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.