Friday, January 15, 2010

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)

Reliably inaccurate psychic Criswell clears his throat and warns audiences of "grave robbers from outer space" (the film's working title) as this Z-grade masterpiece from Ed Wood kicks off. Airline pilots report flying aluminum foil pie-tins wobbling through the California skies. Innocent gravediggers are brutally attacked by thin-waisted creature-feature movie host Vampira. At some point, police inspector Tor Johnson becomes a zombie (plot twist: no one can tell the difference). Bela Legosi dies in real life, does not become a zombie, is replaced by the director's chiropractor (plot twist: everyone can tell the difference). Cops scratch their foreheads with their revolvers and stumble over cardboard tombstones while muttering dialogue so inept, it doubles back to a Zen-like grace: "It's tough to find something when you don't know what you're looking for." Fey aliens wrestle with cheap prop curtains and cross their arms in salute just before their own zombies choke them to death. Smart viewers seek solace in illicit medication. A classic of its kind, as the kids say.

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