Exclusive Interview: Plan 9 director John Johnson
By Ross Wildish - 8th March 2015
We recently reviewed Plan 9 - a modern take on Ed Wood's infamously bad sci-fi horror B-Movie Plan 9 From Outer Space.
We caught up with Plan 9 writer and director John Johnson, to find out more about his reasons and inspirations on revisiting the 1959 film and making his modern interpretation.
We Heart Horror: What made you decide to remake Plan 9 From Outer Space? The film is not considered brilliant by many, so remaking a film like that could be considered risky.
John Johnson: I have known Conrad Brooks (actor from the original Plan 9 From Outer Space) for many years now, and we would talk of Ed's work and crew on their many films and adventures and I always felt for the man. No matter how hard he would try, he never seemed to get a break. Then on the set of one of my other flicks, a PA in a hypothetical question asked me what film I'd remake if given the chance. And my answer…Plan 9 from Outer Space. Mainly for the reason that Ed meant for this film to be taken seriously and affect audiences in a hard way, but he just couldn't seem to get it there. So now - 50 years later - I'm gonna try. It's not so much a remake, as a tribute to the film and the man himself.
WHH: What did you decide to do differently with Plan 9, and what ideas from the original did you want to keep intact?
JJ: The skeleton of the original story is there, but the two films are very different - one being more than three zombies. Also our Plan 9 is more of a love letter to mixed genre films as well as Ed Wood and what he means as a filmmaker.
WHH: Was it difficult taking a film over fifty years old and translating it for modern day audiences?
JJ: Very much. Especially in how viewers have changed just in the last ten years. Theatrical films are very expensive and spend more time showing you their budget versus material. And when we made our film, we hoped to be compared to films in it's budget bracket. However, to our shock and excitement it has reached much further than just genre fans. The down-side is it is now being put up against those in the theater. I am very proud of the film and feedback we have been getting so far. It's a film to have fun with but if you watched the original first you will see over fifty homages. That being said, we made the film so that you wouldn't have to have seen the original to enjoy it. It's just a bonus if you have.
WHH: The film seems to take inspiration from the horrors of the late 1980s and early 1990s. How did you manage to make a film that reflects so many decades of horror at once, and was it a conscious decision?
JJ: Yes. I grew up on the horror films of that time and wanted to write my love letter to them as well. This movie in a lot of ways was a flag ship for me. Two strong love letters to Ed and the genre. Hopefully people will have fun with it as I did making it!
WHH: How did Mister Lobo come to be involved?
JJ: I had seen Lobo on the YouTubes years ago, and had him do a secondary commentary on one of my older films Deceptors - ripping the movie apart. Loved it, and Plan 9 was the next evolutionary step!
WHH: There are a lot of pretty mental scenes in Plan 9. Were there any crazy ideas that didn't make it in the end?
JJ: Not really. I kinda threw them all in there. Except I guess I originally planned on killing the dog in the cemetery but ran out of time.
WHH: What are you working on next?
JJ: House of Horrors! A monster mash up with Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, etc. Very dark and heavily researched. In fact we have live shows where we converse with the fans and talk about all the films and such as I study!