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USA 1956
Directed by
Ed Wood Jnr
75 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
David Michael Brown
3 stars

Plan Nine From Outer Space

Synopsis: Aliens have invaded earth and using the freshly deceased to rise from the grave to do their dirty work, a course of action known as Plan 9. The aliens intend to use an army of the undead to destroy Earth before the human race follows its natural urges and destroys both it and the Universe with it. They didn't count on the inept police and our square jawed hero saving the day against their reanimated zombie army consisting of a bald wrestler and two vampires.

Ed Wood Jnr's Plan Nine From Outer Space is often cited as the worst film every made and from the very start, as our narrator, Criswell, predicts the horrors that lay ahead with the portenteous words "We are all interested in the future my friends, because that is where we will spend the rest of our lives", we know we are in for a hilarious ride.

The film is infamous for many reasons but the astounding replacement of the late Bela Lugosi by Ed Wood's chiropractor is the limit. Lugosi died just before the film was to be shot, Wood knowing his friend to be ill, filmed a few moments of Lugosi and made the film around these scant scenes. Lugosi is seen rising from the dead wearing his patent Dracula cape, an excuse for his replacement to hide the fact he looks nothing like the horror legend by skulking his behind his cape at all times. This obviously doesn't conceal the fact that he is also a foot taller.

Tim Burton's loving biopic Ed Wood showed us a director possessed by his art. Johnny Depp gave a wide-eyed portrayal of Wood, a director determined to get his films made despite all odds. He didn't care about mistakes or wobbling sets as long as he caught it on film.

These faux pas add to the film's charming ineptness. Plane cockpits are made from shower curtains, flying saucers with visible wires fly over Hollywood, their interior design consisting of a bench and some drapes. The costumes aren't much better, for some strange reason, the lead alien wears a tunic with a shield and axe insignia.

No character is safe from the barrage of terrible acting; ex-wrestler Tor Johnson is more convincing as a zombie than a real human being. The dialogue is a scream, "One thing's sure, Inspector Clay's dead, murdered! And someone is responsible." There are so many great lines you could quote them for hours.

Ed Wood Jnr's body of work is truly extraordinary. Watching the likes of Jailbait, Bride of the Monster and the cross-dressing disaster that was Glenn or Glenda it's difficult to see why Plan Nine from Outer Space has been singled out as the golden turkey amongst them but this catalogue of disasters is so likeable, so enthusiastic you can't help but laugh watching it. As Criswell's po-faced epilogue decrees "Can you prove it didn't happen" most viewers will be sitting in disbelief at what they have just watched.




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