My former drama teacher once told me that you should watch both good and bad movies so you can understand why the bad is bad and why the good is good.
So I have moved my “Who Watch Wednesday” Doctor Who segment to Saturdays (the aptly titled “So Who Saturday”) and replaced it with “Worst Movie Wednesday”. And for this inaugural post we will be looking at 1959 black and white science fiction horror film Plan 9 from Outer Space, which many have dubbed the worst movie ever.
The film, which tells the ridiculous and incomprehensible story of aliens attempting to take over/save/destroy the world by resurrecting three dead people in a small town, was written, produced, directed and edited by low budget schlock master Ed Wood. So here’s my look at the abysmal film in six very sour slices:
#1 Oh that narrator
When you have narration in a film it is usually to help the viewer understand what’s happening. But not the narrator in this film. He is either spouting rhetorical nonsense, clumsy exposition or explaining in detail what is happening right on the screen.
His opening “Greetings my friends! We are all interested in the future, For that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives!” made me bust out laughing and it gets no better from there. Upon the death of the old man character’s wife he says “the sky which he once looked upon was now only a covering for her dead body”. What?!
#2 Bela bait and switch
As you would see from the trailer below one of the ways they tried to lure unwitting patrons to see this mess was by billing it as a film starring Bela Lugosi, the horror actor iconic for his role as Dracula.
Now Lugosi is in the film – technically. The footage you see is actually from another project he was working on with Wood before his death,mand this is why his scenes have only voice over and is shoehorned into the plot like a size five foot in a size two shoe. The rest of his “appearances” is someone hiding their face and doing an awful Dracula impression.
#3 Drama school dropouts
There is bad acting and then there is Plan 9 level bad acting. Everyone is hammy and over the top and the verbal diarrhea that is the dialogue only adds to the crapfest.
Dudley Manlove (his real name apparently) is the worst of the lot as alien leader Eros. You cannot help but laugh as he repeatedly shouts that humans are “stupid” and “idiots”.
#4 Laughable effects
This film was not made on a shoestring budget; the film was made on a “those plastic things on the tops of shoestrings” budget.
The flying saucers look like hubcaps and move wobbly and obviously on strings, the alien guns look like children’s toys and the “controls” on the plane are clearly the backs of chairs. You have to love the absurdity of it all.
#5 Scary bad
There are parts of this movie that attempts to be a gothic horror but the only thing scary is how silly all of it is. The three undead are: the resurrected unnamed old man/faux Lugosi/vampire wannabe; horror host Vampira with her impossibly small waist and stumbling bulky resurrected policeman Inspector Clay. Following Clay’s death a fellow officer remarks “Inspector Clay is dead. Someone killed him”.
The undead mostly wander around looking confused just like anyone watching this film.
#6 Insane plot
The “plot” of this movie is an unnamed alien race who believes that Earth must be stopped from becoming too advanced as it could develop a solar weapon that could destroy the universe. A bit of a heavy handed warning about nuclear escalation. But the execution does not make a lick of sense.
First the aliens tried to peacefully contact the humans but the army inexplicably ignored them and decided to take potshots at their flying saucers. Then the aliens decide to enact a plan to raise the dead and ostensibly storm the US Capitol and their testing ground is a town in nowhere USA. One general says “They attacked a town. A small town. Nevertheless a town of people. People who died”. Ri-ite.
The crazy inconsistent plot has more holes than a cheese grater and raises many questions. Why after the aliens made contact with the military and are flying around in flying saucers which the military themselves shoot at and have a special department to combat, do they STILL doubt their existence? Why with such advanced technology do the aliens use unreliable zombies? Why is the small town with a population of 10 people being used to demonstrate the alien’s power? And how does destroying one ship with two aliens stop the entire invasion?
There are many, many more questions but trying to make sense out of this film is like trying to get milk from a turtle. Just grab some popcorn and a few friends and revel in the absurdity of it all.
So have you seen “the worst movie ever”? And what other movies could contend for this (dis)honour? Feel free to comment below.
And for more abysmal movie posts you can follow me on Twitter @suprememango012. Julien is outie like a navel. L8rs