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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

"Plan 9 From Outer Space", One of the Worst Films Ever, Premiered in 1959 Today

In this very poorly made film aliens resurrect dead humans as zombies and vampires to stop humanity from creating the Solaranite, which is some kind of bomb. Or at least, that's the description of the plot according to An old man (Bela Lugosi) grieves the loss of his wife (Vampira) following her in death the very next day. However, the space soldier Eros and her mate Tanna use an electric device to resurrect them both as well as Inspector Clay (Tor Johnson) who was murdered by the couple. (Have you got that so far?) They don't want to conquer Earth. They just want to stop mankind from developing a powerful bomb that would threaten the universe. This seems reasonable enough. However, when the population of Hollywood and Washington DC (?) sees flying saucers in the sky, a colonel, a police lieutenant, a commercial pilot, his wife and a policeman try to stop the aliens. That's exactly who I'd call to save the world!

While it thoroughly deserves its reputation as a film only worth seeing so that you can enjoy its remarkably amateurish production, it seems a bit unfair to label "Plan 9 From Outer Space" as the worst film ever made. After all, I don't think most residents of the Northern, Western Hemisphere have seen that many films beyond their native domain. There's bound to be a lot of bad stuff from ALL over the world we haven't seen yet. The unintended farce is actually quite watchable. As one critic said, "It's not at all offensive". And the story (utterly ridiculous as it is) moves fairly quickly, getting you to the end faster than you can lose interest in the appalling display on the screen. Those qualities put it well ahead of a great many movies that cost a lot more to make and involve many more recognizable names than in this cast.

To be sure, almost everything about this film is of amazingly poor quality (just check out the set up for the cockpit of a plane to the right). The directing is most definitely incompetent and the acting is pretty much the same. The special effects would be more realistic in that Brady Bunch episode where they trick Bobby into believing he saw a UFO, and the dialogue produces unintentional laughter. The story is so goofy, that it uses ideas and devices that lack any kind of credibility even by sci-fi standards. I don't think if Ed Wood (the director) had tried he could have made a more inept example of filmmaking.

If you have an interest in old movies, or the history of filmmaking then you should probably see this film. However, I wouldn't pay for the privilege unless it was under the circumstances of one of those Riff Trax presentations where someone is making fun of the movie the whole time. But then again, we are still talking about Plan 9 From Outer Space more than 40 years after it was made, which is a lot more than will ever be said about most of the movies in theaters today. Take a look for yourself and see what you think about this classic example of inept film-making. But do it with friends and the intention of gauging at the screen. Maybe you'll even be inspired to make your own film. After all, if this guy can do it? Then maybe we'll be talking about you in 40 years. That or Transformers.

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