Before you go running off to your computer or to the newspaper, let me tell you that you won’t find this week’s movie in theaters. Maybe about 45 years ago you would have, but you’re better off finding it on DVD in the budget section, that’s where I found copy I own. When Plan Nine From Outer Space (directed by Ed Wood) first came out it was the worst movie ever made. Today it’s a cult classic.
Plan Nine is about alien beings set out to conquer Earth, but who have failed eight times. Now they are attempting their ninth plan, which involves the re-animation of human corpses to create an army of the walking dead!
That is if you call three zombies an army.
Bela Lugosi plays one of the zombies, even though he died after his first scene was shot. Ed Wood’s girlfriend’s chiropractor then played the part by hiding his face with a cape.
One of the reasons people have said this movie is so bad is because of Ed Wood’s “Dramatic License” – essentially what is good enough to pass is good enough to use. An example of this is the flying saucers. The saucers were made from a kit that he bought in a toy store. They were given the appearance of levitation from three pieces of fishing line attached to a stick. Using his “dramatic license,” he was able to get his script written and his movie made cheaply and quickly.
The sets were made with very little money and effort and appear as though an elementary class made them. The cheapest looking set would have to be the cockpit of a commercial airplane. The whole set was a piece of cardboard bent to form the walls and ceiling. Behind this was a curtain to form the back wall and the door. For controls, cardboard steering wheels were made and CB radio props were put in. It’s clear Ed Wood just wanted to get the movie done. He believed in quantity of scenes being shot not quality of what was being shot.
The directing of Plan Nine was as bad as the sets. He told the actors what to do and that was it. He was more focused on getting the scene on film than about the quality of the actors’ performances. This is very noticeable in a scene at a graveyard when two actors are talking about their loved one who has passed away.
The actors could have been mistaken them for robots. They were so dull and plain sounding it made you want to shake your head in shame. He firmly believed that the movies weren’t about the little things, but the big picture, so all the bad acting and continuity errors aren’t that important. Ed Wood’s style of directing might not be the best, but he still loved making movies.
Now, you must be thinking ‘why is he reviewing this movie if it’s so bad?’ It’s because this movie isn’t the worst movie ever made. To really appreciate this movie you must look at the director and see how much he loves this movie and how much “effort” he put into it (he had his whole crew baptized so a church would provide funding). Not every filmmaker is perfect; they all can’t make award-winning movies. Ed Wood tried his hardest and Plan Nine From Outer Space is his prized possession. That is the reason why it became a cult classic. Having it considered the worst movie ever made did help a little bit, but believe me there are worse movies out there. Just for the record, Robot Monster is the worst movie ever made. Plan Nine became a cult classic because of the passion that Ed Wood had. If you love the movies you make, then other people will also.