– Summary –
Director : Ed Wood
Year Of Release : 1959
Principal Cast : Gregory Walcott, Mona McKinnon, Duke Moore, Tom Keene, Carl Anthony, Paul Marco, Tor Johnson, Dudley Manlove, Joanna Lee.
Approx Running Time : 79 Minutes
Synopsis: A group of extraterrestrial beings arrive on Earth to prevent us from unleashing a doomsday weapon. Their “plan” is to resurrect the dead to stop us.
What we think : Rightly considered one of the greatest worst films of all time, Plan 9 still holds up under rigorous scrutiny as a truly terrible film.
Alien invasion, animated undead, screaming heroines, plucky cops, big name stars: all the makings of a great serious Sci-Fi. Or you could make “Plan 9 from Outer Space“.
When Ed Wood made this film, he intended it to be an attempt at serious horror. Instead, it was the first film in history to be a spoof of itself. If you haven’t seen this iconic failure, let me walk you through some of its features.
Plot: In an attempt to invade earth, the aliens use their special technology to raise two dead bodies (why?). These bodies, in an effort to conquer the world, manage to kill two undertakers (why?). In fact, the first moment that there is any chance of them threatening the hero the aliens turn the device off (why?) reducing them to dust. The hero’s uncanny instincts lead them the the mother ship (parked locally, and manned by an invasion force of two) where they confront the aliens. The leader is shot and the space craft flies into the sky and bursts into flame (why?).
Script: It includes lines such as this from the head of the alien invasion, said when confronted and told his invasion will fail – “You humans and your stupid plans! (stamps foot repeatedly) Stupid, stupid, stupid!”
Costume: The leader of the alien world sits at a wooden desk wearing a medieval tabar complete with axe insignia.
Props: Not only can you see the spaceship strings, but you can still make out the ridges on the paper plate they use. Watch it jiggle as it flies!
Casting: Ed got funding and publicity on the grounds that Bella Lugosi would be in the film. He was for a 5 sec cameo, after which he (and his character) died, and the part was played by Ed Wood’s Grocer, who looked a little like the late actor. No one was fooled.
Direction: I’m sorry, could you repeat the question?
Acting: Best actor award goes to Bella Lugosi… After his death.
In summary, if you have ever had aspiration as a film maker, here is a simple “How Not To”. Thank goodness we were spared Plans 1 to 8!
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