Plan 9 From Outer Space

Year Of Release: 1959
Running Time: 78 Minutes
DVD Released By: Image Entertainment
Directed By: Edward D. Wood Jr.
Writing Credits: Edward D. Wood Jr.
Filming Location: San Fernando, California, USA

Starring: Vampira, Tor Johnson, Bela Lugosi, Gregory Walcott, Mona McKinnon, Duke Moore, Tom Keene, Carl Anthony, Paul Marco, Dudley Manlove

Tagline 1: Aliens Resurrecting The Dead! Flying Saucers Over Hollywood!

Tagline 2: Unspeakable Horrors From Outer Space Paralyze The Living And Resurrect The Dead!

Alternate Titles:
Grave Robbers from Outer Space (1958) (USA: working title)
Vampire's Tomb (1958) (USA: working title)

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
Funded by a Baptist church, the entire cast let themselves be baptized. The aliens obligingly fly by the ABC, CBS, and NBC buildings in Los Angeles. The police cars and uniforms are authentic: one of the actor's sons was a policeman and supplied the equipment. Bela Lugosi died four days after shooting began Wood abandoned the project and rewrote the script to accommodate all the footage shot in a cemetery and outside Tor Johnson's house in the new production. Béla Lugosi's part was taken over by Tom Mason, Wood's wife's chiropractor, who was significantly taller than Lugosi, and played the part with a cape covering his face. Wood's original title for the film was "Grave Robbers from Outer Space", but the Baptist ministers who financed the film objected to that title, so he changed it to "Plan 9" (never making any reference at all to what the previous eight plans were). A video release, making note of the actor's death before production began, lists on the cassette box, "Almost Starring Bela Legosi".The scar worn by actor Tor Johnson had to be moved every day, as it caused severe skin irritation.

Cast Of Characters
(Reviewers Note: I would have included Bela Lugosi and Patrolman Kelton in the characters section but I couldn't get a decent screenshot of either of them out of this movie. Lugosi didn't have that big of a role, and Kelton wasn't as good and didn't have as big of a part in this film as he did in Night of the Ghouls.)
Criswell: Yes folks he's back, and he's narrating in that annoying voice again. I swear that if you listen to him long enough, you would probably find yourself hypnotized.

Jeff Trent: He's an airline pilot, a tough guy, and kinda dumb all at the same time. He's married to Paula who's probably more trouble than she's worth. He does a real good job of piloting a plane with no real controls or gages or anything. Now that takes some talent.

Paula Trent: She's Jeff's wife. She gets chased by zombies and faints a lot. If it wasn't for the fact that she gave the zombies someone to chase around, there'd be no point to even having her in this film.

Lieutenant John Harper: He looks like a cop, he talks like a cop, and he even dresses like a cop. Unfortunately he comes off more as an actor playing a cop than he does an actual cop. Which is actually what he is, so I guess he's bringing a little reality to the role.

Eros: He's the commander of the alien plot. He overacts a lot, doesn't come off as being very tough, and looks really bad in a roller disco outfit. Aside from almost getting strangled by one of his own zombies, he really doesn't accomplish very much. His mission is to raise the dead to serve them but in all the time he's at it, they only manage to raise three zombies. I guess that's all the budget could handle.

Vampira: She's pretty hot for a zombie chick. Vampira who goes unnamed in this movie, was the old man's (Lugosi's) wife. She was the first to be raised and didn't do much other than wander around looking stoned to the begeezers.

Inspector Daniel Clay: Why is it that whenever Tor Johnson plays a monster in one of these types of movies, he always walks around looking like he ate some bad turkey or something? He was the police inspector who became the third zombie after being attacked by Vampira and the fake Lugosi. It's a good thing they turned him into a zombie, because the zombies didn't say anything. Tor Johnson's line delivery was horrible.

The Ruler: This guy is the ruler of the alien mother ship and the big cheese in charge of all operations. He comes off as a serious drama queen and has very little patience for Eros and his slow moving plans for the conquest of the Earth. He almost got to watch Eros get strangled by Inspector Clay, but unfortunately, they stopped him in time, which is a pity, because I think he would have enjoyed seeing that.

The Plot
Aliens become concerned by mankind's growing destructive capabilities and come to Earth with a plan to stop them from someday developing a weapon capable of destroying the universe. I'm not really sure what that plan is, but it seems to waver back and forth between destroying all life on Earth, and just getting them to admit that there's life on other worlds so they can work together with us to save the universe. In any case, part of the alien's plot is to bring the dead back as zombies that they control with electrode guns. The zombies are used to kill anyone who threatens to expose their sinister plans.

What The Hell???
1. Well I guess sticking the DVD in the stupid player would be a good idea if I want to get anything done on this review huh? You'll have to forgive me if this review is a bit funky. I'm kinda half dead and out of it right now, but I haven't posted a review in five days and I don't want to make my adoring fans wait any longer. See how I suffer for you people?

2. And here we go with Criswell again and his "Criswell Predicts" segment. Just as in Night of the Ghouls, we're treated to words of wisdom from the infamous Criswell himself. Now #1 he's got an annoying way of speaking, and #2 I'd love to see this guy sitting in one of those dunk tanks like they got at the carnival. I swear to god I'd pitch a no hitter. Even just dunking him once would be a memory I'd treasure for the rest of my life. Why, I'd even take pictures so that the legacy I created by dunking Criswell could be passed on to my children, and my children's children, and my children's children's children, and my children's children's children's children, and um... What? Oh right, the movie. Let's get back to it.

3. This segment is called "Criswell Predicts" but he's not actually predicting anything, he's just kinda rambling on and on about the future and how we're all concerned about future events because they affect us all and blah blah blah... I think Miss Cleo could do a better job of predicting than this guy, and considering she's now been busted on fraud charges, that's saying something! (That last part came from my wife Sharon. I got lucky enough to marry a girl who likes B-Movies. How cool is that? In fact, here's a picture of her with our dog Missy. Sharon watches the movies with me while I review them.)

4. The movie opens on a funeral. The gravediggers are sitting on the ground off to the side waiting for the funeral to be over so they can fill in the grave. Bela Lugosi is one of the mourners at the funeral. Seems that it was his wife that died. I guess opening the movie with a funeral is kind of appropriate considering that Bela Lugosi himself died during the making of this film. Let's have a moment of silence for the passing of a screen legend.
5. Next we cut to a scene of what's supposed to be an airplane cockpit. Their steering controls are ridiculous looking and there's no instrumentation in site. The steering wheels are just a half circle piece of plywood attached to a two-by-four. The plane just got buzzed by a UFO that was hanging by a string that was clearly visible. The UFO was cooler looking than the cockpit of the plane.
6. Apparently the UFO came down by where the two gravediggers were burying Bela Lugosi's wife. They got creeped out by the sound and started to leave. On their way out, they come across the Vampira zombie who emerges from a crypt looking like she just smoked about three crack rocks all by herself. The grave diggers scream like they were gettin' killed or something and then the scene fades out. Man, if I saw a Vampira zombie poppin' up out of a crypt lookin' like that, I'd totally be in the mood for a little necrophilia. It's a good thing dead bodies don't all look like Vampira, or there'd be a lot more necrophilia in the world. Fortunately, some dead bodies look like Tor Johnson. That's enough to put the nail in anyone's necrophilia to speak.

7. The next scene is Bela Lugosi walking out of the house he shared with his dead wife. He had died by this point, and this scene was actually shot for another movie or something. They used the footage because he said nothing in it and it fit the movie. Criswell narrates the scene since Lugosi doesn't say anything, and the last thing he says is that Lugosi is leaving the house, never to return again. Lugosi walks out of the scene and we hear car tires screeching and a man screaming. There's something kinda not cool about killing a guy who's already dead for real. Then again, I guess Ed Wood didn't have the budget or the technology of The Crow when he shot this movie, so he couldn't finish it without Lugosi. Come to think of it, that's probably a good thing. There's nothing cooler than UFO's hanging by visible strings in a B-Movie.

8. Oh damn! Vampira was Lugosi's dead wife! Well, I guess that's appropriate now isn't it? As a note of interest, Vampira actually had a speaking part in this movie, but she was so offended by how stupid the lines were, she refused to say them. Ed Wood let her do the whole movie silent. Another thing I want to mention here is that there's mourners coming out of a super cheap looking crypt entrance that is supposed to be Lugosi's crypt. It's a really small thing and about five people come piling out of it like clowns out of a clown car in the circus. I just thought that was funny. Anyway, as they're walking away from the crypt, one of the mourners spots the two grave diggers laying dead on the ground and screams. I think it would have been funnier if they had just been drunk or something and started getting up in a drunken stupor. The mourner chick would think they were zombies, pick up one of their shovels, and then just as they were standing up, she'd brain them with it. Sadly though, I didn't have anything to do with the writing of this film so that didn't happen.
9. The police show up and inspector Daniel Clay hits the scene along with our old friend, Patrolman Kelton. Inspector Clay is played by Tor Johnson and I think this is the first time I've ever heard him speak actual words in a film.
10. Hahahah! While they inspector was talking to Kelton, they showed the scene of the two grave diggers laying on the ground. I guess the two guys who played them weren't available that day because the "bodies" were actually just two stupid looking dummies! God I love Ed Wood movies!
11. Now that I hear Tor Johnson actually delivering dialogue, it becomes clear why he never did it too awful much. He's in serious need of a dialogue coach.
12. The Lieutenant is kneeling by the bodies now talking to Kelton. He says that it looks like a bobcat tore into them. Now I don't know if any of you have ever seen a bobcat, but #1 they aren't that big, and #2 two guys with shovels would easily be able to fight one off. Couldn't they have come up with a better animal than a bobcat? Sheesh!

13. The next scene is Jeff the pilot talking to his wife telling her that he saw a flying saucer and that he had been silenced by army brass and he couldn't talk about it. As he finishes talking to her about it, a flying saucer flies by and a big wind shoots up and blows the crap out of their patio. As I've said in so many reviews before, I'm not sure what that was about. Consequently, the UFO flew over the graveyard as well, which makes sense considering that Jeff the pilot seems to live right next door to the friggin' place. Man, I'll bet that house was cheap.

14. The UFO lands in the cemetery where inspector Clay is wandering around looking for clues. A very poor imitation of Bela Lugosi emerges from the crypt after the saucer lands and begins stalking the inspector. This guy looks nothing like Lugosi. But then again, he does have his face half covered with his cloak like a classic Lugosian vampire, so it's hard to tell at the moment. Vampira's there too. They got him surrounded. He shoots them, but it has no effect. Uh oh, he's dead Jim. At least we won't have to listen to him deliver dialogue any more.

15. There's a funeral now for the inspector. The pastor giving the eulogy sounds like Marlin Perkins from Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. The weird thing here is that Vampira is watching the ceremony but she's not trying to kill anyone.
16. Another note from Sharon here. The UFO's look like those salt things you use to put the salt on the rims of margarita glasses. The next scene has three of them flying around by the way, and for the most part, you can't even see the strings. It's nice to see that they spared no expense on the special effects in this movie.
17. Now the saucers are flying over Hollywood. News of it hits the papers. The people are frightened. Criswell feels the need to narrate. The flying saucers show up over Washington DC. The army comes out and sets up rockets. They shoot at the UFO's. The UFO's just hang there and wiggle a little as explosions go off all around them. It's sheer madness I tell you!!! Madness!!!
18. Turns out the army has been trying to contact the UFO's for a long time with no response. Then one day they attacked a small town. That's why the UFO's were fired upon this time.
19. WOO HOO!!! There's a mother ship! And now we get to see the aliens. That's funny, they look just like us, and so does their electronic equipment. They're discussing Plan 9 now. The plan involves raising the dead to use against the living. Apparently, these guys use their electrode guns to raise the dead. Note from Sharon: They speak damn good English for aliens. What is this, Star Trek? Actually judging by their uniforms, it looks more like some kind of a 70's roller disco dance show. I feel like KC and the Sunshine Band are gonna pop out any minute here and start singin' Shake Your Booty.
20. Back to pilot Jeff's house now. He's telling his wife Paula that she should go into town and stay with her mama. She don't wanna go though. Much melodrama follows and it's decided that she'll stay. Unfortunately an unseen flying saucer lands just before Jeff leaves. This doesn't bode well for good ol' Paula.
21. The dead old man, (supposed to be Lugosi and in the last scene at least I think it was,) enters Paula and Jeff's house through the side door. You know the one. The one she told Jeff she was gonna lock. Now she ran out of the house and is being chased through the cemetery by both of the existing zombies as well as the newly risen Inspector Clay zombie. I just realized, these guys move around pretty good for a bunch of corpses. Fortunately for Paula, some local yokel who knows her finds her fainted along the side of the road and gets her out of there.
22. It's weird seeing real scenes of Bela Lugosi interspersed throughout the movie like this with the fake one included here and there with his face covered.
23. I just noticed. In the cockpit of the plane, they have this thing on the wall. It's got two hands on it and a whole lot of little writing. I don't know what it is exactly, but I just spotted that inside the space ship, they have the exact same thing on the wall! They also have a Jacob's Ladder and some other cheap, 50's looking electronic equipment on a table just to show how technically advanced they are.
24. Oh wow, it was the Jacob's Ladder electrodes that made the zombies function. They turned them off as the Vampira and Tor zombies entered the spaceship and they just stood there like they had smoked a half dozen joints or something. Funny thing is though, the Lugosi zombie was still approaching the spaceship. Shouldn't he have shut down too when they turned off the electrodes?
25. The ruler of the aliens is upset because Eros, the UFO commander, has only risen three dead humans from the grave after all this time. They brought the inspector in so the ruler could have a look at him. The girl alien's electrode gun jammed and the inspector almost strangled Eros. Luckily for him, the ruler got her to throw the gun on the ground to unjam it and that seemed to do the trick. The inspector went back into his half-dozen joint state.
26. The police Lieutenant, the Colonel, and Patrolman Kelton all show up to talk with Jeff and Paula. While they're talking, the flying saucer lands in the cemetery again and the fake Bela Lugosi get's out of it. It's making a funny noise and there's a stench in the air. Everyone hears it and then the fake Lugosi walks onto the patio where the people were all sitting. They shoot him a bunch of times but nothing stops him. Finally, the decomposition ray from the spaceship shoots the fake Lugosi and he falls to the ground and turns into a skeleton. Naturally, Kelton fainted from the shock of it all.
27. Man this cemetery looks fake. This whole movie has a really cool look to it though. Straight cheese, all the way.
28. Eros just ordered the alien girl to send the inspector after Kelton and Paula. Funny thing is, while Tor Johnson is walking around doing his zombie bit, he's always got this look on his face like he's got a rectal thermometer up his butt. Anyway, he just knocked out Kelton and took Paula out of the car to bring her back to the ship.
29. Apparently the aliens are here to stop the earthlings from developing a solaranite bomb. A solaranite bomb can apparently explode solar particles. Basically, it's capable of destroying the sun and the entire universe with it. Well, that would kinda suck now wouldn't it?
30. Another cop showed up to talk to Kelton now. Kelton is whining as usual and they head off to find everyone. They stumble upon Inspector Clay standing in the cemetery holding Paula. Kelton tells the other cop that guns won't stop the zombies. The other cop picks up a club and says that he's gonna crack Inspector Clay over the head with it and that Kelton should grab Paula when he does. The cop cracks the club over Clay's head and he drops like the stock market on a bad day. Now here's a note from Sharon: So guns don't have any effect, but you crack him in the head with a club and he drops? What the hell is up with that?
31. They're all throwing down in the spaceship now. Stuff is exploding and Jeff is beatin' the snot out of Eros. They all run out except for Eros and the alien girl. Eros is knocked out and the ship is on fire as it flies away. Note from Sharon: If they're so advanced, how come they don't have a fire extinguisher on the ship? Anyway the ship explodes as it's flying away.
32. We're treated to an ending monologue by Criswell and then a few credits and the movie's over. Well, that was enjoyable.

Best Quote

"Well, why do I always have to get hooked up with these spook details? Monsters, graves, bodies. Oh, all right."

- Patrolman Kelton whining again about how he always gets sent to deal with all the spooky stuff. - (Reviewer's Note: Does this guy ever not complain? This is the same kind of bitching he was doing in Night of the Ghouls when he got sent off to investigate the ghosts. How the hell did this guy ever become a cop in the first place?)

Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

Plan 9 From Outer Space
The Inspector Clay zombie has a go at Eros, the commander of the alien ships. You can't really blame him though. I mean hell, if somebody turned me into a zombie, I'd be pretty irritated too.

The Conclusion

This is only the second Ed Wood movie I've seen even though I own like seven of them. I'll get around to reviewing them all at some point. It's hard to watch this film and not compare it to Night of the Ghouls, which was the first Ed Wood movie I reviewed. There were a lot of striking similarities between the two films, but I found Night of the Ghouls to overall, a more enjoyable experience with a higher cheese value than this film. I know this particular film is a classic, and probably the most famous of Ed Wood's films, but I just enjoyed the other one more.

The plot in this film, although generally stable, had some points that just kind of floated around back and forth. The biggest one involves the aliens plans. One minute they want to help us save ourselves and work together, the next they want to conquer us. They kill anyone who could expose them, and yet they fly in plain sight over Hollywood and Washington D.C., exposing themselves quite frequently to anyone who wants to look up in the sky and see them.

It was a shame that Bela Lugosi died early on during the filming of this movie. I really think he could have added quite a bit to the overall effect they were going after. The real footage of Lugosi, mixed with the lame shots of the fake Lugosi, just kinda ruined the whole thing somehow for me. I think I would have rather seen them get a different actor entirely to play the part rather than to have done it the way they did. I realize that they probably didn't have the budget to re-shoot some of those scenes, and they wanted Lugosi's name on the film to help it sell, but there's just something not right in how they ended up doing it.

This movie did however have a nice cheese value to it. From the string guided flying saucers, to the 70's roller disco outfits of the aliens, there's plenty of cheese to go around, and anyone who says this movie is bad or stupid, just doesn't have the ability to appreciate what a good B-Movie is all about. Sure the plot doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and sure the graveyard and airplane cockpit look really cheap and fake, and sure you can see the strings on the flying saucers, but that's what makes this movie fun.

I think the world today is kinda broken down into two groups of people. On the one side you have people who have been spoiled by CGI effects and think that a movie that doesn't use computer graphic effects is just stupid looking and cheap, and then on the other side you have people like me and many of my loyal readers who believe that the movie going experience has been ruined by CGI effects, and that filmmakers should go back to doing things for real instead of just looking for the easy and snazzy looking way out. Do CGI effects look cool? Sure they do. But give me a good ol' Ray Harryhausen movie or a good flying saucer on a string movie and I'll be in absolute heaven.

I would have liked to have given this movie five bees, but because of the shifting plot and the Lugosi thing and a few other minor things, I'm afraid I had to knock off one half of a bee. This gives the film a final rating of...

B-Movie Central's Rating: 4½ Bees

Purchase this film from Amazon:

Purchase this film from Movies Unlimited:

Unseen Things: Origins

My series of contemporary fantasy / sci-fi novels, Unseen Things is now available through the official website, Amazon, Smashwords and other online retail sites.

BMC Facebook Page


If you enjoy this site, please consider making a donation.



Login Form