30 Day film Challenge – Day 23

Posted: July 2, 2021 in Uncategorized

Day 23. But the weekend is coming! Can I make it?

This is a weird one.Obviously, there are oodles and oodles of directors who have passed on, so I could just pick Orson Welles and Citizen Kane and start celebrating the 4th of July early. But you don’t want that, do you?

You do? Oh…Anyway, if you’re still reading, then get ready for my pick for a film by a director who is dead, Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space. Or Glen or Glenda. Or Bride of the Monster. Or any of his crappy movies, really, but for the sake of the Challenge, I’ll go with Plan 9.

I don’t remember when I first heard of Ed, but it was probably around the early to mid-90’s in my rebellious Bad Movie Phase, which okay, pretty much continues to this day. In the years where most kids my age were trying to score booze or drugs or whatever, my friends and I would try and find bad movies to watch and make fun of. I know that does not make me sound very cool, but it was definitely fun. And this was where my appreciation of Ed Wood’s movies began. I also loved Tim Burton’s biopic, and keep your eyes peeled to leaguepodcast.com for our episode on that movie (as soon as I’m done editing it.)

So, the quick rundown on Ed was that he was at one time declared The Worst Director of All-Time by everyone in the world, and Plan 9 was once considered the worst movie. He’s probably been replaced by Tommy Wiseau and The Room in most people’s eyes since then, but Ed was the original. People were going to see his movies in art houses at midnight long before Tommy was even born. If you watch interviews with Tommy now, he pretends to be in on the joke, like he was intentionally making a bad movie to entertain people, but we all know that making movies was his dream and then when everyone laughed at him, to avoid embarrassment, he laughed, too. Ed Wood never admitted to making bad movies. He just kept trying to make better ones.

Ed was obviously quirky, but he had a personality that drew others to him and got them to keep coming back to help him make these terrible movies. When questioned about the poor special effects in his movies, he would preach that filmmaking is about suspension of disbelief. Oh, and did I mention that he was a cross-dresser? Yep, he had his quirks.

The funny thing about Plan 9 to me is that there are more ridiculous plots out there. The idea of aliens trying to resurrect dead to conquer earth ain’t so bad. I mean, there’s a whole bunch of alien invasion movies where the aliens’ plan is basically just to blow stuff up. At least Ed came up with a story. The problem was he had no training in actual filmmaking, no skill for directing, and no talent for writing. He just had an idea and a dream. Kind of like George Lucas.    

Plan 9 From Outer Space was to be his opus. But even with financing from a local Baptist church and the last footage shot of his dear friend Bela Lugosi, he still managed to make a pretty bad movie. I wouldn’t call it the worst movie of all-time, though, because to be honest, even Ed made worse movies. Sadly, after Plan 9, he started down a road of semi-pornographic movies, eventually making actual porn after around 1960, plunging into alcoholism and dying penniless. It’s kind of a bummer of an ending to his story, one that Tim Burton didn’t really cover in his movie. But that’s not the way Burton wanted to go, and that’s probably for the best. Ed was a positive guy, so he wanted to make a positive film about him.

I can’t even really recommend watching Plan 9. People say it’s so bad it’s good, but it’s really just bad. The real reason I picked this one, though, was because without Ed Wood, the whole sub-genre of “SO Bad They’re Good” movies maybe wouldn’t exist. Well, they would, because there are so, so many bad movies out there, but people probably wouldn’t appreciate them the way they do. At least, I probably wouldn’t. So, instead of recommending Plan 9, I recommend finding some other bad movie, inviting some friends over, since the country is opening up again, and having a few drinks and watching the Hell out of that thing. If you have never done that, then let me tell you from firsthand experience, few things bring friends together more than a good bad movie.

Home stretch. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow. And linktree!    

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