Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959) Movie Review: Vampire Zombies, Alien Grave Robbers, And More

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for all unnecessary cuts to objects or reaction shots.

Take a Drink: every time another person is turned into a zombie by the aliens.

Take an Extra Drink: if said zombie is also a vampire.

Take a Shot: when a zombie becomes a skeleton.

Take a Drink: for every corny space ship “special effect”

Finish Your Drink: when you reach the terrible conclusion

Community Review

How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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Movie Review

By: Reel 127 (Six Pack) –

You’ve heard whispers and mentions of it here and there. “The worst movie ever made” they say. But can you actually handle the terror of Plan 9 from Outer Space!? The story (as far as I can tell) is about aliens coming to warn Earth not to develop a weapon that will harness the power of the sun. How do they try to warn them you ask? They start to make an army of the living dead in case they need to stop the Earthlings by force.

This movie is a fucking mess, and yet, because of its failure at every turn I just can’t hate it. Plan 9 from Outer Space succeeds at being a good kind of bad movie due in large part to director Ed Wood. Like other good-bad directors he preceded, such as Tommy Wiseau and James Nguyen, he cannot look at his work subjectively to see how flawed it is (all the while trying to make the best movie he can with what he has). Films like Plan 9 from Outer Space work because the director is not purposely making a bad movie, yet the results are always hilarious.

A Toast

A positive side to this mess? I guess the one thing would be at least that it is a cool idea. Aliens coming to Earth and raising the dead is a fun concept. Had this film been made with the intent of being a comedy than there could have been some great jokes in this movie. The opening of the movie immediately sets the tone for how ridiculous Plan 9 will be. It starts with a TV personality opening the movie in the same style as his own show. He opens and closes the movie and ultimately serves absolutely no purpose.

Beer Two

The editing is hands down the most distracting thing Plan 9 has to offer. Whether it is unnecessary reaction shots, recycled footage from a few moments earlier, or even just takes that go on for too long, this movie has an abundance of them. A lot of the unintentionally funny moments come from these editing choices. I lost count of how many times I laughed out of confusion for their choice of what to cut to.

Plan 9 reaction
What does this add to my viewing experience?

Beer Three

Like all his other films, Ed Wood not only directed but also wrote this movie. I wonder if he ever took a screenwriting course… ever. Or even spoke with someone who had written a screenplay before. Film is a visual medium, so it is really annoying when filmmakers focus on “tell don’t show.” When this happens we get films full of clunky exposition and little-to-no character development. Characters in Plan 9 will talk about what they do or need to do, but they never focus on why a character chooses to do something or how they feel about a situation. If Wood had replaced all the actors with stick-figure cutouts and had one guy voicing them all, he could have saved more money and the movie would have had the same effect.

Beer Four

If you watch Plan 9 from Outer Space I’m sure you’ll wonder the exact same thing as I did. “Why the hell are vampires in a movie about grave robbers from outer space?” A phrase most of us never thought we would say in our lifetimes. Apparently one of the actresses in this movie just had this vampire character she would play in the 50s. The other vampire is the result of one of the actors straight-up dying during production. Ed Wood used footage from a previously uncompleted film with Bela Lugosi, who you might best remember as Dracula in the 1931 film of the same name. Wood decided that since Lugosi was so good at playing a vampire before he should do it again. But when Lugosi died during production this presented a problem. A problem which Ed fixed by having a different actor (who looked nothing like Lugosi) play his part. The new guy had to hold his cape up to his face the whole time to cover up the fact that he wasn’t Lugosi.

Plan 9 Lugosi
Simply terrifying!

Beer Five

It’s very clear that Ed Wood wanted to do a sci-fi film after The Day the Earth Stood Still was so successful. However, Wood did not nearly have a big enough budget to do something like that. Instead of working with the budget available to him to make a good movie, Wood bit off more than he could chew and went for something much larger. A low budget is not a reason to give a film a free pass. Paranormal Activity created a great atmosphere on an even smaller budget than Plan 9 from Outer Space. Even ten years before Plan 9 the film Detour came out with roughly the same budget as Plan 9. The difference being that Detour is now considered one of the best noir films and is in the National Film Registry. Plan 9 is now considered the worst sci-fi film.

Beer Six

You know when you’re watching a show like The Simpsons, and the characters are watching an old sci-fi film that’s so corny it’s funny? Plan 9 from Outer Space is that sci-fi film. Nothing in this film felt real. Every scene looked like a set, or someone’s backyard. The interior of the alien space ship looked like an office that had some Atomic Age-looking stuff added so it could look sci-fi. Seriously, they had a wooden desk in an alien space ship.

Plan 9 Office
Even their uniforms look half-assed.

Verdict

Thanks to Plan 9 from Outer Space we now have the term “Z-Movie.” Films so low budget they can’t even be considered a B-Movie. Plan 9 is the perfect example of bad filmmaking, yet I can’t hate it. The fact that it’s so low budget and campy is exactly what makes it so entertaining. I was never really bored with the movie because it seems like every minute there’s something weird happening that made me laugh out loud. This is another one of those films from the great vault of the public domain, so it’s free to check out anywhere and I recommend that you do give it a watch. Plan 9 from Outer Space is a milestone in cult classics not to be missed.

Six Pack

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