Saturday, January 24, 2009


If you haven't seen this cult classic, you've surely heard of it: Plan 9 From Outer Space is often branded the Worst Movie Ever Made. It’s a hilarious spectacle of cheap sets, visual incongruities, bad writing, acting and editing, and... oh, bad directing, of course!

Everything about it is bad.

But it’s so darn fun! It had been years since I’d seen this, and we recently watched with K, who really has been fulfilling his dad’s dream of Saturday nights being classic monster movie nights. I guess we’re really lucky K loves all this sci-fi and ‘50s horror (such as it was); it’s just what husband D had planned for him.

Basically, the story is about some (very human) aliens who come to earth to raise the dead in order to, um, tell living Earthlings that they (the aliens) exist. Or something. So you’ve got hubcaps as flying saucers, cardboard crypts and gravestones, plenty of fog, Vampira (and her disturbingly small waist), Bella Lugosi playing Bella Lagosi, zombies, dumb cops, hysterical women, and a few macho men. And more!

I was surprised to find the film was, at its core, clearly an anti-bomb, anti-war statement. I didn’t remember that from seeing it 20 years ago. The aliens are afraid, now that they’ve seen we have the A-bomb and the H-bomb, that we will discover the next mega-powerful technology (gee, the name escapes me) which will obliterate the sun; they already have the technology, but don’t trust us “small brained Earthlings” with the knowledge, and are certain we’ll destroy more than ourselves. They’re here, really to save the galaxy from our stupidity.

But that comes at the end, and before that, it’s all belly laughs and root beer through the nose. As cheesy as it is, though, I’ll say that for younger kids who’ve not ever seen a zombie or dark, creepy graveyard scenes, or heard women screaming as if they’ve ... seen a zombie, it could be a bit scary. (For the younger ones.) Ok? I dunno if that means 8-year olds in your house, or 10-year olds. You know ‘em best.

If your kids are younger, just get this for yourselves one night, and make it a double feature: watch the 1994 Tim Burton film, Ed Wood, starring a fantastic Johnny Depp as Wood, who not only enthusiastically made awful films, but wore women’s underthings as he did it. (Martin Landau is stellar as Lugosi.) Then go on to Plan 9, you’ll appreciate it more.

(Note: This double feature calls for double martinis.)

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