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Plan 9 from Outer Space

2015-10-31

 by Kyle Armstrong

      This is a very popular movie to hate, but I just don't understand it's title of "the worst film of all time". It is fun to point out its flaws (the many that it has), however, this is more of the worst film that the viewer had seen (in which he probably hasn't seen many), rather than the "worst of all time". Even on a list of all time films, this probably wouldn't be accurate because this isn't even the worst Edward D. Wood Jr. film. This is the last film in what I like to call the "Lugosi trilogy" in Ed Wood's filmography. After many years of mistreatment by Hollywood, Bela had become a washed up actor, but Wood, who looked up to him had brought him into his own home with bigger roles (well, by Ed Wood standards). We were given 3 films, a biopic that was more about the director's personal life, than the woman he was supposed to make the movie about in the first place, an insane Frankenstein-esque film with a rubber octopus and an atomic explosion in the same scene, and then we got Plan 9 from Outer Space, Ed Wood's final film before Lugosi's death, including the final on screen footage of Lugosi before he died. 

     This footage is used over and over again throughout the film, when it isn't used they cast a man who looks like Lugosi from the eyes up. What we get is stock footage of Lugosi mashed into scenes with the man hiding his nose behind his cape throughout most of the film, a clichéd image of Dracula... or, well, Batman. The only time he doesn't is if it is a shot of the back of his head. As for the plot, the film is about an alien invasion that brings the dead back to life, after seeing what Earth really is, a war filled planet, full of "stupid minds". By "the dead", I mean 2 people, also including Dracula or "Ghoul Man". The doorway with the black sheet is used for both the cockpit of the airplane and UFO, this is very noticeable. Tor Johnson's character Inspector Clay is in the film (alive) for 1 minute, until he is killed off immediately, then brought back from the dead. Seeing him struggle getting out of the ground was left in the film, and it is hilarious. The other character brought back from the dead, Vampira, is credited as "Vampire Girl", but that is the only way we would figure that out because she has no lines, nor is she ever explained in the entire film. The film goes from day to night constantly in a matter of one scene. I counted this about 5 different times. The way these characters speak to each other feel very scripted and forced, in a way nobody would talk. They explain too much of what they do and what is going on. Just too many unrealistic conversations. Where there are these sightings of the undead walking around, the cops decide to go back to Inspector Clay's grave to find that his body is gone and his casket has been broken out of. They have an officer go down there to figure this out, when apparently, the other cops see it fine from up there. Then music plays to anticipate something dramatic, when Inspector Clay's body is missing, but leads to just an awkward silence. 

     The Marshall proceeds to inform the soldier that flying saucers do not exist, even though in broad daylight earlier, he and other soldiers shot at them for a "field test". Wait, what? So what did he expect him to think, even if he hadn't seen the UFOs before that moment? The enemy just had a highly advanced plane? When shooting at the UFOs, you can clearly see the string, which makes this film all the more better. Then we listen to a recording from the alien leader himself. The alien leader proceeds to insult the human race in a recording that couldn't finish because "atmospheric conditions", although, it sounded pretty fine to me. No atmospheric conditions got in the way of the sound. "Ghoul Man" walks in the UFO and walks back out, for some reason that is never explained, so when we see him walk back out he is headed for this group of people, who are terrified and call him "thing or it", not knowing he is obviously a human with a cape over his face. The laser beam on the UFO zaps and kills him, leaving only the cape and bones you could find in a science class, of the man who was taller and younger looking, than Bela Lugosi. Apparently, the American government is working on a solar bomb (which is idiotic on many different levels), the American soldiers do not know this, but for some reason, the alien soldiers do. Then one of the alien soldiers begins having a temper tantrum, like some sort of child. As the female alien begins to tell off the humans, the male alien soldier pushes the female alien out of the way for talking, because "women don't fight men's battles". So wars are bad, but misogyny is fine?

     Then, like how most America's wars end, they trash the joint and set fire to the UFO belonging to the people that only wanted to make peace in the first place. Then they feel pride in the war they most likely started. The film ends with Criswell telling the audience that "We laughed at Radio, TV, and vitamins, what makes the beings in the universe any different?" Well, the universe is not a man made thing, it's not some goofy invention some guy made with his free time. Plan 9 is Edward D. Wood Jr.'s best film. There are plot holes everywhere, but it has the most coherent story out of all the films in his filmography, and unlike many films of his, it stays on track, never getting too sidetracked with junk footage he came across. If you want a bad Ed Wood film, watch his first few films or even his last few films.

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