Bad Movie Review (Extra Life 2018) – Plan 9 From Outer Space

The Bad Movie Review series of posts are a set of posts written as the result of meeting a $1,200 stretch goal for Extra Life, an annual 24-hour video gaming charity marathon event that benefits children’s hospitals.

Surely a movie that has well-known classic actor Bela Lugosi (of Dracula fame) can’t fail, right?

Perhaps casting him as someone who dies not 10 minutes into the movie and spends the rest of the time as a undead, budget version of his iconic vampire is the way to do it, unfortunately.

Plan 9 From Outer Space (rated 4/10 on the imdb site) doesn’t really know what it is, and tries to do a little too much, which is only part of the reason why it was pretty painful to consume. The general plot is that alien visitors who are disillusioned by earthlings’ need to destroy one another and develop increasingly lethal weapons decide to wipe out humanity by utilizing the dreaded “Plan 9” – raising the dead of humanity to use against them. The result is a mishmash of social commentary, zombie apocalypse, horror, and sci-fi that never quite gets anywhere significant in any of the genres it purports to crib from, and when you combine that with how collectively inept the aliens or the humans, it doesn’t make for very good viewing unless to totally rip on it, which is exactly why it’s one of Rifftrax’ most beloved targets.

How inept is everyone? How about the fact that the aliens’ superior commands that armies of undead be raised to target humanity but that only 3 of them manage to get risen from the grave? Or that inexplicably they decide to sacrifice one of them (poor Bela, in fact) just to “scare” humanity a bit more right when the heroes are about to become zombie food? Or that for all their vaunted intelligence they take off in a ship that is clearly on fire after hiding it in a terribly obvious graveyard? Maybe you could cite the human heroes’ lack of ability for the most part to run away from slowly shambling zombie types, or how they somehow do not manage to take the presence of alien visitors seriously enough to have a proportional response to their invasion.

Combine this with the fact that somehow the alien invasion has been localized to a town in California and to perhaps the same two places (a pilot’s house and a graveyard) and you get an idea of either how low the budget was to create any meaningful alien/zombie hybrid invasion seem impactful or how bad the writing was to self-contain a global alien invasion to what was really a county alien invasion.

The result, instead of a movie you could maybe put into history as an early sci-fi classic is a movie that is perhaps one of the most panned of all time, a kind of chaotic mess that doesn’t quite know what to do with the stuff it has in front of it. As far as movies go, it’s the 52 card pickup of 50’s sci-fi, and is very generously relegated to the bargain bin.

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