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Plan 9 from Outer Space

(1957, Wood)
A film widely considered one of the worst ever

"You know, it's an interesting thing when you consider... the Earth people, who can think, are so frightened by those who cannot: the dead."

Plan 9 from Outer Space follows a group of aliens, ahem, from outer space implementing a plan to stop humans from using "big guns" and "explosives" or, if that fails, destroy humanity. The plan? To resurrect the dead because, as their commander Eros says in the above quote, humans are "frightened by those who cannot [think]". So they think that, somehow, the undead and the ensuing chaos will help them to either grab humanity's attention or just finish them.

Written, produced, directed, and edited by Ed Wood, it is one of the most notorious examples of his skills, or lack of. The film has a mostly non-sensical plot, stilted performances, odd use of stock footage, and overall inept production values. The sets and costumes look like those from a school production and the pace of the film is, to put it mildly, awkward as it sputters along different plotlines loosely hanging from each other.

The main character is Jeff Trent (Gregory Walcott), a commercial pilot that witnesses the alien spaceships several times, but can't talk about it because of a non-disclosure agreement from his employer. He is then joined by the police as they try to investigate these appearances that are somehow tied to more weird occurrences happening in the cemetery next to his house.

Another notable star is Bela Lugosi, who plays an old man who dies in a car accident. His footage was meant to be for another film Wood was working on, but after Lugosi's death he decided to use it in this one. However, the final result which includes an obvious stand-in posing as Lugosi for some scenes, feels so out of place and awkwardly inserted that you can't help but laugh at it.

But I guess that's the charm of the film, and of Wood's career I assume. Sure, his films are badly written and made, but through all the ineptitude, you can still get the sense that he loves film and really wanted to make something that lasted. Seeing how his work is still remembered to the point of having a biopic made out of him, with this film still being talked about 60+ years after, I suppose he achieved what he wanted.