The movie that everyone has heard of because it is considered so bad. This is one of those movies that honestly made me fall in love with the whole “so bad, it’s good” type of movie. A favorite memory of mine does not have to do with the actual watching of this movie. No, my favorite memory of this movie is when I gave out copies of the DVD out as prizes to some of my friends who won a photo scavenger hunt for my birthday one year. So let’s all sit down and enjoy the “worst movie ever made” as I watch Plan 9 From Outer Space.
The plot: An old man and a small group of mourners are attending the funeral of the old man’s wife while close by, a pair of gravediggers wait for the funeral to end so they can fill in the grave. Overhead, pilot Jeff Trent and his copilot Danny are flying into Burbank, CA and contacting the tower when they see a bright light and a flying saucer appears in front of them before heading down to the cemetery. When the flight attendant comes into the cockpit to see what happened, Jeff asks her to check on if any of the passengers saw the flying saucer, then they report to the tower on what happened. Back in the graveyard, the gravediggers finish filling in the grave of the old man’s wife and head home but stop when they hear a strange sound and end up attacked by a female zombie. The next day, the old man leaves his house and, caught up in his grief, steps out onto the street and is hit by a car. A funeral is held, where the old man is placed in a crypt but unknown to the attendees, the female zombie, which happens to be the old man’s wife, is watching the proceedings. As the attendees leave, a couple stumble upon the bodies of the two gravediggers and the police are called in. Inspector Daniel Clay heads up the investigation and after giving out orders to the other officers, he decides to look around the cemetery on his own. Nearby, Jeff and his wife Paula comment on the sirens but Jeff is distracted by the flying saucer he saw. He tells Paula about what he saw, even though the army told him not to say anything, but as he complains about not being able to tell anyone else about what he saw, they are knocked down as a loud noise and bright light suddenly occur and they see a flying saucer heading towards the cemetery. The police and morgue attendants are also knocked down by the saucers flight, while Clay sees it land in the cemetery and heads over to investigate it but is soon attacked by the recently resurrected old man and his wife. The other officers hear Clay firing his gun and go to investigate but when they get there, they only find Clay’s dead body. Meanwhile, more saucers are reported all across the country and the military, led by Col. Thomas Edwards, launches an attack on the saucers but they appear unaffected and suddenly fly back into space. As they leave, one of the soldiers approaches Edwards and Edwards admits that the military has been covering up the appearance of flying saucers and that they tried communicating with them at first but when a small town was destroyed, they adopted a shoot first mentality. In space, one of the saucers docks with Space Station 7 and Commander Eros reports to his leader, Ruler, that their efforts to contact the Earthmen have failed because their governments choose not to believe their existence. Eros then tells his leader that he has implemented Plan 9, which calls for the resurrection of the recently dead, and the leader tells him to proceed and Eros heads back to Earth. Back on Earth, Jeff is preparing to go on another flight and thinks Paula should go stay at her mother’s while he is gone but Paula refuses to leave their house. That night, the old man enters the house to attack Paula but she manages to get away and ends up being chased by the old man, his wife, and a resurrected Clay through the cemetery. She manages to leave the cemetery and passes out on the side of the road, where a passing motorist sees her and, after seeing the old man’s wife and Clay approaching, places her in his car and takes off. The zombies are brought back to the saucer, where Eros tells Tanna, his first mate, to turn off the electrodes as the zombies will attack anything. Meanwhile, Edwards is at a meeting with General Roberts in Washington to discuss the flying saucers. Roberts plays Edwards a tape of the alien’s message, where they say that the aliens fear the humans will eventually destroy the universe with their violent ways, then sends Edwards to California, where the saucer activity seems to be the most frequent. Back on Space Station 7, Eros and Tanna are speaking with Ruler and bring in Clay but Tanna’s electro-gun malfunctions and Clay starts to strangle Eros until Ruler tells Tanna to throw her gun on the floor, breaking the contact with Clay. Back on Earth, Edwards goes with police Lieutenant Harper to see Paula and Jeff and ask them about the saucers but while they are talking, the old man shows up and starts to attack them but a ray from the saucer strikes the old man, reducing him to a skeleton. Jeff, Paula, Edwards, Harper, and Officer Kelton head to the cemetery and Jeff, Edwards, and Harper head out to look around, leaving Kelton to stay at the car but while they are gone, Clay knocks out Kelton and then grabs Paula and takes her towards the saucer. Jeff, Edwards, and Harper find the saucer and are invited inside by Eros, who tries to explain his and Tanna’s position on why they must destroy the human race, saying that if their weapons continue to progress as they have, they will eventually discover Solarinite, which could destroy the universe if detonated. Kelton comes to and calls for back-up and they head off to look for the others. Back on the saucer, Harper wants to take Eros and Tanna to the police station but Eros has him look outside, where they see Clay holding Paula. Kelton and another officer show up and manage to rescue Paula, while inside the saucer, Jeff begins struggling with Eros. As the two struggle, Edwards works on getting the door open while Tanna tries to get the saucer back into space. During the fight, Jeff and Eros damage some equipment, causing a fire to break out. Edwards manages to get the doors open and the three men manage to escape while the saucer flies off but eventually explodes in the sky, killing Eros and Tanna and causing the remaining ghouls to be reduced to skeletons.
While Plan 9 From Outer Space is often called the worst movie ever made, many critics actually gave the movie positive reviews, as shown by the 67% rating it currently has on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The epitome of so-bad-it’s-good cinema,Plan 9 From Outer Space is an unintentionally hilarious sci-fi “thriller” from anti-genius Ed Wood that is justly celebrated for its staggering ineptitude.” The movie would serve as Bela Lugosi’s final film appearance due to his death, though the footage used was only test footage that was previously shot for an unnamed film. After Lugosi’s death, Ed Wood hired his wife’s chiropracter to act as a stand-in and had him cover the lower half of his face with the cape he was wearing in every shot. The movie was filmed in 1956 but it would be 3 years before it would be released due at first due to nobody picking up the movie and then the company that did pick it up folding before it was released.
First of all, there are so many movies that are way worse than this one. Second, this is an absolutely hysterical movie to watch because of how bad it is. To start with, the dialogue was absolutely terrible at times but it is funny watching the actors try to get through their lines with a straight face. The actual plot was decent but again, the dialogue did hurt it some and kept it from being taken seriously. The filming was odd, especially the times where the had Bela Lugosi’s character in the scene, as most of the scenes with Lugosi were shot during the day, while the scenes with the stand in were at night. So you would get an odd clash where one minute, the “old man” would be walking in the day and the next, it would be night time. Also, I thought the whole but about having the stand-in cover his face during his scenes to be especially funny. The flying saucers were totally fake and you could see the wires holding them aloft, especially when the saucers would “wobble”. One of my favorite goofs is when Edwards is standing by himself and the sky is in the background behind him, but you see his shadow on the sky. Like I said, there are worse movies out there, but if you need a laugh, then watching this will make that happen.
Rating: 4 out of 5