PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (1958)
Article #388 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 4-7-2002
Posting date: 8-31-2002
Space aliens try to defeat the forces of the earth by raising the dead.
One of the problems of dealing with a movie that has attained a legendary status such as this one is that it’s really hard to say something original; saying that it’s the worst movie of all time is as hackneyed a statement as saying it’s not (though I agree with the latter). It’s also tempting to quote some of the many priceless lines that pop up in the movie, but even those have been quoted and requoted ad infinitum. Nonetheless, I need to say something, so I’ll forge on ahead.
The main thing I did notice this time round (and I have seen the movie several times) is that there is a lot of editing in this movie; compare an equivalent movie from Jerry Warren, Herschell Gordon Lewis, or Larry Buchanan, and you’ll see what I mean. Not that the editing was effective, but it does show that Ed Wood was ambitious enough to try some fairly complicated things on occasion. One thing I do sense; Ed Wood loved and watched movies, and he tried to learn from them and adopt some of their techniques. He just never learned enough. Many times while watching this movie, I get a sense at what he was trying for, but he lacked the technical ability (and the money) to actually make these ideas work.
Also, I can’t help but notice that William C. Thompson’s cinematography is quite nice-looking, the down side of this being that you get a very clear view (especially on DVD) of exactly how cheap the movie looks, particularly in the graveyard sequences.
And despite the fact that the idea is done to death, I still can’t resist adding a couple of my favorite quotes from the movie, but I am trying to choose some I haven’t heard quite as often.
“It’s hard to find something when you don’t know what you’re looking for!”
“Even when Inspector Clay was alive, he couldn’t run fast enough to catch me.”