Monday, August 24, 2009

Rifftrax does Plan 9 From Outer Space live

By Steve D. Stones

Earlier in the summer, I had the opportunity to see my favorite cult
film of all time, Plan 9 From Outer Space, on the big screen at a new
library in my community. It has been a life-long dream of mine to see
Plan 9 on the big screen. That dream came true twice this summer with
the Rifftrax special engagement of Plan 9 From Outer Space, which played
in theaters for one screening only on Thursday August 20th. Rifftrax is
presented by three comic geniuses, Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill
Corbett, who were responsible for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 TV
program, which aired from 1988 to 1999. In recent years, all three have
also been involved in a project known as The Film Crew.

When I purchased a ticket and arrived at the movie theater, I was not
aware that the Rifftrax screening would be in “real time.” I assumed it
was pre-recorded like any other film playing in a movie theater. My
first clue should have been that it was a one-time screening, and that
the ticket cost $12.50. With that price, I thought perhaps I was
attending a rock concert of some washed up 1980s Heavy Metal band. Not
that I’m complaining. The screening was well worth the ticket price.

Broadcast from the music capitol of the world, Nashville, Tennessee, the
screening began with a music performance encouraging audience members to
sing, “All we want to do is eat your brains!!” Then, a 1940s short
entitled: The Flying Stewardesses was shown. It seemed appropriate to
screen this short, since Plan 9 casts a stewardess, played by Norma
McCarty. The short was hilarious. Nelson, Murphy and Corbett kept the
audience busy with laughter. My own laughter brought me to tears with
many of their comments. I have never attended a movie where the audience
members were laughing so frequently. This was a lot of fun!

As I watched the Rifftrax Plan 9, I observed that many of the comments
made were some of the same comments Mike Nelson makes for the commentary
of the colorized version of Plan 9, put out by Legend Films. For
example, in the opening scene where Bela Lugosi is attending the funeral
of his wife Vampira, Nelson observes that you can see Lugosi’s heroine
kick in as he begins to express emotion for the loss of his wife. Or,
as Criswell opens the film, Nelson makes the comment “Keep those cue
cards steady for Criswell.” Also, as pilots Gregory Walcott and David
DeMering sit inside a barren ply wood cockpit, Nelson says: “Look at all
that instrumentation! How do these pilots keep track of anything?”

My only disappointment with the Rifftrax screening of Plan 9 is that
they used the same colorized version of the film that was put out by
Legend Films. It was obvious to me because in the scene where Mona
McKinnon is lying on her bed in a night gown as the phone rings, you can
see one of the pictures hanging on the wall behind her bed has been
changed to a color photo of a couple. That picture is not in the
original black and white print of the film, and was inserted by the
folks at Legend Films as a gag. I much rather prefer the black and white
print of Plan 9.

Although Rifftrax already has a Plan 9 DVD out on the market for sale,
it will be interesting to see if they release this one time screening
version onto DVD in the near future. Perhaps Criswell once made the
prediction: “In the near future, I predict Rifftrax will release a Plan
9 DVD version that will entertain you for years to come!”


RiffTrax said...

We did release the live show!

You can watch it here:

RiffTrax said...

We released RiffTrax Live: Plan 9 from Outer Space

You can watch it here: