It’s very rare that I’ll actually be left completely speechless after I see a movie. The last time I can remember it happening was the first time I saw Dead Poets Society, and before that, Requiem for a Dream. While those are both good movies, they don’t even begin to compare to the masterpiece that I saw recently, titled Plan 9 from Outer Space. The plot is too complex to cover in detail, but it basically involves a group of noble aliens trying to convince the human race that a terrible future in which they destroy the universe is imminent. They utilize advanced technology to raise the dead and control them during this mission, which may sound silly, but it actually makes for some extremely dramatic sequences involving the main characters trying to find out just what exactly is going on. I’m not going to spoil the ending, as it makes even the twist at the end of The Empire Strikes Back look like the most obvious cliché in the book.
The acting is completely astounding in this film. I was amazed that Maila Nurmi, more commonly known as Vampira, could perform in a movie that’s so dramatic and mind-bending. This is also one of the last films that Bela Lugosi performed in, and it gives him an incredible send off! He plays a man who commits suicide due to the emotional torture he goes through after losing his wife. After the aliens raise him back from the dead, I literally could not even tell it was him. He just absorbs himself into the role so well that he seems like a completely different person. The lead alien, Eros, also deserves an honorable mention. I’m very shocked that Dudley Manlove didn’t have a bigger career after this role, because he absolutely steals the entire film. Never before have I seen such a powerful performance as the one he gives when delivering the bad news to the humans.
On top of the spectacular plot and breathtaking acting, the special effects were absolutely stunning. I hesitate to say it, but even though this was made in 1959, it honestly could give James Cameron’s Avatar a run for its money. It’s difficult to describe, but I never thought I would see a flying saucer style space ship look so damned real. The color was extremely vibrant, and I swear I had to check to make sure the movie wasn’t in 3D multiple times. I felt like the zombies really were a serious threat, and that I was there in the graveyard with the main characters about to enter the ship. The way they frame each individual shot only adds to this effect, I almost feel like I know nothing at all about movies after seeing what Ed Wood was capable of making a camera in this movie. Every single film present at the last Academy Awards looks like it was made by a first year film student compared to Plan 9.
I cannot recommend this movie hard enough. Drop whatever was on the top of your list of movies to see ASAP, and replace it with Plan 9 from Outer Space. I hesitate to make sweeping generalizations like this, but only the most stupid and ignorant people will have anything negative to say about this movie. Plan 9 handles the idea of humanity destroying itself in a way that is so dramatic and intelligent that it makes Planet of the Apes cry. Get a hold of a copy in any way you can, you will never look at film the same way again.
“Future events such as these will affect you in the future”