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Plan 9 From Outer Space(1959)
Aliens resurrect dead humans as zombies and vampires to stop human kind from creating the Solaranite (a sort of sun-driven bomb).
For more about Plan 9 From Outer Space and the Plan 9 From Outer Space Blu-ray release, see Plan 9 From Outer Space Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on February 26, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Gregory Walcott, Mona McKinnon, Tor Johnson, Vampira, Bela Lugosi, Tom Keene
Director: Edward D. Wood, Jr. (I)
» See full cast & crew
Plan 9 From Outer Space Blu-ray Review
"The Worst Movie Ever Made" makes for a surprisingly good Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, February 26, 2012
Is Plan 9 From Outer Space really the worst film of all time? If public perception (and/or reputation) means anything, maybe. But as I just mentioned in my review of Zaat , there are plenty of films that can give Ed Wood, Jr.'s magnum opus a run for its money (even putting aside my joke with regard to Tyler Perry's oeuvre in the Zaat review). Plan 9 From Outer Space has achieved an iconic status since its release in 1959, especially when in 1980 Michael Medved pronounced the film "Worst Movie Ever Made". It's interesting to note that Plan 9 From Outer Space didn't even make the "Top 100" Worst Films of All Time as decided by the members of the IMDb, and that might augur well (relatively speaking, anyway) for the film's ultimate reputation. For it can't be denied that as inept as Plan 9 From Outer Space indubitably is, it's also weirdly entertaining in its own infantile way. And while Wood's technical "expertise" is at the very least questionable, there are also strangely well constructed moments in the film that point to some actual concept of how to make a film. Two cases in point, as minor as they may be: the effective slight push in to Criswell in the film's opening moments, and a conversant slight dolly out when Paula (Mona McKinnon) is lounging in bed, about to be visited by "Bela Lugosi" (if you're wondering why Bela's name is in quotes, it's time for you to catch up on some serious pop culture trivia). These may in fact not be monumental in any sense of the word, but they point out the fact that Wood wasn't just (or at least wasn't only) a "point and shoot" director.
For those who have never seen Plan 9 From Outer Space, perhaps a very brief summation of why it's so bizarrely loved might be in order. Ed Wood, Jr., didn't just miss grabbing the brass ring, he pretty much stumbled through the carnival without ever managing to board a ride. His one "achievement" in terms of legendary film personalities was his rather sweet befriending of Bela Lugosi, whom Wood got to know during the actor's late life, when he was seriously under the effects of his debilitating morphine addiction. Wood had amassed a bit of footage of Lugosi before the actor died, and it was those few moments that helped give Plan 9 From Outer Space its ostensibly most recognizable "star" (despite the fact that Lugosi is barely in the film). The film was initially titled Grave Robbers from Outer Space, but its ultimate distributor balked at that title and decided on Plan 9 From Outer Space, alluding to the mad shenanigans of the film's invading aliens, who have evidently already gone through eight plans before settling on their decision to reanimate the dead with a super secret "life" ray (as opposed to a death ray), which brings all sorts of dead people, including Vampira, Tor Johnson and Mr. Lugosi himself (or his body not-so-double), to zombie like meanderings around the local cemetery and environs.
The film is a veritable riot of verbal and visual non sequiturs. Pay close attention to the tenses Criswell uses in his legendary opening speech. Later, pay attention how day and night magically change back and forth at a moment's notice. Watch how "Bela" just as magically changes head shape and tallness, which not even his vampire's cape can disguise. These are the just very tippy-top of a very deep iceberg of anomalies that have helped to make Plan 9 From Outer Space such a party film through the years, one which is uniquely poised to offer any number of intriguing drinking games based on any number of criteria. JUust one workable example: take a swig every time Vampira comes on screen and doesn't say anything. If you're still upright by film's end, you may have a disturbingly high tolerance for alcohol.
Does it ultimately matter that Plan 9 From Outer Space doesn't make a great deal of sense? Isn't that part of its inimitable charm? Wood, for all of his faults, had a certain ebullience, a basic joy about filmmaking that infused a lot of his films, as weird and even smarmy as some may think they are. Plan 9 From Outer Space is daffy and more often than not incoherent, but it's fun, and one assumes that Wood himself probably wasn't aiming for anything much higher than that. It's probably ironic that Wood has ultimately achieved a legendary status for supposedly being "the worst" that very few of even those who are anointed as "the best" ever manage to attain.
Plan 9 From Outer Space Blu-ray, Video Quality
Plan 9 From Outer Space is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Legend Films with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.33:1. It goes without saying that Plan 9 From Outer Space has been released in manifold public domain and bootleg versions through the years, usually sourced from pretty poor looking prints. Legend's publicity materials surrounding this release state that it's undergone more restoration than for any previous release, and this Blu-ray does sport well above average looking sharpness for this release, though it must be stated that there is still occasional damage, notably some minor scratches and flecks, that still dot the elements. While noise reduction has been applied, the good news is it doesn't negatively affect the many mist shrouded scenes, which still look natural and never appear frozen or overly scrubbed. Legend also must be accorded some kudos for not slathering on its colorizing to absurd degrees, and their colorized version looks rather good, probably because the color for the most part is so minimally applied. In fact the aliens' bright purple shirts are about the only things in the colorized version that scream "color", and that's a good thing. The 1.33:1 open matte presentation does mean that headroom is exaggerated and boom mics can be seen from time to time.
This Legend Films release contains both a colorized and the original black and white versions of the film. Screencaps from both versions are included here. Even numbered screencaps are from the colorized version and odd numbered screencaps are from the black and white version.
Plan 9 From Outer Space Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Legend has provided an unexpectedly good lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo repurposed audio mix for Plan 9 From Outer Space that may not be generously spacious or immersive, but which presents the film's limited sonic ambitions with abundant clarity and precision. While there's no real damage to report here, the stereo repurposing adds even more reverb than the film has always exhibited, and while it's not that problematic, it adds to the already boxy quality the audio on this film has always had. There's rather good representation of all frequency ranges here, and this is certainly the best this film has ever sounded, which may be something of a back handed compliment.
Plan 9 From Outer Space Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Plan 9 From Outer Space Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Here's a word that may not have ever been used to describe Plan 9 From Outer Space before: sweet. Crazy, yes. Inept, undeoubtedly. Hilarious, often. But strangely sweet through all of that. Legend Films has done a nice job rejuvenating this release for Blu-ray, and even its colorizing isn't the candy colored mess that colorizing too often tends to be. Though neither the video nor the audio are going to set any hearts on fire, this is certainly the sharpest this release has ever looked or sounded, and with a great Mike Nelson commentary and a smattering of other decent supplements, this release is Recommended.
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Plan 9 From Outer Space Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Plan 9 From Outer Space and The Little Shop of Horrors Heading to... - February 7, 2012
Independent distributors Legend Films have revealed that they are planning to release on Blu-ray two cult B-movie classics: EdWood's Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959) and Roger Corman's Little Shop of Horrors (1960). The preliminary release date for both films is ...
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