On July 22nd, the 60th anniversary of “Plan 9 from Outer Space” will be celebrated by horror fans and movie buffs alike, and it’s a celebration I hope you partake in. Ed Wood’s science fiction horror film is notorious for being branded “the worst film ever made,” but through and through it’s proven to be a film that’s so bad it’s quite great. With the Ed Wood classic hitting its 60th, I recommend five ways you can celebrate the anniversary and honor the auteur we once knew we Edward Wood Jr.
5. Play a Drinking Game For Extra Enjoyment
Take one shot for every continuity error, one shot for every bad line delivery, one shot for every confusing plot point, one shot for every bit of awkward narration, one shot every time you can tell the difference between Bela Lugosi and Dr. Tom Mason, one shot for every time the movie shifts from day to night to day to night, one shot for time an actor is obviously looking off screen or at a script, two shots every time you have a good laugh at any point, and take three shots for the opening and closing monologue by Criswell. While you’re piss drunk, go watch “Bride of the Monster.”
4. Watch Tim Burton’s “Ed Wood”
“Ed Wood” is Tim Burton’s incredible masterpiece that takes a darkly comic look at the life of Ed Wood. Played masterfully by Johnny Depp, Ed Wood is portrayed as a somewhat eccentric and easy to please man with big ambitions who also want to film the ultimate science fiction movie. Along the way he meets an elderly Bela Lugosi, deals with a ton of problems trying to finish what he is convinced will be his masterpiece “Plan 9,” all while never losing his enthusiasm for the art of filmmaking and storytelling. “Ed Wood” is my favorite film from Burton, and it’s a gem I’ve seen at least two hundred times by now. It’s genius.
3. Watch Other Ed Wood Films
I’m personally a fan of “Bride of the Monster,” a movie that is insanely awful and kind of fun as well. Like “Plan 9” it’s inept, badly acted, incredibly silly, and has the worst rubber monster of any genre film ever produced. Of course there’s also “Glen or Glenda,” and or the downright terrible “Night of the Ghouls.” It’s hard to go wrong with Ed Wood.
2. Make Your Own Movie
With the accessibility of programs and editing equipment, filmmakers are coming out of the woodwork today more than ever before. We’ve been introduced to some amazing works of creative genius thanks to the ability to spend a few thousand dollars and go out there to film one’s own vision. Ed Wood had to confront a plethora of obstacles like with acquiring expensive equipment, he had to find financial backers, and get his work seen by whomever he could. In the end it didn’t amount to a work of cinematic genius, but it was his vision, and now filmmakers have such an easier time committing to their own visions.
1. Watch “Plan 9 From Outer Space”
It was often described as the worst movie ever made, and I fully disagree with that statement. “Plan 9” is a fantastic film that’s so bad it’s actually quite good. It has something of a unique premise, and makes early use of zombies before Romero came along in 1968 to define them for a new generation. There’s also Vampira, Bela Lugosi, and Tor Johnson to boot. “Plan 9” is a hysterical botched science fiction horror film with some of the most amateur mistakes of all time. Ed Wood is a man who had to settle for everything and appreciate what he intended to put on film. What we get is endlessly funny moments, from bad matte backgrounds, obvious stock footage, bad acting, horrible line delivery, an awkward opening and closing monologue from Criswell, et al. You just have to love what’s available to movie fans of all walks of life.