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Plan 9 From Outer Space

Review Written by: Estefan Ellison
Film: A-
Video/Audio/Extras: D+/C/C-

Directed by: Edward D. Wood Jr.
Written by: Edward D. Wood Jr.
Produced by: Edward D. Wood Jr.
Starring: Dudley Manlove, John Breckinridge, Tor Johnson, Vampira, Gregory Walcott, Tom Keene, Bela Lugosi
Buy it!, Buy it, rent it or skip it: Rent it

I am a huge fan of how individual films are made and what mishaps occured on the set. My personal favourite behind-the-scenes story is of Plan 9 From Outer Space, directed by the infamous and one-of-a-kind Ed Wood. The executive producers of the film were priests, who objected a lot of Wood's ideas including the title. It was originally called Grave Robbers from Outer Space, but they were against the idea of robbing graves. When Bela Lugosi died before production began, he got his girlfriend's doctor to play his part, but hide his face. These are two stories along with many more that happened when Plan 9 From Outer Space was filming. There are many websites on the Internet dedicated to the film, so it's easy to read more stories.

An old man (Bela Lugosi) whose wife (Vampira) has recently died decides to live home forever, but is then hit by traffic when he crosses the street. Meanwhile, an alien named Eros (Dudley Manlove) arrives and brings back the dead. This catches the attention of an airline pilot (Gregory Walcott) and the local police force lead by Inspector Dan Clay (Tor Johnson), who also dies and is brought back to life. It is now a battle of the senses to get the aliens away from Earth and bring the dead bodies back to their graves.

If Ed Wood had been given more backing and creative control, it is obvious that his films would have been much better and he would have been hailed as a brilliant director alongside Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. All my knowledge of Ed Wood had been based on the Tim Burton film based on his life. Now, after seeing Plan 9 From Outer Space, which is considered his magnom opus, I must say that he is actually a very good science-fiction director. The flaws are obvious and the acting isn't exactly top-notch, but the screenplay is wonderful and I think deserved an Oscar nomination. Ed Wood's direction is also fun and gives the film a very lively look. As much as I liked the film, I didn't much like the DVD's transfer. The video quality is definately in the "D+" area. On the bottom right hand corner of the screen is the PIP logo. I'm watching a film on DVD, not on a televsion channel. What was the point of putting that on the bottom of the screen? By the way, the image isn't that good either. The audio is slightly better, but still doesn't deserve to get past a "C" grade. Sometimes, the terrific dialogue is difficult and it's too bad that subtitles weren't provided. Maybe, they were afraid that it was going to block their beloved PIP logo.

There are six great interviews provided on the DVD, including conversations with Johnny Depp, Dolores Fuller, Vampira as well as archival footage of Bela Lugosi leaving rehab. They provide some great information and while a lot of them talk about Ed Wood, the film version, it's still wonderful. The small amount of extras finish off with trailers of Plan 9 From Outer Space, Glen or Glenda, Bride of the Monster, The Sinister Urge and The Bride and the Beast. These are interesting to see how Wood's films were marketed. Even though, this disc skimps on the extras, they are still very good extras. People who have seen Ed Wood should definitely check this out, but it is better if you rent it.

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