By Steve D. Stones
It has been a long time dream of mine for nearly twenty years to see Ed
Wood’s “anti-masterpiece” Plan 9 From Outer Space on a big movie screen.
That dream came true on Saturday June 20th, 2009 when a new local library in my community, the Pleasant Valley Branch Library in South Ogden, screened the cult classic in a state of the art “Black Box Theater.”
Doug Gibson and his family picked me up about forty minutes before the movie was scheduled to play. We wanted to make sure not to miss a single
moment of the film. I climbed into the Gibson Family van and
immediately began reciting lines from the film. “My friends, can your
heart stand the shocking facts about grave robbers from outer space?” I
was contemplating what it would be like to see Criswell’s head fill up
the entire movie screen as he said that line. What a treat this was
going to be!
The rain was pouring heavily during our drive to the library. This was
not going to spoil my anticipation of seeing the greatest “bad movie” of
all time in an actual movie theater. In fact, I wondered if Ed Wood
enjoyed rainy days and would see this as the perfect day to be showing
Plan 9 or any of his films.
The theater was completely empty when we arrived. This gave us a chance
to pick the best seats in the house. By the time the film began, the
theater filled to about 40-plus people. This was a bigger turn out than I
had expected. Doug and I found ourselves reciting lines in the film
before they were even said. We even jokingly made Ad Lib comments about
actors and their lines, much like Mike Nelson and his robots on the
Mystery Science Theater 3000 TV show. This was a lot of fun for us.
I was completely amazed at how great Plan 9 looked up on the big movie
screen. Criswell’s “spit curl” looked like a perfect ocean wave to “hang
10” on with your surfboard. Best of all, close-ups of Vampira gave
better details of her beautiful cleavage and shiny, phallic fingernails.
Many other details I had previously overlooked came to light on the big
screen. For example, I never noticed that Mona McKinnon is wearing a
blouse with sparkling glitter in one scene with Gregory Walcott. This is
a detail that gets lost on the small screen.
Another overlooked detail is the scene of McKinnon running around in her
nightgown in the cemetery. She runs past two wooden cross grave markers
lying flat on the ground. Everyone is familiar with the famous scene of
the paramedic knocking over a wood grave marker in the cemetery, but I
had never noticed McKinnon running past two lying on the ground before.
Close-ups of aliens Dudley Manlove and Joanna Lee at their headquarters
shows great contrast of tactile textures and patterns on the drapery
behind them. From a technical standpoint, Plan 9 looks so much better
when viewed on a big movie screen.
It should be noted that this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the
release of Plan 9 From Outer Space. This is all the more reason why I am
thankful I was able to see the film on a big movie screen. Now, if only
Ed Wood could have returned from the dead to make a few comments about his “anti-masterpiece,” that would have made the day even more complete. Happy 50th Birthday Plan 9!!! You do age like fine wine!