Plan 9 From Outer Space
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Alien grave robbers try to take over Earth for the ninth time.
Sometimes a movie achieves such legendary status that it can't quite live up to its reputation. Plan 9 from Outer Space is not one of these movies. It is just as magnificently terrible as you've heard. Plan 9 is the story of space aliens who try to conquer the Earth through resurrection of the dead. Psychic Criswell narrates ("Future events such as these will affect you in the future!") as police rush through the cemetery, occasionally clipping the cardboard tombstones in their zeal to find the source of the mysterious goings-on. More than just a bad film, Plan 9 is something of a one- stop clearinghouse for poor cinematic techniques: The time shifts whimsically from midnight to afternoon sun, Tor Johnson flails desperately in an attempt to rise from his coffin, and flying saucers zoom past on clearly visible strings. Fading star Bela Lugosi tragically died during filming, but such a small hurdle could not stop writer-producer-director Ed Wood. Lugosi is ingeniously replaced with a man who holds a cape across his face and might as well have "NOT BELA LUGOSI" stamped on his forehead. Plan 9 is so sweetly well- intentioned in both its message and its execution that it's impossible not to love it. And if you don't, well, as Eros says, "You people of Earth are idiots!" --Ali Davis
- Includes the Retrospective Documentary Flying Saucers Over Hollywood: The Plan 9 Companion (1992, 111 min.), featuring interviews with stars Gregory Walcott, Carl Anthony, Paul Marco, Vampira and Conrad Brooks, plus sci-fi historian Forrest J. Ackerman and directors/fans Sam Raimi and Joe Dante
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Top Customer Reviews
There is not a whole lot that I can say about this movie that hasn't been said before but nevertheless I will give my review of the movie itself and of the Blu-Ray DVD.
BLU-RAY DVD: The picture quality is quite good and enjoyable to watch. The color is at times good but has problems. There are several times throughout the movie that you will see colors that are way off what they should be. Especially noticeable is the skin tone in several scenes that for moments will appear nothing like skin tone. But overall I am quite happy with the results.
EXTRA'S : You also get the Black & White version of the movie which I did not watch. There is also a commentary track by Mike Nelson of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame. I did not listen to this either. What I did watch was the Pop-up trivia which gave quite a bit of information. I actually enjoy watching the movie this way as opposed to commentary tracks. With a commentary track you usually cannot hear the dialogue but with the trivia notes flashing this is never a problem.
There are some old commercials that are filmed by Ed Wood.
Finally you get a couple of minutes of home movies of Ed Wood including a rather bizarre one of him dressed as a woman.
PLOT/SUMMARY: The movie opens with Bela Lugosi mourning his dead wife at home and at a cemetery. His dead wife is played by Vampira. Shortly thereafter she rises from the dead and spooks the two gravediggers (who helped finance this movie!). Meanwhile pilot Jeff Trent (Gregory Walcott) sees a flying saucer. This will be the first of many times we see up to 3 flying saucers being held obviously by a string. The old man wanders off screen and we hear a ridiculous yell and we are told that he has been killed by a truck. Inspector Clay (Tor Johnson) along with a few other officers go to the cemetery to investigate the reports of dead people or vampires wandering around. Inspector Clay is killed while off by himself. When Lieutenant Harper finds the body and says the infamous line "Inspector Clay is dead, murdered, and somebodies responsible!" We see a battle using stock footage of the military. They are firing at the flying saucers that are hanging by strings. The military is being led by Col. Tom Edwards. We have scenes of the aliens, Eros, Tanna and the Ruler discussing conquering earth. Apparently they want to stop earthlings from destroying the universe. They claim any more advancement on our part will lead to the destruction of the solar system. Their plan is to raise the dead just so that we will believe in them if that makes any sense. Of course everything in this movie is ridiculous so there is no point in elaborating on the stupidity or logic of the plot. It's up to our heroes to stop the aliens from destroying us.
PRODUCTION: If you are reading this, you obviously know about the production values of this movie. Of course it is the reason this movie is famous and still watched repeatedly.
The scenes of Bela Lugosi (billed as Old Man) along with a few scenes later in the movie of Bela rushing into and out of the woods in a vampire costume are the only scenes with him in it. These scenes were shot for another movie in 1956 called 'The Vampire's Tomb.' This movie was never completed as Lugosi died in his sleep before most of the movie was made. Ed Wood, not one to waste film footage incorporated these scenes into 'Plan 9.'
Vampira had her show cancelled prior to the making of 'Plan 9' and Ed Wood used this as an opportunity to get her in his movie.
The flying saucers, subject of much speculation, were models bought in a toy store by Ed Wood.
The term 'Plan 9" apparently is derived from the fact that the aliens had made 8 other attempts to conquer the earth.
The sets were among the cheapest ever devised for a movie. We have a grass carpet that moves around and has an actor trip over a fold. We have cardboard tombstones that are kicked and knocked over. There is a tiny crypt in which too many people come out of. An alien spaceship....well the less said the better.... An airplane cockpit with a shower curtain, etc. etc.
The vampire covering his face just looks stupendously stupid. He can't even see when he's chasing the girl around, who incidentally runs from a bed that has changing pictures above it! Ed Wood didn't even bother shooting a second take when the vampire's cloak fell off and he had to reposition it.
Years later Vampira would go on to sue Elvira for stealing her look.
THOUGHTS: I don't think this movie is as 'laugh out loud' funny as many others do. For sure there are a few moments that are funny. But mostly it's just poorly directed with poor writing and poor production values. I have found ;that what really makes bad movies funny is the acting. Bad acting can ruin any film even those with good production values. Plan 9 actually has a few decent actors in it. People that appeared in many films over the years such as (obviously) Bela Lugosi, Gregory Walcott the pilot,Tom Keene as Tom Edwards (his last movie) and John Breckinridge (The Ruler).
'Plan 9' was originally supposed to be called "Grave Robbers from Outer Space" which would have made more sense but then again it might have made the movie a bit less 'legendary' with that title.
Interestingly enough, Ed Wood does let some of his political views slip through in the dialogue.
THE DECISION!: Is 'Plan 9 from Outer Space' the worst sci-fi movie ever made or the worst of any genre? Well in my view, it's close but no cigar. I still rank "The Beast of Yucca Flats" as worse. Also, Manos: The Hands of Fate is definitely worse but I consider that horror and not sci-fi. But that is just one man's opinion.
Recommended obviously for 'Plan 9' fans and 50's sci-fi fans. You get color and some interesting extra's and a nice print.
Only bad movie afficionado's should be watching this to begin with.
If you are new to classic sci-fi and picking this to be your first 50's sci-fi movie to watch then you are making a big mistake. Watch something else.
Plan 9 primarily deals with a couple of conspiracies. On one hand, the government is hiding alien existence from us while the aliens, loathed to be ignored, plot to destroy this upstart world because we're ignoring them and their dire warnings to stop making bombs (I don't think they were referring to this film in that regard). To that end, they resurrect three dead bodies, Bela Lugosi (in part) as the `old man,' his dead wife (Maila Nurmi), and Inspector Clay (Tor Johnson). These animated corpses wander around a cemetery set (at times you can see their shadows on the `walls' of the night). What little of Lugosi is featured is repeated several times and was shot for another proposed movie. The rest of his scenes are done with a stand-in. Neither has any dialog. All the sets looked to be made of cardboard with a lot of curtains covering everything. There's an unfortunate time element at play throughout the movie (it's day and night in some scenes!). For all that, it breezes along at a snappy pace. The dialog is hilarious. (When the inspector is killed, they all agree he was murdered "and someone is responsible!") How can you argue with logic like that? I especially loved the final denouncement in the saucer, when the alien Eros (Dudley Manlove) berates his guests, you have juvenile minds, and you're stupid! And then he tells them how to make a solarbonite bomb the aliens don't want the Earth dummies to know about.
Being this incompetent is a gift. Ed Wood's was a genius. I absolutely love this crappy movie. It's stellar.
you'll forget that it really ISN'T Bela Lugosi, but Martin Landau playing an aging, forgotten "Dracula" that did
not even live long enough to finish HIS part in the so terrible it is great---finally restored [B & W, and colorized]---
PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE fiasco that is so horrible it's just funny as hell! I bought the, restored Blu-ray of
PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, and put it along-side ED WOOD. Now, t-h-a-t is a double feature that CANNOT
be beat with a schtick stick!
Vampira however looks fantastic in it and is found in many of her trademark moves/poses she is famous for. She said once in a documentary she thought the movie was stupid and was essentially beneath her talents, and so, she spoke no lines. Neither does Bela Lugosi for that matter, but it adds some continuity to their characters thankfully. Its all in good fun and should be viewed as such as this was a very early film for Ed Wood.
I consider it a classic and I am so glad to be able to watch it on Amazon prime. Thank you so much, Amazon prime.
If you have not seen it give it a try, it's good clean fun and it has vampira and Tor Johnson in it
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