Movies: Plan 9 From Outer Space
It's not easy to make a memorable film. I'd wager that 95% of all the movies ever made, studio or otherwise, will eventually be relegated to the trashcan of cinema history.
"Plan 9 From Outer Space," written, directed, and edited by Edward Wood, Jr., is one of the few movies from the '50s that's still well-known today. Unfortunately, it's well-known because it's awful. Take a look:
The movie isn't bad as in "cult classic" bad; this is just plain old poor filmmaking. Plotwise, it's highly derivative of "The Day The Earth Stood Still" and old-school zombie/undead movies like "I Walked With a Zombie." In "Plan 9," suspiciously human-like aliens are raising the dead in order to...well...that's where things start going off the rails.
You see, the reason "Plan 9" lives in infamy is because of its nonsensical plot, wooden acting (many scenes were shot in one take), and lazy editing; if it were only the bad special effects, it wouldn't be as easy to ridicule. I can forgive low production values, but story flaws are something that a hard-working director might have been able to fix. Ed Wood just didn't seem to bother.
Here's some choice quotes from IMDb:
Criswell, opening narration: Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.
Colonel Tom Edwards: ...Why, a particle of sunlight can't even be seen or measured.
Eros: Can you see or measure an atom? Yet you can *explode* one. A ray of sunlight is made up of *many* atoms!
Jeff Trent: So what if we *do* develop this Solanite bomb? We'd be even a stronger nation than now.
Eros: [with disgust] Stronger. You see? You see? Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!
Jeff Trent: That's all I'm taking from you!
[pistol-whips Eros upside the head]
The dialogue is this bad through the entire film, which is sort of an achievement when you really think about it. I'm not sure I could write dialogue this bad on purpose; assuming the film was intended to be a straight sci-fi flick and not a comedy, it's actually rather remarkable that every scene is a stinker. The odds of that happening must be remote, sort of like a monkey producing the complete works of Shakespeare.
Ed Wood went on to direct awful exploitation flicks like "The Violent Years" after the loss of his biggest star, Béla Lugosi. After the exploitation business started petering out, he went to low-budget pornography. Try as he might, though, I don't think any of those later films quite matches the memorable awfulness of "Plan 9 From Outer Space."
Rating: 2/10 (you're going to want to give this one the MST3K treatment)