A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 21 – Plan 9 From Outer Space

Plan 9 From Outer Space – March 21, 2010

What self-respecting movie geek hasn’t at least heard of Plan 9 From Outer Space? It’s known for being bad. Amazingly bad. Laughably bad. It’s Ed Wood bad. But the immense cheese of it makes it somewhat charming. At least for movie/scifi buffs like myself. I just can’t help but think there are worse movies out there. There are a lot of contenders for Worst Movie Ever Made, but while many people claim Plan 9’s on the list, I’ve got to take it out of the running. It’s watchable. Maybe not in the manner Ed Wood intended (and I don’t mean with RiffTrax commentary, though the show they did with it was awesome), but it is watchable.

Thanks to MST3K, I’ve seen a lot of real crap. There are episodes I just can’t sit through. The movies aren’t just bad, they’re boring. The unbelievably bad ‘effects’ in Plan 9, the horrible acting, the bizarre plot, yeah. They make for a bad movie. But I just can’t stop watching and laughing at how much effort was put into making something so bad. Compare this to something like one of Ed Wood’s others: The Sinister Urge. It doesn’t have any UFOs held up with visible strings, or Tor Johnson mangling the dialogue, and the plot is a murder thriller without aliens. It’s so plodding and blah when held up to Plan 9. Now, The Violent Years is a wee bit better, but Bride of the Monster is about on par, what with Tor Johnson’s involvement and the big fake octopus. What I’m trying to say is that what makes it bad also makes it awesome.

Now, for a moment, let’s pretend you know nothing about Plan 9. Let’s say you’ve only ever heard the title and know it’s supposed to be really bad and otherwise that’s it. Let’s talk about the plot. And yes, there is a plot! Amazing, huh? Basically, aliens are coming to Earth to try and get our attention after several failed attempts. You see, people on Earth are close to discovering how to blow up sunlight, the use of which could be catastrophic for the entire universe and the aliens want to stop us. But we’re big dumb jerks and have been ignoring them, so to get us to listen they’re coming down to Earth to reanimate our dead and scare us into listening. It was never going to be a brilliant break-through science fiction film, but it didn’t have to be so incredibly badly done. But even still, it’s a lot more fun than a lot of the other crap out there.

I’ll put it this way: If I had to pick either Plan 9 or The Tribe to watch again tomorrow, I’d go with Plan 9, hands down.

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March 21, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , | Leave a comment

Plan 9 From Outer Space

March 21, 2010

Plan 9 From Outer Space

You can’t help but smile watching this famously awful film.  From Criswell’s fantastic opening monologue to the flying saucers on strings… everything about this travesty is a joy to watch.  Be amazed by Tor Johnson’s clear difficulty with his lines!  Be astounded by the fey alien commander!  Nothing you have ever experienced can prepare you for “grave robbers from outer space.”

As a long time Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan I have to admit I’m ashamed that this is the only un-riffed Ed Wood movie we have in our collection.  We do, however, have Bride of the Monster, The Violent Years and The Sinister Urge in MST format.  This version of Plan 9 that we’re watching is the Legend Films release which has a commentary track from Mike Nelson, and we also own the Rifftrax Live version.  In the spirit of our project, however, we’re watching it un-MSTed.  And, frankly, I see why for so many years Joel Hodgson swore they would not feature this movie on MST.  It simply doesn’t need it.

Everything you could want in a dreadfully horrible low-budget sci-fi movie is here:  Unnecessary narration, poor acting and dialog, and cardboard sets.  It’s hard to imagine that any of this was done seriously, but this movie was made before there was such a thing as “camp.”  Any spoof of bad fifties movies you’ve ever seen has been referencing this.  This is the original reference point.  The single most famous bad movie ever made.  (Though I can say with certainty that it is far from the worst.)

So much fun.

March 21, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , | Leave a comment