Reynolds Pictures

The air is getting chilly, leaves are falling from the trees and pumpkins — and Christmas trees — are popping up in every Walmart. This only means one thing —Halloween season is upon us. This magical time of year means it’s time to dust off forgotten remnants of the past and watch the most bizarre horror cult classics.

Such a phrase doesn’t even begin to describe today’s film that we’ll be looking into — the 1959 sci-fi horror oddity “Plan 9 From Outer Space” by writer and director Ed Wood. The story (if you want to call it that) is about a race of aliens who come down to Earth with a mission to save humanity from itself. In order to do this, the aliens resurrect an army of the living dead (and by army, I mean exactly three people) to march upon the world to prove their existence. It is up to a brave pilot to interact with these intergalactic intruders.

Winning the Golden Turkey Awards’ “Worst Film of All Time” in 1980, along with Ed Wood chosen as the “Worst Director,” the film gained a legacy as one of the poorest examples of filmmaking out there — and for good reason.

The plot is weakly strung together and the special effects are laughable, including the use of pie tins and paper plates as UFOs. The set design is unbelievably cheap, the over-reliance on stock footage never works, the music is abrasive, the dialogue is overly repetitive and the acting ranges from uncomfortably stiff to ridiculously childish. There’s even a scene where an actor forgets their line midway through and awkwardly stops. But that’s why we love it.

“Plan 9 From Outer Space” is certainly is not boring. Every scene includes either a terrible special effect, nonsensical piece of storytelling or cringe worthy performance that has the same effect as seeing a car crash on a highway — a terrible disaster that’s hard to look away from.

As with any production he was involved in, what Wood lacks in competence he makes up for in pure passion for the craft. Here he is at his peak. Through all the wobbly sets and bad acting, there’s a love put into telling this story that big-budget directors today don’t put in. A knowledge of the extensive production behind the film also helps the viewer gain some appreciation. The 1992 documentary “The Plan 9 Companion”and the 1994 Tim Burton masterpiece “Ed Wood” provide these insights.

There’s so much more that can be said about “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” but to answer the question we posed in the title — no, this is far from the worst movie ever made. Despite its horrendous production, there’s no denying that the entertainment value is high. Whether you’re looking for something to laugh at with friends or are trying to find examples on how not to make a movie, you can’t go wrong with “Plan 9 From Outer Space.”

Review overview



5.2Ed Wood's "Plan 9 From Outer Space" is the quintessential so-bad-it's-good cinema.