Plan 9 From Outer Space
My Rating:

You gotta give 'em credit for trying!

Bitable Bytes:
"...a night of ... laughs ... !"
"So sexy!"
"The action is ............par excellence!"
"...a really positive thing...!"

What to do while watching:
Make a long distance phone call and tell the person on the other end that youšre watching "Plan 9 from Outer Space. Yeah, by that cross-dressing Ed Wood guy."

What to eat while watching:
Corn. Not pop, just corn.

Well, sure. The film Ed Wood with Johnny Depp in the title role did a good job of creating some interest in this off-Hollywood director and his band of misfits, but it didn't retroactively make his films any better. Little did I know--I thought I was in for a night of retro-slumming, laughing at an old-fashioned aesthetic. But there turned out to be absolutely nothing to laugh about.

The first disappointment was that the film had not been rewound. I sent a karmic slap on the wrist to that unknown patron of Family Fun Video. But after rewinding, I was in for some more unfortunate news.

Wood, Jr.'s script confronts all the narrative pitfalls head-on without fear: pretty much every line is back-story, dialogue is bland, and cliches are rampant. Lines are delivered with the subtlety of The Swimsuit Issue. But not so sexy.

Narrated by the 50's soothsaying "phenomenon," Criswell, the film takes its time. The action is extremely slow, I would guess even by the standards in 1959. An aging Bela Lugosi enters the young wife's bedroom and stands menacingly while she runs around him and out the door. Could you imagine something like that happening in any other horror film made within the last 39 years? Vampira's big part is standing behind a tree, showing her fingernails--again and again. I guess when you find what you can do well, you keep doing it.

What interest I could muster for this film went almost exclusively to Tor Johnson, a vintage wrestler even then, whose dialogue is as slurry and brief as any pro-wrestleršs and whose zombie portrayal is the only thing par excellence in this movie.

So with a long week of work behind me, I lay on the floor, polishing off my steamed corn on the cob. I called my sweetie, whošs up north this week, and we chatted for a while. I sure do miss her when shešs away like this. I really am grateful for the way we can share our thoughts and our affection. I feel like we've got a really positive thing going between us. Anyway, when I hung up the phone, three flying saucers (described as "cigar-shaped" by one protagonist, though Išve never seen a bowler-hat-shaped cigar?) were hanging by thread in front of a picture of Los Angeles.

My eyelids grew heavy, and I went to sleep. And this morning as I dropped it into the slot, I realized that I too had forgotten to rewind. (Here comes that karmic wrist-slap back at me--Ouch!)

Well, you gotta give me credit for trying.

PS: Now aren't you glad I watched that for you? Now you don't have to bother renting it unless there really is nothing else to see. I'm glad to save you the disappointment that comes from renting a bad video! Let me watch it first, and I'll tell you if itšs any good. Just tell me what youšre thinking of renting, and let me do the testing. It's like youšre the royalty and I'm the royal taster!

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Gooden's Reading:

The Sun, "A Magazine of Ideas," February, 2000 issue

Gooden's Listening to:

The Aquabats - The Aquabats versus the Floating Eye of Death


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