Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) – An Unspeakable Horror

There are thousands of reasons why you should watch “Plan 9 from Outer Space” directed by Edward D. Wood Jr. or well-known as Ed Wood. In fact, I’m very difficult on how to write about this film. It’s difficult not because of how perfect or beautiful this film was but how we see all aspects. This is before Tommy Wiseau, before Neil Breen, and before Uwe Boll. Critics often say this as the worst movie all time and Ed Wood’s name is also included in one of the worst directors ever. Even so, this is very, very entertaining, not only from the quality but pleasant how to see the holes in this film scattered along.

Sadly, this is also the final film of Bela Lugosi, a well-known actor known by his character as Dracula. The movie combines various kinds of elements whether it’s science fiction, horror, tragedy, thrillers, and etc. The plot tells about Bela Lugosi as an old man, feeling sad because he just lost his wife. Amidst his pain, a car killed him by an accident; maybe killed because of an off-screen.

At the funeral, a strange thing emerged, the discovery of the bodies of two gravediggers. Plot twist, the old man and the wife who had been killed turned out to be alive again. They killed Tor Johnson as Inspector Clay, where Clay finally rose again from his death. What? Meanwhile, a pilot, Gregory Walcott as Jeff Trent, saw the appearance of a UFO while flying a plane; in cardboard and a mic boom on his head. I just don’t know. The UFO also appeared in various other places but also have a relationship between them.

“Plan 9 from Outer Space” is an entertaining movie, an entertaining movie you want to watch it again and again. But, because you watch it constantly, you find many new things. Whether it’s the acting, expressions, gimmicks, super cheap visual effects, stock footage, real footage, lip-synch, sound effects, production design, plot, character, everything. This movie goes on and on you forget you are still watching the same movie. Even more ridiculous, for some reason, Ed Wood used the remaining footage from Bela Lugosi who died three years before the film was released. Apparently, Ed Wood doesn’t want to throw anything away so he uses all the footage from different films into this film.

In the 50s, we got a lot of masterpieces. You can say it such as “12 Angry Men”, “Rear Window”, “North by Northwest”, “Singin’ in the Rain”, “The Bridge on the River Kwai”, and of course, this movie. But, don’t you know that this was before “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Star Wars“? So, is it unconscious that Ed Wood has long been working on a more modern science fiction genre? Unconsciously, Ed Wood is very genius. Interesting premise, extraterrestrials, existentialism, and reincarnation. Isn’t that a genius? The typical premise of B-movie like this is not cheap but with all the budget too, maybe this film would really be better. So, it’s impossible if Hollywood wants to remake this film.

One thing I also like about this film is the transition between day and night. It’s just amazingly hilarious. When zombies move stiffly at night, whether from another character’s point of view, it suddenly turns into daylight. And this often happens in almost every scene, giving another element that this is another dream-like and surrealism movie. When you watch this film as well, you don’t know it’s already morning. Bela Lugosi is one of the most important figures in the American film industry but I just want to know how close Ed Wood and this actor were. I’m just really curious.

Strangely enough, the movie has so many odd things about Lugosi’s character. Even though I know the story behind the production of this film but the actor changes openly and noticeably is just another worthy part. It’s easier than Lugosi’s but it doesn’t have any resemblance at all. Therefore, the actor covers the character’s head and face using a robe. Being the last nail in the coffin of the film’s reputation, qualitatively, this film is so special and even so difficult to sell. Because, at the end of the day, Ed Wood really didn’t really care. Just do it in one take without any checks and continue to the next scene.

“Plan 9 from Outer Space” is a subversive movie, an absurd work of art as if deliberately directed and indeed has the intention to make it bad. There are many directors who bear this movie. They are Sam Raimi, Joe Dante, and Tim Burton. It’s hard to imagine if this film spawned its own pop culture and also has its own fanbase. It’s spawned its own reference and has lots of positive testimonials and criticisms. If you want really know about behind the scene, you can watch “Flying Saucers Over Hollywood: The ‘Plan 9’ Companion” besides Tim Burton’s “Ed Wood”.

Reading the biography of the director’s life from his relationship with Lugosi until he died was just very sad and depressing. It’s very difficult to blame Ed Wood and say him as the worst director of all time. Because, he has a passion, a charisma, a determination, but he doesn’t have the expertise, budget, and status. Salute to Edward D. Wood Jr. He can make the world proud but he can’t enjoy his status as a cult-classic director. “Plan 9 from Outer Space” is everything we have by Ed Wood.

1 out of 5 stars.