Friday, February 1, 2008

Sheesh, What Were the Other 8 Plans Like?

I thought I had scraped the bottom of the cinematic barrel with Ed Wood's Glen or Glenda. I was wrong. Plan 9 from Outer Space is one of the most atrocious pieces of filmmaking I have ever seen. I don't even have any fondness for it. Glen or Glenda has a certain charm because it's autobiographical, and you can tell that he really is trying to promote tolerance in his own inept way. Plan 9 has some gobbledygook message know, I can't even remember what it is! It gets very preachy at the end. I think it's about communism or government corruption or something, Who knows, who cares.

I didn't even find this movie funny-bad. It's just plain bad. It's too boring and appallingly made to even be amusing as a piece of trash. There's just nothing even remotely interesting or redeeming about it. So, the plot - aliens are going to take over the earth by turning dead people into their zombie slaves. Apparently, they had 8 other plans that failed. I'm not kidding. This is the best they could do. They're really lazy aliens, though. In this movie, they only revive 3 people. It seems like they should probably aim higher to achieve world domination. They look just like humans, too. There's no attempt whatsoever to make them look alien. But maybe that's the point. Hmm... No, I refuse to give Ed Wood that credit. I'm sure it was a mistake.

The acting is just about the worst I've ever seen. It's beyond words. Vampira is in it - enough said. The most offensive thing in the whole movie is the use of Bela Lugosi. He died during the filming of this bomb, and rather than respect his memory and let him have the little dignity he had left, Ed Wood used his chiropractor as his stand-in. There is some sparse footage of Lugosi which Wood uses over and over, as well as some inexplicable home movie footage that has no relation to the story. It's just Bela in a field or a graveyard or something. It seemed he couldn't let Dracula go even in his private life. That's kind of sad. The rest of the time, this chiropractor ambles around with a cape pulled up over his face. It's just awful. It's so unfortunate that this was Lugosi's last role, and it's even worse that it's not him most of the time. It's just this random guy doing a bad imitation. It's insulting. I know Lugosi was enjoying the work and that Ed Wood respected him immensely, but this is such a slap in the face to Lugosi's legacy, even if Wood didn't mean it to be, which I'm sure he didn't. His exuberance, as always, clouded his judgment.

The production value? Forget about it. It looks like a 5 year old constructed the set. The flying saucers are literally dixie cups and plates covered in aluminum foil. The headstones in the graveyard are so flimsy that they shake if someone breathes too close. The combination of stock footage with boring blank screen backdrops, as if the people standing in front of the white wall are supposed to be in the same spot as the footage, is just embarrassing. I think the worst thing about it is how seriously Wood obviously took it. It was endearing with Glen or Glenda, but this is just pathetic. The narration has this ominous gravity to it, like he is doing us a great service by speculating on our fate in the future. Thank you, Ed Wood, for saving us all.

I seriously couldn't even laugh at how bad this movie is because I was in so much pain. It's excruciatingly terrible. I don't think I've ever seen anyone butcher filmmaking quite like this. I don't even care how passionate he was or that he had good intentions. There's no excuse for Plan 9 from Outer Space. His good-natured schlockiness can only carry him so far in my book. Maybe watching Ed Wood again will make me appreciate it more. It doesn't deserve to be elevated, but I bet Tim Burton does it in his brilliant way. Ed Wood should be thanking Burton from the grave. I do respect Wood's love of movies, but there has to be a line. This crosses that line. I was miserable every second.

And if aliens are supposed to be so superior in intelligence to earthlings, and this is their 9th plan, and it is evidently their best one, what does that say about the intelligence of humans? They only resurrect three freaking bodies, for crying out loud, and this causes a national panic! Touché, aliens, you got us. We surrender. Plan 9 from Outer Space makes humans look really stupid - as stupid as the movie itself.

Rating: Zero stars.

1 comment:

Bill Treadway said...

Plan 9 was bad, but worst movie ever made? I don't think so. I've seen worse.

There was actually a director even worse than Wood- his name was Al Adamson and he made a string of godawful films in the 70s- the worst being Dracula vs Frankenstein (a misnomer since the two don't even battle until the last five minutes of the picture.)

On my old site DVD Up Close, I had my picks for the 10 Worst Films Ever Made. Maybe I'll unearth it for the blog.