Review: PLAN 9, The Spirit Of Ed Wood Is Alive And Well

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Review: PLAN 9, The Spirit Of Ed Wood Is Alive And Well
Early on in Plan 9, a character complains that a remake of Plan 9 From Outer Space is the mother of all bad ideas. And really, it's hard to think of anything that could top Ed Wood's incompetent, legendary cheesefest for sheer camp value. But then again, pretty much anything can be considered an improvement.

Writer/director/actor John Johnson decided to give it a shot, and wisely knew that if something isn't broke, it doesn't need fixing. Ten minutes in, and you've already got purposely bad special effects, self-aware bad acting and boobs. That should tell you all about this movie's M.O.

In this update, the town of Nilbog (how's that for a bad movie reference?) is hit by an energy pulse that reanimates the dead, all part of a master plan by alien invaders. Or something like that; not that you'd pay attention to the long-winded explanation given by the Token Scientist character, since you're only here for the cheesiness.

The whole thing is an affectionate tribute to Ed Wood's B-Movie milestone. From its infamous flying saucers on wires to the late Bela Lugosi, or rather, Wood's chiropractor who hid his face behind a cape; it's littered with references that show just how revered the original is. This one just amps up the boobs and gore and oddly enough, it's the kid characters that get it the worst, because who cares about being politically correct?

The original is known for its oddball cast and this one is no exception. Among others joining the fun are the Angry Video Game Nerd, James Rolfe (as a policeman named Policeman) and Cinema Insomnia host Mister Lobo as the Criswell stand-in. Johnson craftily gives himself the best part, a deadpan cop who seems unfazed by the sight of zombies and alien ray guns.

The original had a certain charm to it that's very hard to replicate, since that crappy little movie was a product of its time; watching Vampira and Tor Johnson shamble around a graveyard is part of its goofy appeal. Thankfully, Johnson goes the reverential tribute route rather than attempt a copy. Plan 9 can stand on its own as a cheesy B-movie and it goes down well with friends, beer and pizza in tow, in a double bill with its forefather. For a no-budget amateurish production, the original has earned a place in history that actually merits remakes. Ed Wood would definitely approve.

Plan 9 will be released on DVD by Monster Pictures on 18 February.
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John JohnsonPlan 9

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