Icarus File No. 8: Plan Nine From Outer Space (dir by Edward D. Wood, Jr.)


I know, I know.

We’ve all heard the accusation.

Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space is the worst film of all time.

Everyone says it’s true

Well, you know what? Everyone is wrong! Plan 9 From Outer Space may be a low-budget film with some …. well, awkward performances. And the script may have some odd lines. And the story might not make any sense. And yes, there’s a scene in an airplane where the doorway to the cockpit is clearly a shower curtain. And yes, the spaceships are paper plates with strings attached. And Criswell’s campy narration makes no sense. And the guy that they brought in to serve as a stand-in for Bela Lugosi was clearly too tall and too young to be credible in the role. And the whole thing about bringing the dead back to life to keep Earthlings from developing the Solarnite bomb …. well, who knows where to even start with that? And….

Wait, where was I?

Oh yeah. Plan 9 From Outer Space. It’s not that bad, I don’t care what anyone says.

Here’s the thing with Plan 9. It’s about as personal an expression of an American director’s vision as we’re ever likely to get. Ed Wood was a pacifist who wanted to end the arm races. His way of trying to spread world peace was to make a movie about aliens so concerned about mankind’s warlike tendencies that they raised the dead. Somewhat subversively, Ed Wood makes it clear that he’s on the side of the aliens from the beginning. When the alien Eros explains that humans are about to build a bomb that can blow up sunlight and destroy the universe, the humans aren’t horrified. Instead, they’re intrigued. Eros says that humans are stupid and immature. The hero of the film promptly proves Eros to be correct by punching him out.

And so, the aliens fail. Even though they brought Tor Johnson, Bela Lugosi, and Vampira back from the dead, they still fail to change the terrible path of human history. Plan 9 From Outer Space is not just a weird sci-fi film. It’s a sad-eyed plea for peace and understanding. It’s a film that possesses it’s own unique integrity, one that sets it apart from all other cheap sci-fi films.

Of course, it’s also a lot of fun to watch on Halloween. Watch it, won’t you? And remember that Ed Wood, above all else, tried his best.  Ed Wood wanted to save the world on a budget and, to do so, he made a science fiction film with his friends and he put a bunch of homemade UFOs on a string.  He also wanted to give Bela Lugosi one great role and, indeed, Plan 9 would go on to become one of Lugosi’s best-known, non-Dracula films.  Ed Wood had a lot of ambition and, in pursuing that ambition, he flew straight for the sun and dared the Solarnite bomb to take him down.  Ed may have crashed into the sea but his vision will never be forgotten.

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1956, dir by Edward D. Wood, Jr)

Previous Icarus Files:

  1. Cloud Atlas
  2. Maximum Overdrive
  3. Glass
  4. Captive State
  5. Mother!
  6. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
  7. Last Days

Horror on the Lens: Plan 9 From Outer Space (dir by Edward D. Wood, Jr.)


Viewing Plan 9 From Outer Space during October is a bit of a tradition around these parts and here at the Shattered Lens, we’re all about tradition.  And since today is the 97th anniversary of the birth of Ed Wood, Jr., it just seems appropriate to watch his best-known film.

Speaking of tradition, this 1959 sci-fi/horror flick is traditionally cited as the worst film ever made but I don’t quite agree.  For one thing, the film is way too low-budget to be fairly judged against other big budget fiascoes.  If I have to watch a bad movie, I’ll always go for the low budget, independent feature as opposed to the big studio production.  To attack Ed Wood for making a bad film is to let every other bad filmmaker off the hook.  Ed Wood had his problems but he also had a lot of ambition and a lot of determination and, eventually, a lot of addictions.  One thing that is often forgotten by those who mock Ed Wood is that he drank himself to death and died living in squalor.  The least we can do is cut the tragic figure some slack.

Plan 9 From Outer Space is a ludicrous film but it’s also a surprisingly ambitious one and it’s got an anti-war, anti-military message so all of you folks who have hopped down the progressive rabbit hole over the past few years should have a new appreciation for this film.  I mean, do you want the government to blow up a Solarnite bomb?  DO YOU!?

Also, Gregory Walcott actually did a pretty good job in the lead role.  He was one of the few members of the cast to have a mainstream film career after Plan 9.

Finally, Plan 9 is a tribute to one man’s determination to bring his vision to life.  Ed Wood tried and refused to surrender and made a film with a message that he believed in and, for that, he deserves to be remembered.

Now, sit back, and enjoy a little Halloween tradition.  Take it away, Criswell!

Can you prove it didn’t happen?

WELL, CAN YOU!?

8 Shots From 8 Horror Films: The Late 50s


4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different with my contribution to 4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films.  I’m going to be taking a little chronological tour of the history of horror cinema, moving from decade to decade.

Today, we take a look at the late 50s!

8 Shots From 8 Horror Films: The Late 50s

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957, dir by Terence Fisher, DP: Jack Asher)

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1957, dir by Edward D. Wood, Jr., DP: William C. Thompson)

Not Of This Earth (1957, dir by Roger Corman DP: John J. Mescall)

Horror of Dracula (1958, starring Christopher Lee as the Count, Dir by Terence Fisher, DP: Jack Asher)

Night of the Ghouls (1959, dir by Edward D Wood, Jr. DP: William C. Thompson)

War of the Colossal Beast (1958, dir by Bert I. Gordon, DP: Jack A. Marta)

House on Haunted Hill (1959, dir by William Castle, DP: Carl E. Guthrie)

The Mummy (1959, dir by Terence Fisher, DP: Jack Asher)

Ten Things That I’m Looking Forward To In October


Yay!  It’s finally October again!  Are you excited because I know I am?  Seriously, it feels like it’s been a year since I last got to celebrate my favorite month!

Here are ten things that I’m looking forward to in October.

  1. Halloween and Horrothon! — You all had to know that this was going to be number one, right?  Halloween is my favorite time of year, both because of the cool weather and the fact that it’s the start of the holiday season!  Plus, this time of year that we do our annual Horrorthon here at TSL!  (I will also be contributing daily horror reviews to Horror Critic!) I spend all year looking forward to and preparing for this month.  Horrorthon can be an exhausting enterprise but it’s always worth it.
  2. Terrifier 2 — Art, the world’s most terrifying clown is back!  Seriously, killer clowns are a bit of a cliché but Art is one of the most frightening horror creations that I’ve ever seen.  Terrifier 2 is going to be 138 minutes long and, with the legacy of Michael Myers being ruined by the current David Gordon Green Halloween trilogy (seriously, don’t even get me started), now is the time for Art to step up and remind people what horror is all about.
  3. TAR — Todd Field’s first film since Little Children looks intriguing and has been getting rapturous reviews.  TAR is getting a limited release on October 3rd before opening wide on October 28th.  It may not be a horror film but I’m still looking forward to seeing the film that could very well make Cate Blanchett a three-time Oscar winner.
  4. Triangle of Sadness — For that matter, I’m also looking forward to Triangle of Sadness, this year’s winner of Palme d’Or.  The film opens on October 7th and it appears to feature Woody Harrelson in the role that he was born to play.
  5. The Banshees of Inisherin — An Irish film, reuniting Martin McDonagh, Colin Farrell, and Brendan Gleeson?  (Previously, all three worked together on the brilliant In Bruges.)  How could I possible resist?
  6. Dark Glasses — Dario Argento’s latest film is coming to Shudder!
  7. Night of the Living Dead, The Shining, the original Suspiria, Carnival of Souls, Robot Monster, Little Shop of Horrors, Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Bride of the Monster, Plan 9 From Outer Space, the original Halloween — It’s tradition!  These are films that I watch at least once every October and I’m looking forward to watching them this year as well.
  8. Mocking the critics — There are so many snobs out there when it comes to horror.  That’s why it’s always fun to spend October mocking them on twitter.  Forget those who look down on horror.  October is our time.
  9. All The Holiday SpecialsToy Story of Terror?  Yep.  It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown?  You know my sister and I will be watching it.  It’s not October without the holiday specials.
  10. Setting A Record — Last year, at TSL, we posted 487 times over the course of October.  Think we can break 500 this year?  We’re off to a good start!

Happy October everyone!  I look forward to sharing this wonderful time of year with all of you!  What are you looking forward to?

4 Shots From 4 Tor Johnson Films


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Today is Tor Johnson’s birthday so it just seems appropriate to present….

4 Shots From 4 Tor Johnson Films

Bride of the Monster (1955, dir by Ed Wood, DP: Ted Allan and William C. Thompson)

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1957, dir by Ed Wood, DP: William C. Thompson)

The Unearthly (1957, dir by Boris Petroff, DP: W. Merle Connell)

The Best of Yucca Flats (1961, dir by Coleman Francis, DP: John Cagle and Lee Strosnider)

Horror Scenes That I Love: The Leader Explains Things To Eros From Plan 9 From Outer Space


I know that some people claim that the alien’s plot in Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space makes no sense.  How, they ask, would bringing the dead back to life prevent the creation of the Solarnite Bomb?

Well, here to explain things, is the alien leader himself.

From Plan From Outer Space, here’s a scene that I love:

4 Shots From 4 Ed Wood Films


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today, we continue to pay tribute to the great Edward D. Wood, Jr. with….

4 Shots From From 4 Ed Wood Films

Glen or Glenda (1953, dir by Ed Wood, DP: William C. Thompson)

Bride of the Monster (1955, dir by Edward D. Wood, Jr., DP: Ted Allan and William C. Thompson)

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1957, dir by Edward D. Wood, Jr., DP: William C. Thompson)

Night of the Ghouls (1959, dir by Ed Wood, DP: William C. Thompson)

Horror on the Lens: Plan 9 From Outer Space (dir by Edward D. Wood, Jr.)


Viewing Plan 9 From Outer Space during October is a bit of a tradition around these parts and here at the Shattered Lens, we’re all about tradition.  And since today is the 97th anniversary of the birth of Ed Wood, Jr., it just seems appropriate to watch his best-known film.

Speaking of tradition, this 1959 sci-fi/horror flick is traditionally cited as the worst film ever made but I don’t quite agree.  For one thing, the film is way too low-budget to be fairly judged against other big budget fiascoes.  If I have to watch a bad movie, I’ll always go for the low budget, independent feature as opposed to the big studio production.  To attack Ed Wood for making a bad film is to let every other bad filmmaker off the hook.  Ed Wood had his problems but he also had a lot of ambition and a lot of determination and, eventually, a lot of addictions.  One thing that is often forgotten by those who mock Ed Wood is that he drank himself to death and died living in squalor.  The least we can do is cut the tragic figure some slack.

Plan 9 From Outer Space is a ludicrous film but it’s also a surprisingly ambitious one and it’s got an anti-war, anti-military message so all of you folks who have hopped down the progressive rabbit hole over the past few years should have a new appreciation for this film.  I mean, do you want the government to blow up a Solarnite bomb?  DO YOU!?

Also, Gregory Walcott actually did a pretty good job in the lead role.  He was one of the few members of the cast to have a mainstream film career after Plan 9.

Finally, Plan 9 is a tribute to one man’s determination to bring his vision to life.  Ed Wood tried and refused to surrender and made a film with a message that he believed in and, for that, he deserves to be remembered.

Now, sit back, and enjoy a little Halloween tradition.  Take it away, Criswell!

Can you prove it didn’t happen?

WELL, CAN YOU!?

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Tor Johnson Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Today is Tor Johnson’s birthday so it just seems appropriate to present….

4 Shots From 4 Tor Johnson Films

Bride of The Monster (1955, dir by Ed Wood)

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959, dir by Ed Wood)

Night of the Ghouls (1960, dir by Ed Wood)

The Beast from Yucca Flats (1961, dir by Coleman Francis)

Horror Scenes That I Love: The U.S. Army Takes On The Flying Saucers in Plan 9 From Outer Space


I’m disappointed to say that, for whatever reason, YouTube has been yanking down all of the Plan 9 From Outer Space videos that used to be available on the site.  That’s just strange to me.  From what I’ve heard, it’s for copyright reasons.  The people who currently have the rights to Wood’s films are very aggressive about searching YouTube for any unauthorized videos.  Ed Wood’s films are financially much more lucrative today than they were when he was alive, which is kind of depressing when you consider that Wood basically drank himself to death and died in total poverty.

That said, there was no way I was going to let Mr. Wood’s birthday pass without sharing at least one scene from Plan 9 From Outer Space!  So, in this scene, the flying saucers face the might of a lot of a stock footage.  Meanwhile, Tom Keene plays the colonel who casually watches the battle.  The narration, of course, is provided by the amazing Criswell!

It’s amazing how close we came to getting conquered.

Enjoy!