Plan 9 From Outer Space

Plan 9 From Outer Space Back in my review of Tommy Wiseau's delightful flop The Room, I mentioned a title that Tim Burton fans might be familiar with: Plane 9 From Outer Space. Now, The Room was a pretty bad movie, as any of you who read the review and got curious know for a fact. You'd have to be practically trying to fail if you wanted to top it. Or you would have to be Ed Wood, famously hailed as the worst director of all time. Well, if The Room is the Citizen Kane of bad movies, Plan 9 must be the Casablanca.

Director Ed Wood was rocketed to stardom years after his death when director and producer Tim Burton decided to make a cheeky little film starring Johnny Depp that chronicled Wood's many bizarre habits and quirks, his almost sadly unwavering enthusiasm, his friendship with actor Bela Lugosi, and, of course, the planning and filming of all his best worst films. Those of you who have seen the film will remember something very different about Ed Wood; he was a cross-dresser. And somewhat open about it, too, which is quite admirable for a man in the sexually oppressive 1950's. His mother, who had allegedly always wanted a daughter, would put him in dresses up until his adolescence, and from then on he was just crazy about angora sweaters.

Director Ed Wood is certainly a strange being himself, but compared to the cast of Plan 9 From Outer Space, he seems almost normal. Wood's most famous film features a rag-tag collection of personalities: enormous Swedish wrestler Tor Johnson; sexy, late night movie hostess Vampira; drag queen Bunny Breckinridge; and the late, great Bela Lugosi, to name a few.

Bela Lugosi and Ed Wood were friends for quite some time, which seems odd when you first think about it. Why would a huge star like Bela Lugosi, who played Dracula, even get the chance to meet a low-budget, campy director like Wood? Unfortunately, Lugosi's role as the sensual, terrifying Count Dracula was difficult to shake. He was type-casted and had trouble finding people who wanted to hire him for films other than goofy creature features. Not only that, but after an injury during military service, Lugosi developed an addiction to painkillers, like morphine, which ate up his already dwindling funds.

Ed Wood worshiped Lugosi and and the aging Count soon became Wood's shining star, whom Wood insisted on putting in nearly every film he planned. Sadly, Lugosi's brief scene in the beginning of Plan 9 From Outer Space would be his last film ever. He died of a heart attack in the middle of filming. Ed Wood, being his tactful and resourceful self, decided to use his chiropractor as a double for Lugosi's role, and decided that if the man held his cape up over his mouth the entire time, the audience would assume it was Lugosi.

Now, in regards to the plot, I'm going to be completely honest; I've watched this whole film through (and laughed my bum off), and I still can't exactly figure out what the plot-line is supposed to be. Basically, a bunch of ambiguously gay aliens come down in hubcaps spaceships and start to raise the dead, wreaking havoc and destruction for some pointless and unknown reason.

The script Wood wrote is, alone, a comedic masterpiece. Very little of what anyone says makes sense. I will demonstrate the absurdity by providing the first lines of the film, spoken by a narrator:

Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you, the full story of what happened on that fateful day. We are bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of grave robbers from outer space?

I think the redundancy and repetition speaks for itself.

It is evident when watching the film that it was done quickly and somewhat carelessly. Ed Wood, unlike most directors, felt one take was enough. So what if the actor tripped mid-line, or that cardboard tombstone toppled over? The audience will obviously be too wrapped up in the thrilling, groundbreaking plot-line to even notice such a minor blunder. The scene can go in the film!

Throughout the movie, you notice many of these slip-ups. A cardboard tombstone, does, indeed, topple over. A boom mic is visible overhead. Actors playing policemen nonchalantly scratch under their hats with the noses of their pistols, testing whether the oblivious Ed Wood will notice (he didn't).

Words cannot describe the sheer awfulness of this film. I cannot properly even describe how incredibly hysterical the mediocre acting is, how awkward the absolutely sporadic lighting is, and how completely random the gratuitous amounts of stock footage are.

This film is beyond reviewing. You can really only see it to believe it. I hope you do.

Latest reviews