Plan Nine From Outer Space
Starring: Tor Johnson, Vampira and other Ed Wood regulars
Distributors Corporation of America
The movie starts poorly with completely ridiculous narration by a psychic. It may be the worst part of the whole movie. He tells the audience that they will be living their lives in the future. No shit, Criswell, really? Then the real movie starts. Aliens from space station something or other have come to earth to try out their new method of using their ray-guns to control human beings. A pilot who sees one of the UFOs from his airplane just happens to live right next to the cemetary where the aliens are hiding their space ship – saves the aliens cab fare. The aliens kill some cemetery workers and then kill and take over the gigantic police inspector who comes to investigate (Tor Johnson). Tor may be a bad actor but I would not want to meet him in a dark alley. A woman (Vampira) also randomly wanders around the cemetery for the purpose of showing her cleavage, I believe. The police and pilot go again to investigate the cemetery and find the alien craft, but in the mean time the big-ass alien has taken the pilot’s wife. The “good humans” finally meet and have conflict with the aliens and…well you’ll just have to watch the rest.
The plot holes are…well who cares, theres several, but big deal, it’s a B movie. Yes, the special effects are rudimentary at best. Often you can see the string holding up the “flying” UFOs but that kind of adds to it’s hand-crafted charm. It even features some modest doses of moralizing over the atomic bomb and human beings wanting to destroy everthing, which has a bit of the truth to it. After all, remember that this movie was made in the midst of the cold war when everybody thought Russia had their finger on the proverbial trigger. Back then, the “fuck up your life” posibilities of nuclear power were high and it wasat the forefront of everybody’s mind.
Seeing the Tim Burton movie Ed Wood spoils a bit the fun of watching plan 9 from outerspace for the first time. The Tim Burton biopic tells the story of a man who wanted nothing more in life to make motion pictures. He didn’t have the beauty, the talent, the connections but by God he had the balls and the gusto to make his movies, no matter what he had to do to get them done. I admire that about him. Wood would use friends as actors in his movies. He used his wife’s chiropractor as a fill in actor for Bela Lugosi after Lugosi’s death. Wood didn’t care; he just wanted to get the picture on the big screen. I think Woods was a true believer in the “Magic of Hollywood”. Standing here in 2012 looking back almost sixty years at the decade of the fifties, everything back then kind of looks ridiculous. The clothes, the talk, the morals, the movies all seem to be from almost another world. We modern, forward-looking people like to think we are so much evolved from the simpletons we picture our ancestors to be. It’s mostly bullshit, of course. We just do it to make ourselves feel superior. I think calling this film the “Worst Film of All Time” is a prime example of that. Trust me, I’ve seen bigger piles of shit on the big screen, some which cost tens of millions of dollars. This movie at least has some heart.
As Citizen Kane is probably not the best film of all time, Plan 9 from Outer Space is probably not the worst film of all time. It only started getting that moniker in the early 80′s. What it probably truly is is the best-known bad movie, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For a B movie, it makes the film memorable. Nowadays with the internet and given the pseudo-public domain status of the film, it can be viewed by anyone, anywhere. Fifty-plus years later people are still talking about it and watching it, which is more than you can say about a lot of other movies from that time which may have been “better”. Ultimately it’s so goofy that it’s entertaining, and I think that’s a big part of what people look for in a B Movie. Bottom line – watch the damn thing.
The movie is, I believe, in the public domain and can be watched online for free at archive.org and bmovie.org
Entertaining – 3, Serious Movie – 1, Campy/Goofy/Silly – 4