Review by Trylon volunteer Ben Schmidt
If I grabbed an Italian dictionary, with time and effort I could piece together a sentence or two. And were you to indulge me, I could talk my Italian to you. But I certainly wouldn’t be speaking it. Absent would be the nuance that allows one to compellingly connect to another through language. And experiencing an absolute absence of connection, despite intention, is perhaps the best way I can sum up watching Plan 9 From Outer Space. It’s pretty special.
An infamous film, Plan 9 is allegedly one of the worst ever made, and it’s likely you already do know this. If you know nothing more of it, resist the urge to educate yourself before attending. No amount of knowledge will help your mind wrap around the fact that aliens are using lighting to re-animate the recently deceased, so they can…do…something. This is the titular 9th plan, mind you. For a moment during one of the airplane cockpit (room) scenes I found myself wondering about the eight plans that had come prior. Did they all build up to this? Or had each failed, leaving these aliens desperate enough to bring an old man, a big man, and Vampira back from the dead? It doesn’t bode well that we’re in the alien spaceship (room) as (technically) Plan 10 is hatched and set in motion, seemingly on the fly. During this film, your thoughts will wander too. To magical places, I guarantee it.
Almost every scene contains an error or oddity. So other than pointing and laughing, is there any reason to see such a movie? Yes. For if you consider yourself to be anything more than an amateur movie lover, Plan 9 is required viewing. It is, along with Battleship Potemkin, Queen Christina, and This is Spinal Tap part of the shared history of film. I don’t mean to suggest that everything that ends up in a theater is. Others have thoroughly pointed out that some movies aren’t interested in being movies at all.
But Plan 9 wants to be a movie more than anything, in a sad, endearing, Pinocchio-wanting-to-be-a-real-boy sort of way. It may completely butcher the language as it goes along, but it’s doing its damnedest to speak movie to us. And that most certainly makes it worth the time.
As an Explorer, Ben hopes to one day visit the old oak tree at the end of Petaluma. Because it’s his dream, he can touch it if he wants.
Plan 9 From Outer Space screens Wednesday, September 24th at, and as a benefit for, the Pioneer and Soldiers Cemetery in Minneapolis. The show begins at dusk, and here’s where you can purchase tickets.