Sunday, April 11, 2010

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)

Plan 9 from Outer Space (originally titled as Grave Robbers from Outer Space) is a 1959 science fiction/horror film written, and directed by Edward D. Wood, Jr. The film features Gregory Walcott, Mona McKinnon, Tor Johnson and Maila "Vampira" Nurmi. The film bills Béla Lugosi posthumously as a star, although footage of the actor was shot by Wood for another film just before Lugosi's death in 1956.
The plot of the film is focused on extraterrestrial beings who are seeking to stop humans from creating a doomsday weapon that would destroy the universe. In the course of doing so, the aliens implement "Plan 9", a scheme to resurrect Earth's dead as zombies to get the planet's attention, causing chaos.

For years, the film played on television in relative obscurity, until 1980, when author Michael Medved dubbed Plan 9 from Outer Space the "worst movie ever made". It has also earned Wood a posthumous Golden Turkey Award (an award of Medved's creation) as the worst director of all time.


 Airline pilot Jeff Trent and his co-pilot Danny encounter a flying saucer. Meanwhile, two gravediggers are filling the grave of a deceased woman. Suddenly, they hear a strange noise, and decide to leave the cemetery. As they turn to leave, a resurrected female corpse attacks them.
Absorbed in his grief over his wife's death, an old man walks out of his house and into the path of an oncoming automobile. At his funeral, two mourners discover the bodies of the attacked gravediggers. Inspector Daniel Clay, along with several police officers, comes to the cemetery to investigate. Clay encounters the female zombie, who is now joined by the corpse of the old man. Clay is killed by the zombies.

Trent is watching the cemetery with his wife, Paula, and tells her about his flying saucer encounter, stating that the Army has sworn him to secrecy about what he saw. He suspects that whatever is happening in the cemetery is related to his UFO encounter. Suddenly, a powerful wind knocks everyone to the ground. A spaceship lands nearby.

In the weeks that follow, newspaper headlines report other flying saucer sightings. The military, under the command of Colonel Thomas Edwards, finally attacks the alien spaceships which flee Earth. Edwards reveals that the government has been covering up the flying saucer visits to Earth, and he wonders if the alien visits are connected to other Earth disasters.

The aliens return to Space Station 7 for regeneration. Their commander, Eros, informs the Ruler that he has attempted, unsuccessfully, to contact the governments of Earth. He tells the Ruler that to force the people of Earth to acknowledge his people's existence, he is implementing Plan 9, which involves resurrecting people who have recently died by stimulating their pituitary and pineal glands. The three alien ships return to Earth.

Trent is about to leave home again for another flight. Concerned for Paula's safety, he urges her to stay with her mother while he's gone, but she insists on staying home. That night, the corpse of the old man rises from his crypt and sneaks into their house. Joined by the corpse of his wife and the newly resurrected Daniel Clay, he chases Paula through the cemetery. Paula collapses and is found by a passing motorist, who drives away with her limp body. All three zombies return to Eros' ship, which lifts off.

At the Pentagon, General Roberts informs Edwards that the government has been receiving messages from the aliens. Roberts plays the last message, which has been translated into English by a recently invented "language computer." The general sends Edwards to San Fernando, California, where most of the aliens' activities have occurred.

In California, the police interview the Trents about their experiences with the aliens. Unbeknownst to them, the alien saucer has returned to the graveyard. While waiting by the police car, officer Kelton encounters the old man. The old man chases the officer to the Trents' house, where they attempt to shoot him, with no effect. The nearby aliens strike the old man with a "decomposite ray", causing his body to decompose, leaving only his skeleton. Not knowing what to make of this, the Trents and the police decide to drive to the cemetery.

On board the ship, Eros and Tanna send Clay to kidnap Paula in order to lure the other three to their spaceship, which he does. Meanwhile, seeing a glow in the distance, the other three head toward the ship. Kelton stays with Paula, and is incapacitated by Clay. Upon awakening, he calls for help, and officer Larry is sent to aid him.
Eros allows them to enter, and they board with their guns drawn. Once inside, Eros tells the humans that his people first came to Earth to talk and to ask for their aid, but the humans wouldn't listen to their messages. According to Eros, the humans will eventually discover the solarbonite, a bomb that has the effect of exploding "sunlight molecules". Eros explains that a solarbonite explosion would destroy everything the sunlight touches, causing a chain reaction that would eventually destroy the entire universe.

Outside the ship, Clay arrives with Paula. Eros threatens to have her killed if they try to force him to go with them. Officers Kelton and Larry arrive and spot Clay with Paula. They realize that their guns are useless, and decide to approach Clay from behind with a stick. Eros sees this, and shuts off the ray controlling Clay, allowing Paula to go free. A fight ensues inside between Eros and Jeff, during which a fire inexplicably starts. The humans leave the ship, and it takes off in flames. Eros and Tanna are trapped as the ship explodes in space. As a consequence of the explosion, Clay and the female zombie are traumatically skeletonized.

ED WOOD (1959)

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