Life on the Fringe
In honor of Delilah’s love for kitschy movies and it being Ed Wood month on our Thursday movie reviews, each week, we’ll be choosing a winner for a copy of the Ed Wood movie being reviewed that week. Please leave a comment on this blog post to enter to win a copy of Plan 9 From Outer Space this week. Winner will be picked by Tuesday morning, Sept 24th, and all prizes will be mailed out by October 10th if not sooner.
Movie Review: Plan 9 From Outer Space a.k.a. Grave Robbers from Outer Space
Year of Release : 1959
Starring: Gregory Walcott, Tom Keene, Mona McKinnon, Vampira, Criswell, Bela Lugosi
Tagline: As the screen’s greatest shock star Bela Lugosi is back to haunt the Earth in a terrifying revelation of things to come!
Before watching the movie:
Marc : Okay. I made it through Glen or Glenda, this should be a walk in the park.
Yasmine: *snorts* Guess again, sugar.
Marc: That…That does not fill me with confidence…
After watching the movie:
Marc: STUPID! STUPID! STUPID! How the hell do I review this one? Yasmine, how on earth did you get me to agree to this?
Yasmine: It’s in your contract. And you trust me. That’s what you get for committing to both.
Marc: Bugger. I guess I better get started.
Yasmine: Yes Marc, wow me with your witty prose, show me that this film has not broken you completely. Impress me, man!
Marc: It’s a good job I like working for you.
Yasmine: *Evil Grin* I know you do. Why do you think I had the confidence to drag you into this? Besides, you know you had fun watching it!
Marc: Okay, this movie…where the hell do I start? I would call Ed Wood the Master of the one take shot…except that he wasn’t. He did one take on everything because he was both utterly deluded with what he thought was his own genius and he had about the same budget as your average high school production.
Actually, given the way things are these days, probably less.
This film is a bad film. So bad that it goes through the other side and actually becomes a fun film. Not a good film, a *fun* one. Important difference. Not a great piece of cinema, don’t make that mistake.
The perfect way to watch this movie is in a comfortable surrounding, with lots of snacks, good friends, and if you’re up for it, some alcohol. This is not a film to be watched sober.
Yasmine: Drinking games. I believe we decided that it called for drinking games. The first being: every time you see a stock footage shot, you take a drink. We decided this after watching, or we would have been so fucking drunk.
Marc: That would not have been pretty.
Yasmine: Right there with you.
Marc: Umm hmm. Okay, again, I can’t really use the usual criteria to review this movie. I’ll give it this: the actors gave it their best shots, they were earnest, they performed with gusto…They were just no damned good. They really couldn’t act worth toffee.
Yasmine: They did try. Though given what they had to work with? You can’t make a good movie out of a bad script.
Marc: The special effects…well…this is where a lot of the tropes about bad effects came from. They tried, oh how they tried…my favourite bad effect was either the burning pie plate or the amazing day/night change. How about you Yasmine?
Yasmine: You mean the flying saucer on fire? *Grins* Actually, the continual shifting from day to night in the same scene would have made another good drinking game. It’s night—drink! Day—drink! Night again—drink! Day—who polished off the booze?
Marc: The plot…oh sheesh…the plot…it’s about what you’d expect when you have a script written by committee. There are several a stories floating around about this movie, some are truer than others. One that is true is that this movie was co-funded by a couple of Baptist Ministers in order to make money in order to make some biblical epic (which due to the nature of Ed Wood’s films, of course, never materialized).
Yasmine: Well, it was epic. Epically bad. Seriously? The fact that he got them to fund him at all was a show of genius. LOL. Why do I think the phrase ‘promise them anything’ was foremost in Wood’s mind?
Marc: And of course, we can’t talk about this film without mentioning Bela Lugosi. This film was actually completed after his death, but used some stock footage of him that Ed Wood Jr. had in his possession. Due to Lugosi’s death, however, when they wanted him to do something extra, they used a stand in, that would hold a cape up to his nose to hide his face.
Yasmine: And apparently the stand-in went on to make another movie with Ed Wood. He was allowed to show his face in that one. Seriously, though…I do find it sad that Lugosi had been reduced to this by the end. However, he gave it his best—I have the feeling he was one of the old school actors who, regardless of the source, gave 100% to the part.
Marc: All in all, this is a strange little movie. Grab a copy, (enter the contest- hint-hint) get some friends round, get the snacks ready , sit down and be ready to riff on it. You’ll find no shortage of things to comment on in this stupid, stupid, stupid movie!
Yasmine: And don’t forget to look for the phrase, “Stupid Stupid Stupid” in it. *laughs* And don’t forget the drinking games. But I recommend softer alcohol or you’ll end up passed out on the floor.