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.
This is the story of Paula Parker, a petulant prepubescent princess whose depravities produced a plethora of death and deception. For shame, parents of Paula Parker, you dare not look after your teen daughter in the age of the fifties where crime was rampant. For the first time on Blu-Ray, it’s also a worthwhile title for collectors thanks to AGFA, “The Violent Years” is one of the many infamous baby boomer products of fear and hysteria that warned of a world filled with darkness, crime, debauchery, and premarital sex. Make no mistake, your teen would smoke the marijuana, and tongue kiss way before they matured in to upstanding citizens.
The winner of the Best Picture Award at this year’s New England Underground Film Festival, this amusing 25-minute from filmmaker Jesse Berger slices and dices scenes and dialogue from four anti-classics from the notorious Edward D. Wood Jr. – “Glen or Glenda?”, “Bride of the Monster,” “Plan 9 from Outer Space” and “Night of the Ghouls” – into a wonderfully warped blend of lunacy that perfectly captures the inane spirit of Wood’s work in a fraction of their running time.
This is the story of a man, his giant, and an Octopus. And the man’s experiments involving kidnapping people and turning them in to—something. I think giants. Let’s go with giants. Said doctor also has a fondness for his giant octopus which, whenever he decides to leave his lab, comes across the octopus that seems to gleam at him from behind his glass. The doctor often smiles and waxes poetic about his friend that he hopes will never murder him in a shallow pool of cold swamp water. The thing I like about Ed Wood’s movies is that his villains just aren’t very smart.
“My friend, you have seen this incident, based on sworn testimony. Can you prove that it didn’t happen?” And then with startling dramatic gleam, our babbling narrator Criswell declares, “Perhaps, on your way home, someone will pass you in the dark, and you will never know it… for they will be from outer space!” Only this sort of sheer nonsense could come from the one and only “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” one of the absolute best films ever made. It’s a film that is so bad you can barely look away throughout its run time. Films of this ilk like “Reefer Madness” and “Robot Monster” must be appreciated in the same vein.
“My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of grave robbers from outer space?”
In some plane, I can see why Ed Wood would turn to Criswell for advice on the future. The man is so insane and incoherent and yet so stern in his predictions that he’d naturally be deemed something of a deity or messiah to someone as nutty and eccentric as Edward D. Wood Jr. In fact if I could meet someone alive or dead, I think I’d love to sit down with Criswell and pick his brain while munching on some acid, because I think my head is doomed to explode from the utter inanity and absurd circular logic this man will inevitably spew for hours on end if given the opportunity.
For many, the most infamous and most attractive aspect of “Plan Nine” is Criswell, an element of a science fiction movie so unnecessary it’s astounding to sit and watch. Criswell serves no purpose to the overall narrative of “Plan Nine” beyond narration, and even then there’s really no need to explain everything before our eyes.