Plan 9 from Outer Space (** out of four)
Why give PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE a two-star rating? I dunno, I can’t really justify it. All I can say is that few movies offer as much sweet, sweet joy as Ed Wood’s 1959 sci-fi opus. This film’s appalling anti-artistry is as funny as anything Hollywood has come up with in the last five decades.
To be fair, I haven’t seen it the way Wood intended. I’ve only seen the version where the MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER guys are mocking it the whole way through. Still, you get the idea: flying saucers that look like hubcaps (when one of them gets blown out of the sky, I was reminded of the scene in BACK TO THE FUTURE where Doc Brown’s model Delorian bursts into flames); aliens played by B-movie actors wearing the galaxy’s loudest purple tee-shirts; establishing shots that don’t connect; out-of-left-field stock footage; unintentionally hilarious dialogue; etc.
Most of this was par for the course in the field Wood was working in: 1950s exploitation movies. But what makes PLAN 9 an unsurpassed triumph-of-sorts is its campy entertainment value. There’s something crazily bad going on in every scene, if not every shot. My favorite bit involves a detective who keeps absentmindedly pointing his gun at everything and everybody. Then there’s the alien who delivers the single greatest line in movie history: “You see? You see? Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!”
Sure, it’s horrible. But it’s also fun, and harmless fun in any form is something to be celebrated.