Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) Review

Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.

Genre(s): Horror, Science-Fiction

Runtime: 79 minutes

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

IMDb Page

Plan 9 from Outer Space is rightfully one of the most famous of the so-bad-it’s-good classics. I won’t spoil any of the specifics (it’s best to discover the film’s mistakes and oddities for one’s self), but the plot is about a flying saucer of extraterrestrials sent to Earth to resurrect the dead in a small California town for reasons I won’t give away here. The acting is laugh-out-loud funny and the dialogue and narration are often downright bizarre. The special effects are notably inept.

Despite all the problems with the picture, it actually has some decent imagination behind it…just no talent. Its ideas are surprisingly ambitious given the low quality of the filmmaking. The pacing’s generally solid, with a slow spot or two, and it’s quite short. The musical score’s competent, probably because it largely consists of stock music. Plan 9 from Outer Space is actually pretty effective at generating the atmosphere of a small town under siege by ghouls. The scenes of the movie’s three heroes – airline pilot Jeff Trent (Gregory Walcott), police officer Lieutenant Harper (Duke Moore), and military officer Colonel Edwards (Tom Keene) – joining forces to investigate the flying saucer are just about as exciting as watching the Avengers assemble.

One of the cast members, Bela Lugosi, actually died before the proper filming of the movie began. Nonetheless, footage of him shot prior to the script being finished is awkwardly incorporated into the flick. It’s quite a riot. There are several other interesting behind-the-scenes stories about this film that can be found on its IMDb Trivia page if you’re curious.

Although it’s a horror movie, Plan 9 from Outer Space is probably only scary if you’re three. Is it one of the worst films of all time? Certainly not! It’s far too entertaining for that. If you’re looking for some 1950s sci-fi kitsch that’s downright fun, this picture comes highly recommended.

My rating is 8 outta 10.

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