In San Fernando California it is discovered that resurrected corpses have begun reawakening at night to attack the town's residents. As the towns people fight to send the increasing numbers of zombies back to their graves, they will become trapped in an all consuming battle between the dead, the living and the aliens. Will this be the end of Earth as we know it?
- Plan 9 from Outer Space review by Count Otto Black
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You rated this film: 3
Spoiler: this is NOT the worst film ever made! Yes, it's absolutely dreadful in every technical sense, yet it does, in its own way, provide entertainment. And a film which entertains is doing what films are supposed to do. The key to its success is that, unlike those horrible Troma spoofs where they know they can't make a good film so they cynically make a bad one and hope you'll laugh at it ironically, everyone here is genuinely doing their best, and it's woefully inadequate. The nearest modern equivalent is probably the infamous "Troll 2", which in some respects is actually worse, since at least Ed Wood spoke the same language as his cast.
Though apparently he spoke it in a unique way. One of the glories of "Plan 9" is that, whenever the action grinds to a halt for somebody to give a long speech that either provides plot exposition or just pads the running time, which is inevitably going to happen a lot in a sci-fi movie this cheap, Ed Wood's dialogue is so clumsy it often borders on Surreal, especially the word-salad spouted by shamelessly fake TV psychic The Amazing Criswell at the beginning in a doomed attempt to persuade you that the film you're about to see portrays events that actually happened.
Other highlights include those gleeful little flying saucers bobbing on clearly visible strings as the US Army unleashes its ultimate weapon: grainy World War II stock footage. Or the way that star Gregory Walcott, who had a long and successful career in TV and film (he was later to appear in 4 Clint Eastwood movies), sometimes looks as though he can't quite believe this isn't all a bad dream, especially while attempting to convince us he's really flying a plane in a hilariously minimalist cockpit set. Or just about anything else in the movie. Though a special mention must go to the most infamous aspect of the film: Ed Wood's attempt to integrate a few minutes of unrelated footage featuring the late Bela Lugosi into the rest of the movie by using a "double" (his wife's chiropractor) who looked absolutely nothing like him.
It's a disastrous, embarrassing mess, but it really is a lot of fun, and weirdly lovable in what it sets out to achieve, and how badly it fails on every level. Since it's quite short, it would make an excellent double bill with Tim Burton's "Ed Wood".