Plan 9 from Outer Space – USA, 1958 – reviews

Plan 9 from Outer Space is a 1958 American science fiction horror film [released 1959] written and directed by Edward D. Wood, Jr. It was originally titled Grave Robbers from Outer Space.

The film features Gregory Walcott, Mona McKinnon, Tor Johnson (The Beast of Yucca Flats; The UnearthlyThe Black Sleep) and Maila “Vampira” Nurmi. It bills Bela Lugosi posthumously as a star, although silent footage of the actor had been shot by Wood for other, unfinished projects just before Lugosi’s death in 1956.

Extraterrestrial beings are seeking to stop humans from creating a doomsday weapon that would destroy the universe. In the course of doing so, the aliens implement “Plan 9”, a scheme to resurrect Earth’s dead as what modern audiences would consider zombies (called “ghouls” in the film itself) to get the planet’s attention, causing chaos.

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In San Fernando, California, two gravediggers are filling the grave of the young wife of an unnamed old man. Hearing a strange noise, they decide to leave the cemetery but are attacked and killed by the resurrected corpse of the young woman. Meanwhile, in the skies nearby, a pilot named Jeff Trent and his co-pilot Danny encounter a flying saucer.

Absorbed in his grief over his wife’s death, the old man walks into the path of an oncoming automobile. At his funeral, mourners discover the bodies of the gravediggers. Inspector Daniel Clay and other police officers come to the cemetery to investigate. While searching the graveyard, Clay encounters the female zombie, now joined by the reanimated corpse of the old man, and is killed.

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Jeff Trent is watching the cemetery with his wife, Paula, and tells her about his flying saucer encounter, stating that the Army has sworn him to secrecy. He suspects the events at the cemetery are related to his encounter with the UFO. A powerful wind knocks everyone to the ground, and a spaceship lands nearby.

In the weeks that follow, newspaper headlines report other flying saucer sightings. The military, under the command of Col. Thomas Edwards, Chief of Saucer Operations, attacks the alien spaceships, which flee Earth. Edwards reveals that the government has been covering up the flying saucers, and wonders if the aliens are connected to other disasters on Earth…

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Reviews:

” …although it’s certainly bad, it’s not quite that bad—or maybe it is, and we’re just willing to forgive because it’s also quite charming. It’s just a nothing of a movie, practically plotless and featuring some of Wood’s most nonsensical dialog.” Jim Vorel, Paste magazine

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 … not the worst movie ever made, just one of the most technically and aesthetically clumsy. But that clumsiness has earned it a large, loyal legion of fans that enjoy its incompetence, making it an unintentional comedy classic.” HomeTheaterForum.com

” …this grade Z 1956 home movie masquerading as a theatrical film is an unalloyed delight, raising rank amateurism to the level of high comic art.” Castle of Frankenstein

Offline reading:

Bela Lugosi: Dreams and Nightmares by Gary Don Rhodes

Ed Wood: Mad Genius by Rob Craig

Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood by Rudolph Grey

Buy The Ed Wood Box DVD set from Amazon.com

Plan Nine From Outer Space (1959) 8MM Movie box

 

 

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Art by Alex Wald for a 1994 Estrus Records poster via Crypt of Wrestling

 

 

 

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