Not Of This Earth (1957)

Watching the opening credits of Roger Corman’s 1957 film , Not Of This Earth, you are able to draw conclusions about what this film is about, and the title in itself helps support the mood of this film to something thrilling/horrifying. Because this film was made in the 1950’s, it is very interesting to compare the visual elements of a more modern film.

The visual elements in the film’s opening credits do a fantastic job at conveying the directors intent for the film, and is overall incredibly impressive for a 1950’s film.

Because this is a 50’s film, colored film was a new concept, however I like to think the lack of color is symbolic. The use, or lack thereof, of color sets the perfect mood for the film– scary, thrilling, and gruesome. Black and white seem to have symbolism. The use of black, to me, represents death, and the absence of color and the absence of life which comes later in the film. The use of the color white refers to bones, and the main character’s blank white aliens eyes in which he uses to take human lives. The use of light was very ambient, and added to the development of a scary/thriller film.

The shapes and various elements used in the opening credits were skulls, upside down skulls, ribs, various other bones, hands, dripping blood, blood splatters, glowing orbs that represented the aliens white eyes, etc. The sequence began with the alien and his white eyes, but ended with an image of a skull, and in between was images such as hands dragging across the screen, blood splatters, blood drippings, etc. This could symbolize the alien and the bad things he did to people along the way which ended with deaths of humans. The way the opening credits showcased movement was in a sequence. It seems like the different images that faded in and out, and moved across the screen could have represented a timeline of what was to come. The movement of the white orbs that represented the alien’s eyes were chaotic and kind of all over the place, possibly to symbolize the fact that you can’t predict the next time or place that the alien will attack another human.

The credit music was quite loud and attention grabbing at the very beginning of the sequence as we are presented with the aliens infamous blank white eyes. After this, the credits begin, and the music dials down to a quieter ominous sound. Other than the basic ominous music, there was occasional loud sound effects that synced up when a gruesome element such as crazy blank white eyes or a hand was dragging its nails across the screen. This sound is scary, and it sounds like your typical “horror film music” that foreshadows the scary events later shown in the movie. 

The use of typography in the film was bold, white, capital letters. The typography didn’t seem to have any sort of deeper meaning to me, it seemed to be pretty standard typography– uniform and centered in the middle of the screen with the occasional staggering.  

Bibliography:

“Not of This Earth (1957 Film).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Jan. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_of_This_Earth_(1957_film).