(Review originally written at 25 December 2004)

Edward D. Wood Jr. or better known as just Ed Wood really was the worst screenwriter of all time. Just like all of his movie, this one doesn't make sense and is filled with plot holes and visual mistakes, which makes this movie a laughable but fun one...

So Ed Wood was the worst writer and perhaps director of movie history but does that mean that his movie are also the worst of all time? I think not, even though his movies are far from masterpieces he still knows to put some passion and love for cinema into it. Unfortunately it's a kind of strange love and passion that perhaps only Ed Wood himself understood. Looking at his movies you realize that the movies were made by a person who was living in his own world with his own ideals and standards, in his mind he thought what he did was great but the general public did not agree with that and all of his movies became an huge failure. Does that make him a bad filmmaker? More a misunderstood one, misunderstood by the whole world. I think this is also one of the reasons for Wood's cult status which he has gotten after his unfortunate early death, people began to see and understand the passion he made his movies with, when they rediscovered his movies and watched them in a new light. But I shall not try to romanticize it, facts are that Wood's movies are unique but still awful ones and it are these two things combined that makes his movies laughable but yet fun to watch. In a strange way I admire Ed Wood's life and career...

"Plan 9 From Outer Space" is no different from Wood's other movies, except for one thing; this one his most known one. But why is it his best known one? Probably because it is his biggest movie and being officially known by the world as worst director of all time, this movie automatically became regarded as the worst of all time. I don't think worst is the best way to describe this movie, strange would be perhaps better.

The story is weird and doesn't make a lot of sense. It mixes science fiction with strange zombie kind of horror. An horrible combination that simply doesn't work.

Main problem I had with this movie was that I didn't understood who the main character was. The movie follows way too many characters without ever making clear who the 'hero' was. I think that originally Bela Lugosi was set to portray the biggest role in the movie but after his death the story had to be rewritten, with as a result an even bigger mess. Lugosi still is in this movie, Wood uses some self made archive footage of his good friend while he is running around in his Dracula cape. The result is a strange mix of archive Lugosi footage and sequences with a body double that looks nothing like Lugosi at all. The movie also uses other archive footage of the American army firing their cannons, it really doesn't blend in with the movie and looks laughable.

The acting as always is horrible. I really laughed at Tor Johnson with his horrible accent who had been given way too many lines. Other strange roles are portrayed by Vampira, Criswell, John "Bunny" Breckinridge (who couldn't seem to keep his eyes of Dudley Manlove's costume) and other Ed Wood regulars Paul Marco, Duke Moore, Lyle Talbot and Conrad Brooks.

Still I think that the movie has some nice moments. At times it knows to build up some good tension and I think that the underlying message itself also isn't that bad or unimportant. It's just that it's brought in the wrong way just like in Wood's other movie "Glen or Glenda" was the case.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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