We spend a lot of time talking about good shows, so it’s time for the opposite.
Let’s consider a show that is really, truly awful – but in a fun way that’s worth watching: “Plan 9 From Outer Space” (shown here) has its primetime moment, at 8 p.m. ET Monday (Feb. 1) 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 shorts. 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 winning an Academy Award as Wood’s friend, Bela Lugosi.
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. That was included in “Plan 9” … even adding scenes. 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” meant 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 (clearly toys) are disc-shaped … but when one lands, it’s vertical. A chase scene seems to meander between day and night. The Pentagon seems 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.