Plan 9 From Outer Space

by: Alaine Reschke

Plan 9 From Outer Space is frequently hailed as one of the worst movies of all time. This is no small accomplishment since it must surpass the horrific Jaws: The Revenge in order to claim that title. Writer, director, and producer (a triple threat), Ed Wood manages to unwittingly avoid his original purpose - a brilliant science fiction classic - and create a movie so inconceivably bad it's funny.

The rather simplistic story line contrived in Plan 9 from Outer Space entails aliens plotting to save the universe. The movie inherits its title when they conclude that "Plan Nine" - resurrect the dead and destroy Earth's inhabitants - is the best idea after presumably eight other faulty attempts. Needless to say they fail miserably and in the end their flaming pie plate spaceship spontaneously combusts in mid-flight, hurling towards an inevitable fate.

Little can be said of the script for Plan 9 from Outer Space, as it has no merits. The trees used to produce the paper this script was written on would have served better use as firewood than disgracing its bark with this campy dribble. Including such memorable lines as "We should all be interested in the future as that is where we will spend the rest of our lives" and "How could any race be so stupid?" it is difficult to imagine how this film ever became a reality.

Although the characters in Plan 9 from Outer Space are somewhat imaginative the performers' portrayals leave much to be desired. Vampira plays a zombie vampire girl flaunting a 19 inch waist that is scarcely surpassed by her 19 inch fingernails. The only satisfactory aspect of her performance in this role is merely a result of her ghostly appearance; she seems all too frail and emaciated to be living. Vampira is briefly accompanied by Bela Lugosi, who was also slated to star in this flick. However, the man renowned for his leading role in Dracula died after only two days worth of shooting and was replaced by a younger, taller man. Lugosi's departure is never explained, but the change is badly concealed by a cape held across the new Lugosi's face. Inspector Clay (Tor Johnson), known as "the big one" by the aliens, is also a resurrected corpse. In this film, Johnson is truly an animated caricature reduced to stomping around grave yards and stalking innocent Earthlings in the dead of night. Johnson's facial expression never changed throughout the entirety of the film, and while it is supposed to be frightful and threatening, the result comes across as laughable at best.

One of the films most memorable performances is turned in by Eros (Dudlee Manlove), who frequently explodes with such uncanny insults as, "Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!" Who utters such memorable lines as "I? A fiend?" with a dreadfully unsound delivery, Eros is one of those bad science fiction movie characters you will never forget.

Costumes and make-up in this film were almost non-existent. No, I don't mean they were naked, although that certainly would have made things more creative and interesting. The aliens paraded around in tacky metallic jumpsuits and the people draped themselves in unimaginative and uninteresting clothing.

The art decoration in this movie rated about the same as everything else...only worse. Much like myself you are probably wondering could this be possible? Graveyards reeked of cardboard headstones and 3 foot under corpses. The alien spacecraft also appeared to be made of cardboard; in aerial views of the ship it closely resembled a prehistoric pogo-ball. If you looked closely, you could even see the strings supporting these flying crafts, proving that the special effects were non-existent. In fact, the only real special effect in the film occurred when the craft caught fire and spiraled off into space. This of course was merely a flaming pie plate dangling in front of the camera, and to top it off, you could see the string.

Ed Wood should have been shot. How could anyone have done a worse job on a movie? This movie even makes Superman 4 sound appealing. The only reason why anyone should be subjected to its awfulness is as suitable torture for unsuspecting film students. Ed Wood knew nothing about writing, producing, or directing a motion picture. To quote Eros "How could anyone be so stupid?" A frontal lobotomy victim could have surpassed the work of this has-been, wanna-be moron. You simply must see it to truly believe in all its awesome failures.