232 of 241 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2000
After reading many of the other Amazon.com reviews of the "Plan 9 From Outer Space" DVD, the consumer MUST be aware there are two different companies that are distributing this movie on DVD. The first is PASSPORT which, from all the other reviews seem to say, should be avoided. Apparently the company has their logo visible on screen the ENTIRE movie and featurette which follows. And they also don't even include a chapter index. The other company which distributes this movie is IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT. This is the version I have and THIS is the DVD to get of "Plan 9". (The cover of my version is the one Amazon.com has displayed in the picture above.) The picture quality is near perfect and the Dolby Digital Mono sound is excellent. And. . . .no annoying logo in the bottom corner of your screen. While the (seemingly) inferior PASSPORT version supposedly has a few interviews cobbled together from Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" press junket, the IMAGE version includes a 111 minute documentary which includes some of the stars of Plan 9 (including Vampira) as well as cult horror directors Sam Raimi and Joe Dante! It's two movies for the price of one! So unless you're a die-hard Johnny Depp fan and NEED to have a couple of clips of him speaking, the IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT DVD is the absolute one to purchase. I believe Amazon.com offers both so just beware. And if you're thinking of buying one from an on-line auction make sure you ask the person selling which version they have. I hope this helps.
90 of 99 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2001
Plan 9 is just as bad as everyone says it is (buy it buy it buy it!), so this review is just a reminder for you to purchase the better of the two DVDs that Amazon offers of this title.
Do NOT buy the Passport Video edition...it has horrible sound and the picture lighting throbs between dark and bright through the entire film. Passport Video also included a watermark of their logo in the bottom right hand corner of the screen that lasts throughout the film. In addition to all of this, what is advertised on the package as "Show 2: THE ED WOOD STORY" is in fact 40 mins. of cobbled together interviews with Vampira, Johnny Depp, Ed Wood's wife, and one of Tor Johnson's neighbors. Sounds okay, but they are actually mind-bogglingly uninsightful and focus mostly upon Tim Burton's Ed Wood film.
The edition of this DVD that you will want to buy is the Image Entertainment version that includes the 111 min. documentary "Flying Saucers Over Hollywood" (which is a wonderful addition). This DVD has great sound and picture quality, vastly superior to Passport Video's piddly excuse for a quality DVD.
I know that it may seem counter productive to buy a more expensive release of the worst movie of all time, but you will appreciate the horrible experience of grave robbers from outerspace much more (and Image Entertaiment's documentary is great too).
65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
Plan 9 From Outer Space is often called the worst movie ever made, but its entertainment value elevates it above many other films, even some of better quality. The plot moves along nicely and has little to no padding in it and the dialog and special effects are hilarious even if that was not the intent of the director, Ed Wood. Everyone who loves cinema should see this movie! The wobbly flying saucers on single strings, Swedish wrestler turned actor Tor Johnson, Bela Lugosi in his last role, Vampira and more make this an unforgettable film. It's so bad it's great. Sadly, the great Bela Lugosi died during filming, so look for Bela Lugosi's replacement in some scenes. He's not hard to spot as he is taller and looks nothing like Mr. Lugosi, hence he holds a cape in front of his face in every scene in which he appears!
The original black and white (b&w) version of the film is nicely restored on this DVD and the colorized version is of good quality and interesting as well. The colorization looks better on this disc than most and appears both rich and fairly natural. Mike Nelson, former head writer and host of the HILARIOUS Mystery Science Theater 3000 (aka MST3K, also available on DVD) provides a humorous commentary track that can be heard on either the original b&w or the color version of the film. Other extras include Mike Nelson's amusing "lost alien plans 1 through 8," some brief home movies of the famous cross-dressing director, Ed Wood, commercials produced by Ed Wood, faux comedic deleted scenes, and a color version of the movie trailer.
Fans of Plan 9 will appreciate the nicely restored picture and sound and the Mike Nelson commentary is highly amusing as expected. This DVD is a movie buff's dream. Don't miss it.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 1999
Not that PLAN 9 was worthy of the Criterion Collection, but it deserved a bit better than the presentation Passport has given it. The transfer is slightly above VHS and the mastering is pretty bad. Hell, even the old VHS tape looked better. Granted, it's a film in the public domain, but couldn't you have found better materials? Worst of all is the company logo that plays throughout most of the movie - like anyone would rip it off!! However, Passport does try to make some amends by offering interviews with some of Wood's cronies and with ED WOOD Johnny Depp and Martin Landau, interviews taken off a 1994 press junket. There are also trailers for 4 other Wood films, and even if they too vary in quality, they are fun to watch. The film is the real star and is worth owning in any format. I just wish this one were better.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2002
How wonderfully awful is this film?
For starters the title of this review is a quote from the film.
Plan 9 began in 1956 when Ed Wood (the alcoholic, angora sweater-wearing transvestite director--,convinced Bela Lugosi to shoot some scenes with him outside a home in the San Fernando Valley, and to mimic visiting his dead wife at a cemetery. He had been an avid fan of the aging former horror star and previously convinced him to appear in two previous films. Bela was a narrator in Glen or Glenda and a low rent mad scientist in "Bride of the Monster". This time, Ed was going to bring back Bela to films as we all wanted to see him... as a vampire!!!!
Ed and Bela shot the footage in two days. It was silent. Shortly thereafter, Lugosi died.
Now most people would not continue to raise funds for a film starring Bela Lugosi, when the star had passed away after filming only a couple of scenes and no dialogue--- but then most people aren't Ed Wood. He scraped enough money together over the next couple of years to begin filming his epic masterpiece.
Ed let a chiropractor, who invested some money in the film, double, for his departed star. The much younger and much taller chiropractor would simply hide his face in a black cape, and slick back his hair and no one would be the wiser.
Criswell (A columnist psychic who has 1950's tv show) was convinced by Ed to be the film's on camera narrator.
I suppose not many people were asking Vampira - a popular TV horror movie host to be in a movie, so she agreed. He asked Swedish wrestler Tor Johnson to be in yet another one of his films. Tor, who spoke very little English, must have said yes.
A name cast!
Now add Bunny Breckinridge as the slightly effeminate pompous alien Eros, and Joana Lee (who became a successful writer for television) as his female alien side-kick, Gregory Walcott and Mona McKinnon would play the couple who live near the cardboard cemetery. Duke Moore, Paul Marco , Dudly Manlove, Conrad Brooks and others were hired to round out the stellar cast. Some wisely knew to ask for cash at the end of each day of work. They got paid.
There are a couple of truly effective shots in the film like one which has Vampira dn Tor Johnson moving through a fog enshrouded set past a creepy branch of a tree. Was it just an accident that Ed Wood got something right in this film?
Although this film was officially declared as the Worst Film of All Time and Golden Turkey by the book writing Medved brothers many years ago...there are dozens of films that are many movies that give it a run for that title. Worse enjoyable movies would include: Mesa of Lost Women (Ron Ormond's film which contains a flashback within a flashback emanating from a character who could not have flash backed to the scene in the first place because he wasn't there! Ron Ormond incidentally allowed Ed Wood to use the headache inducing semi' flamenco guitar soundtrack he created for Mesa in several Ed Wood films !!!); or Robot Monster(Phil Tucker's part 3D film which features an alien--a Man with panty hose on his face wearing a Gorilla Suit with a Deep Sea Diving Helmet over his head-- who is trying to eliminate the last few remaining earthlings with his calcinator death ray --a bubble machine probably picked up cheap from a Lawrence Welk Show garage sale-- from his hide out in Griffith Park's Bronson Cave); or Rat Pfink a Boo Boo(Ray Dennis Steckler's film who's title was created by a mistake which no one had the money to fix is one of the prolific bad filmmaker's most existential works--a movie Godard wished his name was on--perhaps--).
Ed Wood wrote and directed just two more conventional films after Plan 9: The Plan 9 sequel called, Night of the Ghouls which wasn't publicly seen until the 1980's (Ed couldn't pay the lab bill and then the film was thought to be lost).He then wrote and directed an exploitation film about a group of sleazy called The Sinister Urge (released in 1960).
Then Wood became a frustrated alcoholic, bitter and disillusioned about his lack of success. He wrote or worked as an assistant director on several soft-core sexploitation films.The most famous and widely available of these is Orgy of the Dead(which also features Criswell prominently. The film consists of women in various monster and ghoul costumes stripping for Criswell in a bad cemetery set. Ed divorced, lost his house in the Valley and moved into a run-down section of Hollywood (Yucca St (between Hollywood and Franklin). For about twenty years he paid his rent and liquor bills (mostly) by writing lots of pornographic books and making soft-core sexploitation films. Sometimes he played drooling older voyeur/dirty old men characters. By the early 1970's he was direction hard core porno loops for Swedish Erotica and others. Shortly before his death his ex-wife tried to help Ed who was ill and a terrible alcoholic. He was barely aware there was a cult following for his films when he died in the mid-70's. It was shortly after his death he was re-discovered by cult film buffs.
Several DVD versions of the film exist. The best one is put out by IMAGE. It's got a fairly decent print of the film and includes Saucers Over the Hollywood the feature length 111 minute video documentary about the making of the film that's a must have for
all Ed Wood fans and includes visiting the tiny studio where much of the film was shot in 1958 in about 1986 with some of the original cast members. ...
32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2004
As another reviewer mentioned, Passport Video has their logo "PIP" in the lower right hand corner throughout this DVD.
Hold up your hand if this sounds like a good idea.
Also, if you go to the menu and click on PLAY MOVIE (as you're likely to do) you'll not get to the movie, you'll get the INTERVIEWS. That's right Passport Video is a bunch if screwups!
To watch Plan 9 you have to go to CHAPTERS.
Avoid this disc.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2000
There are two kinds of bad movies - the kind through which you cannot sit and the kind that raise their "badness" to an art form. Plan 9 is in the latter category. Originally titled Graverobbers from Outer Space, it tells the story of the Leader of the Galaxy (named Eros = Greek god of love) and how he tries to take over the Earth using human zombies. Various people catch onto the plan and try to stop the surprisingly humanoid aliens.
None of this is important, though. What is fun in the inane dialogue, some examples of which are, "We are all interested in the future for that is where you and I will spend the rest of our lives.", "You see? Your stupid minds!", and "Inspector Clay is dead! Murdered! And someone's responsible!". In addition, supposedly contiguous scenes are filmed half in the daytime, half at night; you can see strings on the flying saucers (descibed as "cigar shaped" in the dialogue); styrofoam gravestones wobble; etc. The star of the film, Bela Lugosi, passed away before the movie started production - most of his part is played by another actor with a cape over his face.
Thus, there is enough here to keep anyone amused, if not laughing out loud, through most of the film. It is highly recommended.
The rest of my comments will centre on the DVD edition. The video is remarkably clear and crisp. The audio track does not fare as well, but it's okay. There are some extras, including some trailers for both this film and other Wood offerings - very entertaining. Finally, there are some interviews. Unfortunately, some are inane, dealing solely with the Tim Burton Movie "Ed Wood", which, while interesting, are not really appropriate here. The more personal interviews are better - one of Wood's actresses and ex-girlfriends, a neighbour of Tor Johnson's, and Lugosi's son. An okay set of extras for a movie that's 40 years old. But why, OH WHY??, did the company that produced the movie insist on putting its semitransparent logo in the corner (like the little TV network logos) through the entire movie? Argh!! This feature alone robs the movie of its fifth star.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2003
Before I go into the film itself, let me say that Passport Video's release has the company logo on-screen through the entire film. The release from Image Entertainment is much cleaner, does not have the logo, and includes the documentary Flying Saucers Over Hollywood. Both versions have the original trailer.
If you have seen Tim Burton's film Ed Wood, you already know what it took to get this film to release, and can skip this paragraph. For those who haven't, Ed Wood talked a church into backing this film, on the theory that a blockbuster science fiction film would earn back the money invested and more, giving the church a huge budget to make religious films. This film is Bela Lugosi's last film, and in fact, he died during shooting, so someone two inches taller than Lugosi was hired to stalk around menacingly and wordlessly, with a black cape elbowed over his nose. The real "stars" of the film are a man who can barely speak English, and an anorexic late night movie hostess who won't let her real name be used, so is billed simply as "Vampira."
This is probably the worst movie ever made. Robot Monster and Reefer Madness are also in the running, but Plan 9 from Outer Space is much more fun than the others. Look out for toppling over styrofoam tombstones, and cardboard flying saucers hung from visible strings.
The plot is this: aliens, having failed with plans one through eight, move on to plan 9, reanimation of the dead of earth. What the aliens are trying to accomplish with plan 9 is to convince the people of earth to cease nuclear weapons proliferation. By plan 9, they were apprently grasping at straws, because the logic fails me.
This movie is a laugh a minute, albeit unintentionally, and really quite enjoyable as long as you know what you're in for. In the realm of bad films, this film would have five stars.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2003
Anybody who loves horror movies and calls themselves an expert must have Ed Wood's "Plan 9 From Outer Space." It qualifies as an 'it's so bad it's good' classic. However, don't make the mistake that I made in buying the Passport DVD "Plan 9" with the 40 minute Ed Wood story. The basic reason is that in this version you will spot the capital letters PIP stamped in the lower right hand corner in every shot. Unlike some people, I don't have to have the initials of the company that produced the DVD staring me in the face when I'm watching it. You cannot remove these initials. Get another version of "Plan 9."
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
You've heard about it from friends. You've heard about it in the print media. You've heard about it on television. You've wondered whether the hype is true or not. Now, the time has come for you to discover the truth about (insert drum roll here) Ed Wood's "Plan 9 From Outer Space." You know you need to watch this film if for no other reason than to finally learn whether Wood's magnum opus is indeed the worst film ever made. Now, gather in closely and I'll whisper to you a little secret about this science fiction extravaganza: "Plan 9 From Outer Space" most definitely is NOT the worst film ever put on celluloid, and I can with utmost confidence assist you in discovering dozens of other films far inferior to this one if you so wish. For instance, "Invasion of the Blood Farmers" is a movie much worse than "Plan 9." "Superman IV" is a worse film than "Plan 9." But "Gigli," despite what you might think, is better than "Plan 9" even though many of us wish it were worse. I could name many, many more films that make Wood's movie look like "Citizen Kane" by comparison. I think this film gets its reputation because critics need one shining example upon which to pin their fears and hatreds, one example which provides a common touchstone that transcends cultures and languages.
The plot is simplicity itself. Humanity's quest to build bigger and better bombs has put an alien race in a tizzy. Advanced far beyond our levels of technology, these extraterrestrials decided some time ago to stop us from developing any more weapons. They tried, in fact, to create eight plans aimed at preventing us from destroying the planet and the entire solar system. All of them failed, so the next plan--the titular Plan 9--is a real doozy. Relying on the electron beams and pineal glands (cackles), the aliens resurrect three dead people to scare us into submission. One of these reanimated corpses is a recently deceased woman who looks like a vampire (played by "Vampira"). Her distraught husband soon follows her into the grave and back again. He's referred to in the credits as Ghoul Man, but he's really the legendary Bela Lugosi in a few scenes. The weird events at the cemetery bring in the police, specifically Inspector Dan Clay (Tor Johnson), who also perishes only to return from the dead as last member of the alien's shock troops. Of course, you can't have zombies shambling around a cemetery for long without the local population asking a lot of pesky questions.
Enter into the picture a married couple living next to the graveyard, Jeff and Paula Trent (Gregory Walcott and Mona McKinnon respectively). Jeff's a pilot for a civilian firm who witnessed a UFO at the beginning of the film, but he has little idea how this sighting will eventually change his life. Then there are the military types who know all about the visiting UFOs and are taking several laughable steps to deal with the menace. How much danger does the world face from these beings? Not much, apparently. Wood treats us to numerous shots of the saucers zipping about the planet, saucers that look exactly like paper plates hanging from strings swinging back and forth against a phony stock footage backdrop. When we finally meet the aliens responsible for this impending catastrophe, we can't help but wonder how exactly we should define the word "advanced." Eros (Dudley Manlove) and his curvy female assistant Tanna (Joanna Lee) land their craft in the graveyard in order to better control the execution of Plan 9. Eventually, after much hilarious exposition, military officers and Jeff Trent penetrate the spacecraft to learn from the arrogant Eros that earth is about to invent a bomb that will explode sunlight! A struggle ensues resulting in the destruction of Plan 9, and all is well with the world.
All will not be well with viewers forced to sit through this monstrosity. "Plan 9" is a great movie because its so bad in every element of its execution. The acting, pace, special effects, cinematography, dialogue, and lighting are so mediocre as to boggle the imagination. Take, for instance, Bela Lugosi. He died shortly after filming the first few scenes we see him in, so Wood brought in another guy to play his part. Every time we see Ghoul Man, he's holding his cape over his face so we won't know that the character isn't Lugosi. Oh my. Then there's the sudden changes from night to day and back again all in the space of one scene, the paper plate flying saucers, the heavy use of stock footage, and tombstones obviously made from cardboard. My favorite "Oh brother!" moment? Noticing that the advanced alien spacecraft contains high technology powered by vacuum tubes. Wow! These guys are light years ahead of us without having to rely on transistors! The lame dialogue--too many examples exist to cite here--achieves such heights of banality that you will need to replay the scenes in order to make sure you heard it right the first time.
I liked this DVD version. The extras included interviews with many of the principals involved in the recent "Ed Wood" film along with surviving cast members from "Plan 9" as well as recollections from a film historian about Wood's oeuvre. Trailers from nearly every extant Wood film, as well as an interview with Bela Lugosi conducted at the time of his release from an alcohol treatment facility, found space on this disc. There isn't much to say about "Plan 9" that hasn't already been said countless other times in the thousands of reviews and articles dissecting this triumph of schlock cinema. Go see this film as soon as possible; it's an experience you won't forget.