Plan 9 is one of those rare reimaginings that works. From the first trailer, it reminds me of the 80s remakes like the Blob or the Fly that would take a concept, throw in some homage, and then run their own way with it using modern techniques. It’s far more a re-imagining of the story then simply re-making it for a contemporary audience.
Plan 9 takes an interesting approach, I’ve always viewed it more as a sci-fi horror film – aliens, not monsters. This version of Plan 9 veers firmly in the monster direction, turning the film into a very zombie focused gorefest as opposed to the original which feels very much like a traditional 50s or 60s horror movie, including a lot of those tropes – the fake graveyard, the stereotypical characters, the underlit monsters. This modern retelling plants it firmly in 2016 with the kind of makeup effects and gore a modern horror fan would come to expect. It’s done with the blessing (and inclusion!) of Conrad Brooks, the last of Ed Wood’s troupe still with us which makes it all the better. I can’t wait to chat with him about this at Monster Bash!
Not everything is perfect – the CG looks like late 90s television quality FX and there are more than a few performances in the film that are less than polished. But these sins are forgivable because what the film does give us is a lot of fun. A while back I praised Midnight Syndicate’s feature film “the Dead Matter” for including not only horror actors from the convention circuit but also several Horror Hosts as well. The inclusion of Big Chuck Schdowski, and Count Gore DeVol made the film a great deal more fun and appealing to those of us into the genre. Plan 9 dives right into this same territory, casting Jerry Moore a.k.a. Karlos Borloff into a meaty role – a DJ that Wolfman Jack would be proud of. It’s a great fit for Jerry, being a musician himself and I completely buy him as the character. There’s also the indescribable Mr Lobo. Indeed Mr Lobo is the most perfect casting I’ve seen in a very long time. His exaggerated and intentionally stilted delivery on his Cinema Insomnia show makes him absolutely perfect to appear as the late psychic Criswell. It only takes a few moments of listening to him and watching him, it’s impossible not to believe he’s channeling Criswell the entire time! The fact that he bears is no physical resemblance to Ed Wood’s old collaborator makes no difference, Mr Lobo is absolutely perfect in this role – a role that has been expanded to include him not only as the narrator for the prologue, but also as one of the survivors fighting for their lives against the hordes of zombies that have been resurrected by our fiendish aliens.
Even the aliens have a grisly make over here, all them appearing as the same stranger, lurking in the distance. Thier true nature is only revealed when they open their mouths to reveal rows of razor sharp brown teeth (what IS it about sharp monster teeth in a human mouth that freaks me out so much anyhow?). It’s a good conceit, and director John Johnson manages to even sneak in the same motivation for these aliens as the ones in the classic film. We get a variation of that speech, “Humans using weapons beyond their ability to understand. Stupid!”. Somehow though, what sounded goofy and campy in Ed Wood’s now comes off as far more chilling here.
This is not a blockbuster like this summer’s The Conjuring 2, or 10 Cloverfield Lane. It’s not art (but then again, if you’re coming to a film remake of Plan Nine from Outer Space looking for art, you may need more help then I can give you). What it happens to be, is a fun romp through blood-soaked streets filled with fast, angry, rampaging zombies. When I was a teenager, this is exactly the kind of movie that I would grab off of the shelf at my local video store to watch with friends on a Saturday night. In fact, you know what? Nick’s birthday is this weekend – I might actually do just that. You should do the same. Plan 9 is available throughout the US on streaming platforms and at Wal-Marts everywhere.
-Photos unapologeticly stolen from facebook –https://www.facebook.com/plan9remake/ Post your photo with the movie and they’ll send you some goodies.