. It won’t be dirt that will be sucked up down in the bowels of the house. Rather, it will be Joe’s own blood that will be extracted by Johnson after he removes his sunglasses and exposes Joe to the murderous menace emanating from the wicked white of his eyes. An incoherent scream takes the place of Joe’s well-practised spiel. All trace of Joe then disappears into the furnace. Sale completed: Paid for in full…. Paid for in blood! Take that, you pesky door-to-door sales people!






As Jeremy drives Johnson to the library, they encounter three drunks. It is time for Phase 2: Increase the quantity of blood. Johnson tells Jeremy to invite the three men to dinner that night. I wonder what’s on the menu?





Meanwhile, as Nadine is enjoying some down time by the pool, she notices smoke rising from the chimney which is unusual considering the nice weather. Impelled by the kind of curiosity that can be lethal to domesticated felines, she enters the cellar to investigate. In the cellar she notices a large number of flasks. She puts her cap down, picks up an empty flask, removes the stopper and sniffs. Her reaction indicates how bad the odour is. As Nadine approaches the furnace, she hears the sound of a car horn. She then places the empty flask on a small table and exits the cellar. But what has she left behind?

“Time is indeed the only element, doctor”

Nadine’s boyfriend, motorcycle patrol officer, Harry Sherbourne and Dr. Rochelle arrive. Dr. Rochelle enters the living room with Johnson where he informs him, "Your blood is different from any I ever studied in my entire career." He has a low count of red corpuscles and his blood will likely turn to dust and he will die. Dr. Rochelle surmises that it might be a plague and that time is critical.

"A creep and a two-bit crook.
I don't like the feel of this place."


Later on, Johnson is in the cellar stoking up the flames of the furnace when he notices Nadine’s bathing cap. Soon after the three drunks wind up in the cellar with Johnson drinking when Johnson suddenly removes his sunglasses and gives new meaning to the term “dead drunk!” 



Johnson then places a number vials of blood into a trunk and tells Jeremy to move it to the living room where Johnson proceeds to communicate with Davana. The trunk containing its precious contents is then teleported. Next – Phase 3: Obtain a live human specimen to be teleported to Davana for research.



More clues emerge about Johnson as Nadine relates to Harry that her time spent as a nurse at his residence has revealed him to be “cold, odd and brilliant” and that he seems to be “unaware of the simplest things.”



“I can just see the vampire headlines” 



Excerpts from…..

The Daily Observer

VAMPIRE KILLINGS
Conundrum Continues

………. Each have involved the presence of neck punctures………. 

…….so far 13 people have been killed in precisely the same manner……….. 

Police sources have reported that something had been used to burn the brains of the victims…………and take their blood. 

…………claimed that some kind of device that burns out the eyes and brains of his victims, and then he drains them of their blood………. 

…. all we can think of is,
Who’ll be next?


Meanwhile at police headquarters, Sgt George Walton and Harry have been discussing the above incidents. As one of them comments, “All I can think of is who’ll be next?” we fade to an image of Nadine giving Johnson his evening transfusion during which he asks her if she has any relatives. She replies with, “Just an aunt in Detroit who raised me." No guesses needed as to the answer to the question,
“Who’ll be next?” 

Time now for phase 3! Johnson selects at random an Asian man and telepathically instructs him to follow him home. Once at home, the alien courier has some bad news to report. Back on Davana there is “destruction within the Council of the Northern Orbit” and that “rule is dissolving.” If that isn't bad enough, it turns out that “independent action increases on a 73% degree tangent!!!!” Oh my God! It’s anarchy!! Johnson reports that it will take three days before he’ll know if the treatments are working. He then handballs the Asian man over to be teleported to Davana. 



Meanwhile, more clues are mounting concerning Johnson. Nadine has noticed the dark water amongst the contents Johnson’s untouched breakfast. She decides to take the liquid to a lab and have it analysed. Jeremy also reports that the three alcoholics were seen to arrive but were never seen leaving. Similarly, that Johnson “takes the china man into his room and neither of them come out.”




Nadine later brings the sample to Dr. Rochelle. His new nurse brings in a bottle of canine blood that has been infected with canine rabies. She labels it and puts it in the refrigerator. Of course this not done for nothing. It is significant for the purpose of setting the audience up and for the foreshadowing of events.




Johnson has a meeting on the street later on with a woman who is also from Davana. She explains telepathically that she came to Earth via the “dimension warp” due to the chaos back home: “I had to escape them all.” It turns out that the alien courier has been killed and that the human specimen was crushed as it is “impossible to transmit a human or sub-human anatomy through the beam.”





The alien female informs Johnson that she needs blood as she will expire without it. Johnson then takes the woman to Dr. Rochelle's lab at the hospital. During the transfusion, Johnson accidently gives her blood from the container marked with, “Caution: Canine Rabies.” She complains about feeling strange and comments that “there is activity within me.” She then walks to her hotel room, but soon returns to the hospital and collapses outside. As he returns to the hospital, Dr. Rochelle spots the woman and together with a nurse gets her to his office. When he removes her sunglasses, she opens her eyes to reveal the same kind of deadly white orbs as Johnson’s. 


It is later determined by Dr Rochelle that the alien female “is something other than human” and that she has “lived in an area that is constantly charged with radioactive material” – an area of all-out nuclear warfare!


"I must have a second live specimen."

We next see Johnson as he goes to pick up his car. When the attendant leads him to where it is, Johnson telepathically directs him to enter the car. Suddenly a car horn sounds for the attendant and the telepathic link is broken. The attendant wisely decides he doesn’t need to be there and quickly tries to scarper but Johnson is hot on his heels and manages to kill him.



In the meantime, Nadine decides to ignore Harry’s advice to leave Johnson’s residence. Instead, with Jeremy in tow, she sets about conducting a bit of investigative work herself by searching the house. They eventually discover the communication device and the transporter in the wall closet. Jeremy then does a Hamlet when he discovers a skull in the furnace.





Unbeknown to our two sleuths, Johnson arrives home. The phone rings and Nadine answers. It is Dr. Rochelle on the other end with information about the Davana woman. Of course, Johnson has been listening in on the conversation. He tells her to remain in her room, then hangs up the other phone and proceeds to dispose of the hapless Jeremy.





As Johnson looms over Nadine with murderous intent, she lets loose with a Fay Wray scream. As Johnson is sensitive to loud noises, she is able to escape him and exit the house. Johnson pursues her in his car and telepathically informs her that he is going to destroy Dr. Rochelle.




And what of Dr. Rochelle? There he is busily examining a blood sample when a head crushing creature brought to life by Johnson suddenly enters through an open window. It abruptly plops down and envelopes Rochelle’s entire head. There he lies collapsed on the bench, his head concealed within a monstrous membrane about to be immersed in a spreading sea of his own blood.

Meanwhile, Johnson heads for Nadine by honing in on her mind signal. After Nadine calls Harry and tells him that Johnson is after her, he and Simmons try to locate Johnson and Nadine on their motorcycles.




Johnson finally gains control of Nadine and instructs her to return to the house where she is to transport herself to Davana. Johnson is also able to dispose of Simmons. When Harry pursues Johnson’s car, he uses his motorcycle siren, the noise of which causes Johnson to lose control of his car and roll it. It also resulted in breaking Johnson’s control of Nadine’s mind.


“A foreign thing who came here to destroy us” 

"I can't feel sorry for him; he had no emotions as we know them."






We now end with both Harry and Nadine standing before a headstone, on which an inscription reads;



"Here lies a man 
who was not 
of this earth."


But wait!! Notice a solitary figure of a man approaching, dressed much like Johnson and wearing sunglasses. He also seems to be carrying the same distinctive case as Johnson had containing transfusion equipment. How do you feel as you watch that man in the background walking up behind Harry and Nadine and then heading right towards the camera? The implication of this imagery being of course……





Points of interest


It is unfortunate that the copies of the film that I have seen have been of a very ordinary quality. Most appear to be far too dark and are hard to watch. I hope a remastered or superior quality copy exists or will be produced for fans of the genre to enjoy more fully.




Not of This Earth was released in the U.S. on the bottom half of a double bill with Roger Corman's Attack of the Crab Monsters. 



The film was targeted largely at the drive-in market and teen audiences. 



I’ve seen it mentioned that Paul Birch apparently left the picture before principle photography was completed. Lyle Latell is supposed to have completed his scenes.


The “umbrella” head-crushing creature brought to us by none other than special effects wizard, Paul Blaisdell may be unintentionally funny, but it does pre-date the face-hugging creature from the later sci-fi film, Alien.

There have been three remakes of Not of This Earth: The first was made in 1988 by Jim Wynorski and starred Traci Lords. The second was made in 1995 starring Michael York and the third in 1998 with female actor, Athena Massey in the alien role.

The film does seem to raise some interesting ideas, particularly at the end. For instance, does a creature not deserve our sympathy just because it is unable show sympathy itself? If it doesn't, what does that say about us? Should we only have sympathy or empathy for beings that can reciprocate?

Be sure to keep an eye out for tributes later on to Paul Birch and Beverly Garland who have both appeared in other classic sci-fi films featured on this blog.














©Chris Christopoulos 2016