Movie Review: Plan 9 from Outer Space (English) 160

To someone who hasn’t heard about this movie, one would wonder, why review a movie that was made in 1959. But, its claim to fame is that is the overwhelming view that it is the worst movie ever made! The negative publicity has made many, inlcluding me, watch this movie. It’s not surprising that the film enjoys a cult status today!

Originally titled as Grave Robbers from Outer Space, the idea of aliens robbing graves is absurd and ludicrous. But, guess what? They have a benign intention to save the Universe. And how do they do it? By keeping earthlings busy with zombies, they can prevent humans from creating a mega-weapon that could destroy the universe.

Noticeable lapses are cheap production design characterized by cardboard sets and overuse of curtains, irrespective of whether the scene was of a house, an alien ship or a cockpit. Of them all, the cockpit was the worst with flimsy looking controls, radio tied to the suits of one of the pilots and a boom mike visible occasionally.

The movie totally lacks special effects although Hollywood was already into shooting films with special effects. Scenes like the spaceship flying, etc., are extremely tacky. Probably it had to with its abysmally low budget. Budgets that are way below even B-movies, this film is a classic example of what are called Z-grade movies.

Making matters worse for the film are its incoherent and pointless script which wavers between being comical to silly to sometimes preachy. Repetitive footage of cars or flying saucers does get irritating after a point. Examples of poorly written dialog include “my friends, the future events will affect you in the future

The biggest goof was to recycle stock footage of Bela Lugosi from an abandoned project ‘Tomb of the Vampire’ which was shelved after the actor’s death in 1956. This way, director Ed Wood could use Lugosi’s name in the credits to promote the movie.

A 1994 film tilted ‘Ed Wood’ was based on the life of the the director of this film. The film was directed by Tim Burton with Johnny Depp playing Ed Wood and it portrays the outlandish antics resorted to by the film crew to make Plan-9. In a way, it was this Academy Award winning film that made me curious to know more about Plan-9.

In fact, the real life director who was infamous for making low budget films was posthumously awarded the Golden Turkey Award for being the worst director ever. Another of his films ‘Glen or Glenda’ too ranks among the worst films ever made. Nevertheless, it is believed that Wood, a big fan of Orson Welles, was proud of the fact that he donned multiple hats as writer, actor, director, editor simultaneously.

Plan-9’s cult status is justified as it represents the nadir of Hollywood. But, unless someone told you, one may have never heard of it; the movie channels ignore it too. If you are a film afficonaido, do watch it; at least you can say that you have seen one of the worst movies ever made in Hollywood’s rich cinematic history.

Rating 1/10: Probably the worst Hollywood film ever made!