“Traci Lords is Not Of This Earth”: Nurse Nadine was her first mainstream role

By on August 22, 2015

Not of This Earth is a colorful 1988 campy/trashy remake of Roger Corman’s black-and-white 1957 sci-fi vampire movie with the same name, and we have to admit it’s rather unremarkable, really, except for the fact that it featured former porn star Traci Lords in her first mainstream film starring role after a brief adult film career that included New Wave Hookers, the film that changed X-rated movies thereafter, which has proved to be one of the most popular blogs we’d posted here on Night Flight.

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Not Of This Earth features the only (albeit brief) nude scene of her mainstream acting career, however, which makes it rather notable, we suppose: she’s clothed in this trailer, though, which we think is a pretty unique find for Youtube, as it’s the one made for the owners of retail stores by MGM/UA, who owned the home video sales rights, as a voiceover at the end informs them that the film is “destined to be a cult classic.”

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The film’s 12-day shooting schedule was apparently quite hectic and fast-paced and Lords later said she learned that the reason for it was that the director Jim Wynorski — who worked for Corman and cranked out an almost endless series of mostly exploitation movies in the 80s, with over 100 titles to his credit, like Chopping Mall, Big Bad Mama II and Return of the Swamp Thing, and many more — had made a bet with Corman that he could remake Corman’s original film using the same (inflation-adjusted) budget and production schedule as the one Corman had used in 1957, which was exactly the kind of movie you’d likely see if you’d tuned it to watch “Night Flight” back in the 80s (click on that link and you’ll see what we mean).

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Wynorski, who learned his directing skills from the master himself cut a lot of corners where he could, and just like any number of Roger Corman productions (Corman is the executive producer here) this one also includes scenes that have been previously used in other Corman films, like the one with the dog in the foggy woods and the woman being stalked from outside her home, which were originally seen in Humanoids from the Deep, as well as the scene of the caped, knife-wielding stalker from Hollywood Boulevard.

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Let’s talk about plot, and stop us if you’ve heard this one before: we’ve got a space vampire from some alien world named “Mr. Johnson” (Arthur Roberts) who has left his own planetary system, which is, of course, on the brink of destruction, and teleported himself to Earth to see if the beings from his world can live here on earth. He shows up wearing dark sunglasses for much of the movie because his eyes emit some kind of lethal powers when he takes them off, and he’s got sensitive ears too but those aren’t covered up by anything (we think Wynorski really missed an opportunity here — a space vampire wearing ear mufflers to muffle out the sounds would have been awesome!).

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As he’s a space vampire, he does what vampires all do and is pleased to find that human blood is nourishing, so he hypnotizes a doctor named Dr. Rochelle (Ace Mask) to provide him with a steady stream of transfusions, and has the doc’s bodacious and buxom little blond nurse Nadine Story (the lovely Ms. Traci Lords) move in with him — by waving a wad a cash at her, naturally — to administer them. We luckily get to see Ms. Lords in a blue bikini which makes this film almost worth the price of an admission ticket.

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The movie also featured Lenny Juliano as Mr. Johnson’s ex-con chauffeur and go-fer Jeremy (he also appeared in Commando, Lethal Weapon and, who can forget, Cheerleader Massacre — true story: he’s now selling real-estate time-shares). Arthur Roberts has had a long and somewhat distinguished career and is still working today, playing mostly character roles in B-movies. The wonderfully named actor Ace Mask (aka Wesley Mask) is working too, and has had a recurring role on the TV soap “The Bold and the Beautiful” from 2002-2006, as Admiral Sherman Perkins, in addition to playing dozens of other TV and film roles.

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If you look close you can see Paul Bartel’s leading lady Mary Woronov as Mary McQueen in some of the archive footage (she’s uncredited) and Wynorski himself provided the voice of the Radio Announcer. Roger Lodge — probably best known today as the host of the syndicated dating show “Blind Date,” and his appearances on truTV’s “The Smoking Gun Presents: World’s Dumbest…” as a commentator, in addition to the many sports programs he’s hosted over the years — also appears as Harry, a motorcycle cop who happens to be Nadine’s boyfriend.

The L.A.Times, in their review published on May 20, 1988, said the film was “a curiosity that definitely entertains,” and pointed out that it was a “pretty decent stab at poking gentle fun at budget-genre film making.” They added that it was also “old-fashioned, silly, slap-dash and innocently bold.”

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On the topic of Traci Lords, the effusive Times writer said this: “The surprising aspect of ex-porn actress Lords’ casting is that she actually appears to have a natural flair for comedy. She and the other performers push hard against the campy underpinnings of the film but manage not to step into the realm of the inane.”

Although, the film failed at the box office, it did well in video sales. Based on the success, Corman offered her another film on the condition that she appeared nude again (the “Corman Contract” which required actresses to do a certain amount of nude scenes), but Lords turned down the offer because she didn’t want to do any more nudity, mainly because she was trying to establish herself as a serious actress.

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On November 2, 2010, Shout! Factory released the film on DVD as part of their Roger Corman Cult Classics collection, which features a 10-minute interview with Traci Lords titled “Nadine’s Story” (her character’s name was Nadine Story, gettit?). Lords talks about her role in the film and shares plenty of behind-the-scenes stories including how she got the part and why she never worked with producer Roger Corman and director Jim Wynorski again.

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Not of This Earth” was rated “R” (for nudity and language) and “C” for campy.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.