Plan 9 from Outer Space is a strange mix of terrible special effects, stock footage and sets the size of cupboards which combine to make one of the shoddiest films ever made. Some aliens from another planet conspire to take control of earth by raising the dead.
The most glaring flaw is the script. It’s possible to make a decent film on a low budget, but not when it features lines like ‘Now, don’t you worry. The saucers are up there. The graveyard is out there. But I’ll be locked up safely in there’. The dialogue reminded me of the Spinal Tap song Stonehenge. It has the air of something profound but actually makes no sense. The following is from the opening narration: ‘We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.’ That’s a lot of future, especially considering the film is set in the past, since in the same speech they also say it’s based on the testimony of those involved. Unless they travelled back in time.
In the opening minutes I wrote that the special effects weren’t that much worse than War of the Worlds. Then the
hockey pucks flying saucers go to the mothership/planet and it looked like it came out of a Kinder Surprise. While Close Encounters led to a surge in reports of UFO sightings, I can only assume Plan 9 led to a surge in sightings of sombreros on pieces of string.
The performances are remarkably earnest considering, but there are too many pointless characters (chiefly Vampira and Bela Lugosi) who have no relevance to the film but are shoe-horned in as extremely low rent celebrity cameos. The footage of Lugosi was actually taken from another incomplete film, and as such is the only bit of original footage here that’s actually shot outside.
The aliens are terrifying – they look like humans in polyester clothes who are scarily well-spoken. The leader of the ship tasked with invading earth looks and behaves like Kevin Spacey on crack. The chief re-animated corpse looks like a bouncer who’s had his teeth, hair and eyes removed and is very sad about it.
There are a couple of elements of this film that hint at some kind of message or sci-fi idea, but they are squandered with a bizarre and hurried conclusion and by how completely flabbergasting the whole thing is. I guess once you’ve exhausted plans 1 to 7 this is all you have left.
Plan 9 From Outer Space is available free on YouTube.