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Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)
Evil aliens attack Earth and set their terrible "Plan 9" in action. As the aliens resurrect the dead of the Earth to destroy the living, our stupid minds are in danger.
Gregory Walcott ... Jeff Trent
Mona McKinnon ... Paula Trent
Duke Moore ... Lt. John Harper
Tom Keene ... Col. Tom Edwards
Carl Anthony ... Patrolman Larry
Paul Marco ... Patrolman Kelton
Tor Johnson ... Insp. Dan Clay
Dudley Manlove ... Eros
Joanna Lee ... Tanna
John Breckinridge ... The Ruler
Lyle Talbot ... General Roberts
Poor poor Plan 9: So bad people just watch it to laugh about how bad it is, yet this fundamental flaw pushes it above bad movies, and so it's stuck in between the bottom 100, and well, no where near the top 250...
Anyway, back to the movie. It is as bad as you've no doubt heard. The scene changes from night to day to night, the spaceship is a hubcap (you can see the string it hangs from catch on fire at one point), I could do a better job acting, etc. ad nauseum. But it takes a hell of a lot to be almost universally considered the worst movie of all time, and here is Plan 9's true strength. There are many horrible of movies, but most of them are so bad because they are too bad to be truly bad, and therefore sink into mediocrity. Plan 9, however, has no redeeming quality's, and so it stands out. Few will recognise a movie such as "The Medallion," but every movie-goer knows Plan 9.
As I said before, it takes a hell of a lot to be the worst. Because of this, Plan 9 is some of the most fun you'll EVER have watching a movie. Almost every scene is so bad I broke out laughing. Few other movies achieve that kind of humor, whether intentional or not. For that I give it a very intentional 10/10.
For anyone that wants to make movies, Plan 9 is a must see. Not for it's lush style, great dialogue, fabulous production design, nor for the compelling performances given by the players. It doesn't have any of that. What it does have though, is poor production design, continuity gaps you can drive a space shuttle through, and writing that's so bad, it's amazing anyone had the nerve to show it. That is what makes it a must see.
Ed Wood, Jr. was not talented, but he was determined. He did something that many extremely talented people have not done. He got it released. He wrote it, produced it and directed it. When his star, Bela Lugosi, died during filming, he still finished it. Not just this one either, he put out several films, and not one of them is any good.
So for all of you aspiring Scorseses or Spielbergs, when the world gets you down, and you just don't know how you can get it done, when you feel like you've lost it, pop in "Plan 9". I bet you'll feel better.
This is one of the best of the worst films of all time. When viewed with the right mindset it never fails to entertain. Poor production values, terrible acting, worse directing, and dialog that has to be heard to be believed, combine to create a cinematic gem.
When speaking of bad movies, it is important to understand what is meant by "bad". There is good bad, and there is bad bad. Bad bad is a movie that combines all the elements listed above--bad acting, bad directing, etc.--to produce something that bores. Good bad combines the same elements in such a way that a highly entertaining movie is made, although not in the way the movie makers hope.
"Plan 9" is not just good bad, it is brilliant bad. It is unintentionally hilarious, and that's as funny as it gets. This is a movie that has absolutely no redeeming qualities. Everything about it is bad. When George Romero made "Night of the Living Dead" he did it on the cheap, but still produced a film that was intense, scary, and had a point. "Plan 9" is nothing but bad, albeit in a wonderful way.
As an example of bad production values, there is a scene where a police car is speeding away from headquarters. As the action begins it is broad daylight. The next scene is the car racing across the city. Now, however, it is night! Next is the car arriving at its destination, a cemetery, and again it is daylight. That is either one huge city, or somebody on the Plan 9 crew was asleep at the switch.
"Plan 9" is so full of great badness that to detail all the goofs, flubs, and cheesiness would require remaking the entire movie. The cemetery is a weed-infested lot; an airline cockpit set is a shower curtain, some plywood and a couple chairs; a cop scratches his head with the business end of a gun barrel; the outside of the space ship has a ladder that goes nowhere; the plan itself, that is, plan number 9, makes no sense at all. And on and on and on...
If you love movies, and want to consider yourself conversant in all genres of film, seeing at least one bad sci-fi movie is a must. "Plan 9" is the Hamlet of that genre. See it with a couple people who get it, and have a great time.
* Funded by a Baptist church, several members of the cast let themselves be baptized.
* The aliens obligingly fly by the ABC, CBS and NBC buildings in Los Angeles.
* Bela Lugosi appears in footage shot just before his death, but with no script in mind. Edward D. Wood Jr. wrote the script to accommodate all the footage shot in a cemetery and outside Tor Johnson's house in the new production. Lugosi was doubled by Tom Mason, Wood's wife's chiropractor, who was significantly taller than Lugosi, and played the part with a cape covering his face.
* The film's original title was "Grave Robbers from Outer Space", but, supposedly, the Baptist ministers who financed the picture objected to it, so Edward D. Wood Jr. changed it to "Plan 9".
* Named 'Worst Film of All Time' in the book "The Golden Turkey Awards".
* A video release, making note of the actor's death before production began, lists on the cassette box, "Almost Starring Bela Legosi". This same box also touted the film as being "science fiction gold".
* The scar worn by actor Tor Johnson had to be moved every day, as it caused severe skin irritation.
* When Gregory Walcott read the script, he told Edward D. Wood Jr. that it was the worst script he had ever read. He reluctantly signed on.
* The company was able to get police cars and uniforms through Tor Johnson's son, Karl Johnson, an officer in the San Fernando Police Department.
* Bela Lugosi's role in the film is listed in the credits as "The Ghoul Man". In Wood's screenplay it is called "the Dracula character".
* Bela Lugosi supplied his own costume. He wore one of the capes he used when portraying Dracula on stage.
* One of the legends about the production of this film was that Edward D. Wood Jr. used everything from automobile hubcaps to pizza pans to pie tins and even paper plates as flying saucers. The truth is that he bought a number of children's plastic model kits of flying saucers for use as props.
* This film was shot in late 1956. It took almost three years to find a distributor who would handle it.
* According to Maila Nurmi, she would put on her Vampira makeup and costume at home and then take a bus to the Quality Studios soundstage where her scenes were filmed.
* Much of the filming took place at an independent soundstage called Quality Studios. Though it hasn't been used as a soundstage for many years, the building still exists. It is located on Santa Monica Blvd. near Western Ave. The entranceway is located next to the Harvey Hotel.
* Copies of the original 35mm release prints are extremely rare. There were reportedly fewer than 20 release prints struck for the original release. As part of the distribution deal with the Distributors Corporation of America (DCA), producer J. Edward Reynolds had to pay for the release prints and advertising material.
* Contrary to popular belief, the detective that points his gun at himself several times was actually testing director Edward D. Wood Jr. to see if he would notice. Needless to say, Ed Wood didn't notice.
* The DVD release of the colorized version of the film features an audio commentary track by comedian Michael J. Nelson of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" (1988) fame. The producers of the series at one point actually screened the film for airing on the show, but found it to have too much dialog to fit the show's format.
* One of the locations used for the silent footage shot with Bela Lugosi was the home of co-star Tor Johnson.
* Eartha Kitt's name can be seen as an entertainer on a marquee.
* After an argument with Edward D. Wood Jr., veteran makeup man Harry Thomas insisted that his name not be used in the film's credits. His assistant, Tom Bartholomew, received sole credit.
* Previewed as "Grave Robbers from Outer Space" at the Carlton Theater in Los Angeles on March 15, 1957, the film went into general release as "Plan 9 from Outer Space" in July of 1959, on a double bill with the British suspense thriller Time Lock (1957), which featured a pre-James Bond Sean Connery.
* Leading actor Gregory Walcott was at the time a busy Hollywood contract player who attended the same Baptist church as executive producer J. Edward Reynolds.
* Paul Marco got the surname for his character "Kelton the cop" from the street on which his agent lived.
* Footage from the same shoot that produced Bela Lugosi's performance in this movie was meant to be used to make another film, "The Ghoul on the Moon". When Edward D. Wood Jr. went to retrieve the film he found it had been ruined, so the new movie was scrapped.