Terrible acting and wooden dialogue are so common in sci-fi horror films, that it’s almost tradition to make them intentionally bad. Some films pull it off well enough — it’s just bad enough to seem deliberate and remain in the realm of humorous. Plan 9 somewhat strides this line; some of the acting is genuinely terrible, obviously coming from people who have probably never acted before. The dialogue is at times unforgivably bad, not acceptable even within the context of the film.
However, there are a lot of moments in Plan 9 where this isn’t the case. Some of the scenes - particularly those involving writer, director and actor, John Johnson - contain some really funny, punchy dialogue that takes Plan 9 up a notch. Some of the scenes are really hilarious; one moment involves a young boy attempting save the day by driving a forklift truck at a horde of zombies. As his brother tries to intervene in his idiotic plan, he tries to calm his nerves by tapping on the windowless chassis of the forklift, saying “Don’t worry, this will stop them!” He is abruptly torn apart by zombies and stabbed in the heart with his own leg bone. The ridiculousness of the scene is likely to make any horror fan smile, and there is no short supply of laughs in Plan 9.
It’s clear that this is a film that is supposed to be an homage to the great sci-fi horror classics of old, in all their absurdity and splendour. The special effects are not that special, the acting is often laughable and the dialogue stiffer than a cadaver, but none of that really matters. At its heart, Plan 9 is everything that is great about all those classics. It manages to somehow embody decades of sci-fi horror in a single film — no small feat. It’s hard not to find something to love about Plan 9, even if it could use some tightening up here and there. If the aim of this film was to take the idea behind Plan 9 From Outer Space and improve upon it, then Plan 9 certainly succeeded.
Plan 9 is available on Australian DVD from February 18th.
Review: Plan 9
By Ross Wildish - 12th February 2015
Search "Plan 9 From Outer Space" on Google and you will find the reviews are generally not favourable. This is a film that to this day routinely makes many a list of the worst movies ever made. So the idea of remaking a film that has been so widely criticised is surely absurd, is it not? Apparently, not to some.
Plan 9 is an attempt at improving upon the 1959 sci-fi thriller, which certainly shouldn’t be hard to achieve given the negative opinions many have about it. However criticised Plan 9 From Outer Space may be, it has also gathered a cult following, and as with any remake, it’s important to keep the spirit of the original film intact. So then, that makes the objective of Plan 9 that much more difficult. It is a remake that has to both improve upon the original while still keeping faithful to it in some respects.
The basic premise of the 1959 film is still intact – aliens come to Earth and bring the dead back to life in order to stop humanity creating a doomsday weapon. It’s a pretty crazy concept and thankfully Plan 9 fully realises this, as do many of the featured characters. It’s a film that doesn’t take itself seriously in the slightest, which you really can’t afford anyway when you’re remaking what is to some the worst film ever made. It’s stuffed with so many sci-fi horror clichés it almost heads into the realms of parody.