Having a reputation is one thing. Having a reputation that stands for over 50 years is something
else altogether. Despite the fact that Ed Wood’s infamous Plan 9 From Outer Space is widely
regarded as the greatest worst movie ever made, I’d never seen it. I figured it would be bad, but
c'mon, I’ve seen some really bad movies here. How bad could it be?
Sweet Christmas, this film is truly something to behold.
Less than two minutes in, and I knew I was in for a near-religious experience. I was prepared for
the hammy acting and the cheap effects, but I wasn’t prepared for the dialogue. Here’s the opening
monologue to Plan 9 From Outer Space, which made me shoot Thai curry out my nose. No
amount of quips and snark can do this monologue justice:
Grave robbers from outer space (ka-pew)! Not to get ahead of myself, but that in a nutshell is the
Plan 9 in Plan 9. I was going to do a whole thing about Plans 1 through 8, but the RiffTrax guys
beat me to it.
Eh, what the hell. Check out the side bar for our version of Plans 1 through 8 From Outer Space.
Back to the movie. The first portion of the film consists largely of footage director Ed Wood shot of
Bela Lugosi before Lugosi passed away. As Lugosi does the kind of things he did on a daily basis
– sashay around in his Dracula cape, smelling roses and parading through cemeteries – the
narrator (Criswell) strings together something that resembles a plot. Lugosi plays an Old Man who
has just buried his wife (Vampira) and, in the midst of mourning... gets hit by a bus off-camera. His
PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE
* * * * * (1958, 78 minutes, Unrated)
100TH REVIEW! There's a very good reason why this is considered The
Worst Movie Ever.
Plan 1: Send in a lone
as a human, with a cool-ass
robot bodyguard to convince
the Earthlings to stop
behaving like hairy douche
bags. They’ll surely listen.
Plan 2: Send in a fleet to
blow up national icons and
tourist destinations. Hope
that the Earthlings do not
have Will Smith or any
Plan 3: Take control of
Earth’s giant monsters,
have them destroy all of the
national icons and tourist
destination. Explain the plan
in great detail to a handful of
including a meddlesome
Japanese boy in short
Plan 4: Send in an adorable
botanist with a fondness for
peanut butter candies to
befriend a lonely young boy.
Caution: Law enforcement
officers may be armed with
Plan 5: Plant pods to grow
duplicates of the Earthlings,
them one by one. Time-
consuming. Also, the pods
require plenty of indirect
sunlight, frequent watering.
Plan 6: Send in a battalion
of foot soldiers to stealthily
invade the Earthling terrain
known as “the American
heartland.” Hope the
Earthlings do not have a
ready supply of water or
Plan 7: Infiltrate Earthling
society disguised as
humans and surround them
with subliminal messages.
Hope the Earthlings do not
have 3-D glasses or
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper.
Plan 8: Dull the Earthling’s
minds with an endless
barrage of reality TV
(currently in progress).
PLANS 1 THRU 8 FROM
|Bela Lugosi, casual wear.
funeral is immediately followed by the most awesome
exposition ever, as two mourners explain why Lugosi was
buried in a tomb while his wife was buried in the ground.
Around this time, an airline pilot, who just happens to live
next door to the cemetery, sees a flying saucer during one
of his flights. The saucer lands in the cemetery and causes
our dearly departed (with Lugosi’s character now played by
Wood’s chiropractor holding the cape around his face) to
rise from the dead.
Turns out the aliens are a bureaucratic bunch in shiny
uniforms. Frustrated with their inability to communicate
with our governments, they’ve decided to unleash PLAN 9:
The Resurrection of the Dead! The big idea is to have an
army of the undead pave the way for the alien’s “other
operations.” The mind reels as to what those other
operations might include...
Much of the film plays out like a storytelling drunk: confused,
vaguely inappropriate and often contradictory. Numerous shots
flip from day to night and back within the same scene. The police
detective uses his revolver to point at things, scratch his head, just
about anything other than shooting. And in one of my favorite
scenes, two high-ranking military officers debate the existence of
flying sauces after they drove away an entire fleet of UFOs with
It all builds to our group of plucky heroes meeting a pair of aliens
in a talky confrontation that is half science lesson, half hissy fit.
That’s the kind of dialogue George Lucas only wishes he could come up with.
But that’s the beauty of a film like Plan 9 From Outer Space: Many filmmakers have tried to make
an intentionally bad movie, and they almost always fail because you can’t fake these kind of
movies. The best bad films – films such as Plan 9 From Outer Space, Death Bed: The Bed That
Eats and, dare I say it, future Crap of the Titans entry Battlefield Earth -- are projects the
filmmakers care passionately about, and everyone involved is genuinely giving their best effort.
And I’d take one of those movies over another soulless, cookie-cutter rom-com or disaster porn
flick any day of the week.