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Because It's So Bad, 'Plan 9 from Outer Space' is Definitely TV Worth Watching
February 1, 2021  | By Mike Hughes
 


We spend a lot of time talking about good shows, so let's consider one that is really, truly awful – but in a fun way that's worth watching. That would be  Plan 9 From Outer Space, which has its primetime moment, at 8 p.m. ET, Monday, on Turner Classic Movies.

Plan 9 is a 1959 film that jumped to fame in 1980 when the book Golden Turkey Awards proclaimed it the worst movie ever. Since then, it has shown up at bad-film festivals and more.

This is not some cynical movie trying to bilk moviegoers. It's an earnest attempt at science-fiction that simply turned awful in a fun-to-watch way.

At the core is Ed Wood, who managed to write and direct a dozen movies – with such titles as Nympho Cycler and Night of the Ghouls – before switching to short films. He was an inspiration to anyone who will let nothing (including a lack of money and talent) hold him back.

There was even an Ed Wood movie (a good one) in 1994, with Tim Burton directing, Johnny Depp in the title role, and Martin Landau as Wood's friend, Bela Lugosi, a part which won Landau an Academy Award.

Lugosi is top-billed in Plan 9 despite the fact that he had died three years before filming began. It's that kind of movie.

Wood had shot some silent footage of his friend (looking all vampire-ish) for a movie that was never finished. Wood decided to use that film in Plan 9 but added new scenes, as well. For those, the same character was played by Wood's wife's chiropractor – who bore no resemblance to Lugosi and was a foot taller.

Plan 9 was intended to be a serious film, with outer-space aliens warning Earthlings not to destroy themselves. That explains the bursts of rambling dialog.

But other things get in the way, including grave-robbing and the narration, informing us that "future events such as these will affect you in the future." And there are all the technical oddities.

The flying saucers (toys, obviously) are disc-shaped but vertical when they land. A chase scene seems to meander between day and night. The Pentagon appears to have remarkably cheap furniture; so does the cockpit of an airplane.

Bad-movie touches pile atop each other until it all becomes TV worth watching.

 
 
 
 
 
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