Alright, laugh if you will… But I’m going to do it. I’m going to justify Plan 9 as a good movie.
It’s been called “The Worst Film Ever Made” by an unimaginable number of critics… And those who disagree point to Ed Wood’s other film Glen or Glenda as the real place-holder. But I firmly disagree. I actually think that this movie has been misjudged. Over the course of many viewings, it’s become one of my favourites, and for a number of reasons. Why, you ask? I’ll tell you.
But let me first clear this up: no matter how much I like this film… It’s not very well made. There’s all kinds of screw-ups, poor dialogue, bad acting, cheap sets, and even cheaper effects. The UFOs have strings on them. Gravestones fall over. Guys scratch their heads with pistols. And apparently, although no one would have known otherwise, when a murder happens… Someone’s actually responsible. Who knew?
But my god is this movie ever fun. It’s made by a man who loved movies so much, that every shot was good enough to print. It was made with his friends, with Ed throughout imagining himself as a real Hollywood director, a Golden-Age master. And sure it didn’t turn out brilliant… Far from it. But it was made with a real passion so often absent from other movies.
And you know, when I talk about movies with people, they always seem so keen on pointing out that a movie wasn’t “intelligent,” that they hated Transformers 2 because there were no thought-provoking themes of mankind’s relationship with machines, all the while forgetting that the reason why the movie was made was so that we could watch giant robots fight. I will put forward that Plan 9 is no different. While Ed does try to throw in some socially conscious material about weaponry and its potential to eliminate the human race, I don’t think that that was his purpose in making the movie. I think that his purpose was, first and foremost, to entertain, just like Hollywood used to. It’s a cheap nod to the old days when people would see a train rushing towards a camera on a movie screen and dive out of the way. When you would see a spaceship come down to Earth and feel your breathing speed up, when you were so amazed that there was simply a moving picture in front of you and you were having a great time watching it. This movie isn’t about having great effects, or great writing… It’s about having a good time. It’s about seeing zombies and aliens and explosions, cops rushing to the scene, always on a seemingly telepathic alert. It’s pulp fiction put to screen. It’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had watching a movie made by a man that the world laughs at for making the movie he always wanted to. Personally, I’m glad he did.