In the history of film there are some reasonably well-regarded truths. The Godfather is one of the best films ever made, Michael Bay likes sexualising women and Ed Wood is one of the most notoriously bad directors of all time. There’s even an excellent biopic called Ed Wood, directed by Tim Burton starring Johnny Depp as the man himself which tracks the creation of his masterpiece of bad, Plan 9 from Outer Space. Over the years, the dreadful combination of baffling plot, stunt casting and nonsensical acting has made Plan 9 from Outer Space something of a cult classic.
While burying a recently dead person, two gravediggers hear a strange noise and are attacked by a resurrected corpse of a young woman. Meanwhile, two pilots notice a flying saucer in the sky over the same graveyard. In the weeks following, one of the pilots, Jeff Trant (Gregory Walcott) begins to believe that the two seemingly unconnected events are in fact, connected.
Attempting to summarise the plot of Plan 9 from Outer Space is like trying to juggle with porridge. Everytime you think you’re getting somewhere, some unrelated events slip through your fingers. Ed Wood jumps from event to event, tying it all together with the odd bit of incidental exposition or some stock footage of a real life event. The costumes, if you can call them that, aren’t built for the characters wearing them and appear to be all the production crew could get their hands on cheaply. While it is difficult to really criticise a lack of funding on a films behalf, it is easy to criticise the completely bonkers approach of a director who seemed to have no idea what he was doing.
Plan 9 is also notable for being horror legend Bela Lugosi’s last credited film. While he was never actually part of the production, his untimely death in 1956 lead to Ed Wood, his friend adding some scenes shot for another project into the film. The scenes make no real sense in the narrative, but as an homage to a dying legend it might actually be the classiest thing ever done by someone in Hollywood. That is until you realise Lugosi gave Wood the only named star on the billing for the film. Still at the very least it’s a nice sentiment.
In recent times, discussion of the ˜Best Worst’ film often throws up the same names, Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, Birdemic: Shock and Terror and Troll 2, however five decades before these abominations infected our hearts and minds, Ed Wood was cornering the market. Plan 9 from Outer Space remains the oldest, tackiest, cringeyly terrible best worst film around and it’s impossible not to absolutely love it.