Calling Plan 9 From Outer Space the worst film ever made is doing it an injustice for there are far worse movies that have been made that make this one look like a masterpiece. That being said, Edward D. Wood, Jr.’s Plan 9 From Outer Space is not all that great but neither is it all that bad. It is and remains a lot of fun to watch due to the complete mess that it is. One does have to give Wood credit though, the man made it on the very slimmest of budgets by directing, writing, producing and editing it and he got it released to the public at large. While it could have been better, it captured a slice of Wood’s imagination and thereby let the audience into his world, taking them on a ride through what would ultimately be quite entertaining.
All of this revolves around some aliens who have come to Earth to stop them from destroying the universe. As they have been unsuccessful in communicating with the governments that rule the planet, now being attacked whenever they show their faces so to speak, they have decided that to stop them they will reanimate the dead to do their bidding. It is ridiculous of course and leads to some crazy scenes involving Tor Johnson and Maila Nurmi, the former who looks perfect as an undead monster while the latter acts and walks more like a robot wearing enough make-up for five women. Also lurking around the edges is Bela Lugosi who does little of anything which was probably for the best at this stage in his career and considering his footage was simply recycled by Wood from an earlier project, it is no wonder that it seems a little strange in nature. As the efforts by the aliens fail to pay off, they are soon confronted by law enforcement and sent packing back to space, having accomplished nothing whatsoever.
One could almost call this movie notorious as it has been ridiculed so often and for so long and it definitely falls into that category of being a good film despite its awfulness. Wood never really manages to meld the two genres so prominently on display, that being science-fiction and horror. It is almost like two movies smashed together, puzzle pieces that do not quite fit and while it might have worked with a director who was a little more skilled, that obviously did not happen. Where else will a person see an alien as played by Dudley Manlove wax poetic about the horrors of mankind who continue to try and build a bigger and better bomb while the undead roam around a graveyard trying to catch Mona McKinnon. There is some talent present in Gregory Walcott, Duke Moore and Tom Keene, the men able to act when needed but there are moments when they overdo it and it does not help in the slightest that some of the dialogue is not up to scratch. Completely out of place is the narration by Jeron Criswell King otherwise known as The Amazing Criswell. The film could have done without him speaking over it, not that it would have improved it much.
Everything else was fairly poor as well from music to editing to special effects and so forth and yet, even then, there is enjoyment to be had throughout, the movie never failing to put a smile on the face of its audience even though that was probably never Wood’s intention. If there is one thing that might be noted, it is that Wood was probably underrated for with the means to make a good film, meaning money, he might have just done so. As it is, Plan 9 From Outer Space might not be a motion picture blockbuster but it is worth a watch at least once in a person’s lifetime.
2 out of 5