Plan 9 From Outer Space

Welcome to the new feature on The Movie Brother — Movie Camp. Whenever you see this, you’ll know a silly, campy flick will follow. For our first Movie Camp review, the campiest and corniest of all, “Plan9 from Outer Space.”

After the embarrassing failure of the first eight plans, a group of evil aliens enacts Plan 9 — resurrecting the dead to take over the Earth. Bela Lugosi makes his final film appearance — along with Vampira, Tor Johnson, Criswell and a chiropractor acquaintance of director Ed Wood — in one of the most popular cult classics of the 20th century. This is a two-time winner of the Golden Turkey Award for worst film and worst director of all time.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Can a film be so monumentally bad that in some strange, bizarre and twisted way it can become brilliantly good? In regards to any other bad film, and there are many out there to easily pick from, I would confidently say a resounding “No!” A crappy film will always be a crappy film.

Director (can we really call him that?) Ed Wood’s sci-fi turkey, “Plan 9 from Outer Space” (originally titled “Grave Robbers from Outer Space”) was made in 1959 and may be the exception to the rule that bad movies can be good. This astoundingly awful film has a perplexing charm that has endured over the years and has transformed it into a somewhat strange cult legacy. Many film fans actually LOVE watching this film and it is unfortunately the last screen performance for Bela Lugosi, famous for his portayal in Tod Browning’s 1931 masterpiece “Dracula.” He was replaced in Plan 9 by an actor a foot taller who does a bad job of hiding the fact that he is clearly NOT Lugosi. Brilliant.

Let’s start with one of many of the “strongest bad” things about Wood’s cult pooper. First, the redundant and goofy dialogue by actor Criswell sets the very low standard for what is to come. I love the brilliant line: “Future events such as these will affect you in the future.” Then there are the great on-screen antics Ed Wood forces us to watch like the hubcap-shaped, shaky UFO that clearly has a piece of string holding it aloft. Who can ignore that cheesy, low rent, set of the airplane cockpit where the stewardess is obviously flicking or hitting the curtain as she waits for her queue. One may even relish in watching the pivotal sequence where the alien commander calls the human race “Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid.” What is not to love, here?

I’ve concluded that this film is so loved because we have to ultimately give Ed Wood a lot of credit for his passion, tenacity, insanity  (he did direct films wearing his girlfriend’s angora sweaters) and his complete inept ability to make films. You’ve got to give credit to a man who stuck it out in the Hollywood system dedicating his life to creating a twisted little legacy consisting of some of the shittiest movies ever put on celluloid.


13 responses to “Plan 9 From Outer Space

  1. Great post, Vic. For the audience’s viewing pleasure, I found the whole movie at Spike TV’s website, gratis. Sit through the ad in the beginning and it fires right up.

  2. I was in the fridge last night and in the family room, which adjoins the kitchen, I noticed that my wife had the horrible show ‘Gossip Girl’ on. She wasn’t watching it, it just happened to be on while she was using her Facebook app on her phone. That being said, I over heard this brilliant exchange of dialogue:

    Girl 1: I can’t do this.
    Girl 2: What do you mean you can’t do this?
    Girl 1: I just can’t do this.
    Girl 2: You HAVE TO do this.

    It made me ask myself, “Who writes this crap?” Think about it: Someone actually took pen to paper and wrote that tripe. This post reminded me of that.

    Wood was indeed horrible, but he was incredibly passionate and today’s writers are just churning out fast-food scripts without any passion at all, simply to collect a check. “Future events such as these will affect you in the future…” hell, at least there’s some creativity with that line (and brilliant humor especially because it was unintended).

    Ask yourself this: would you rather watch 78 minutes of ‘Plan 9’ or 43 minutes of ‘Gossip Girl?’ Thatt’s a no-brainer in my book.

    Thanks for the great post, Vic.

    • You bring up very valid points, Shawn. In this uncreative and short sighted (and unfortunately short attention spanned) culture many people don’t dig enough for subtext or even any meaning because of the vapid crap that the writers of movies and tv today are exposing us too. It’s really sad.

      And hell yeah…make mine Ed Wood over anything on the CW.

  3. On the topic of best/worst movies, a documentary surrounding the film Troll 2 is out called “Best Worst Movie.” A friend and I saw it at the Dryden and it was hilarious.

    Just wanted to throw that in there.

    • I’ll have to check that one out. There are tons of bad movies. We’ve got a few coming down the pipe that are pretty funny.

    • Thanks Kyle. I have actually seen that movie (Please don’t ask me the circumstances as to how I found myself watching that) at a friend’s house while I was still living in NYC. I’ll look out for the doc for sure now! I might even do a “Leprechaun” review.

  4. Excellent review Victor! Even though it was a bad movie, you still gave it some respect knowing that It’s hard to make it in Hollywood, even if you are Ed Wood. 🙂 I like how you describe certain scenes and those scenes were very humorous! I remember the movie and actually own it. The movie is one of the worst ever but for some reason, many fans of cinema, still talk about it! Thanks.

    • I will give anyone major credit for getting a story, actors, props and determination together to make a movie. A good one? Maybe not but if you yell “action”! and people move and scurry around to do their jobs as best they could then you have respect!!!

      Look at how much money they throw at Micheal Bay. (that talentless hack) Just imagine if they gave Ed Wood 100 million dollars. His Plan 9 might have been something on par with Invasion of the Body Snatchers or others…

      Thanks for reading and I write these reviews just for you and those others out there, bro. The REAL film lovers!

      • The film is actually hilarious and what makes it so funny is that it wasn’t intended to be funny (as I noted earlier with the opening line of the movie). It is literally like watching a movie written and directed by a hgh school kid with a camcorder. It’s fantastic, that way.

  5. Many many thanks to you for this great share.

  6. Well put Shawn!

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