This documentary by Jose Prendes bravely uses a host of ‘talking heads’ to tell us that Plan 9 From Outer Space directed by Ed Wood, generally acknowledged as the worst film ever made, is an underrated work of genius.
The voice-over is weird and melodramatic and the ‘experts’ it wheels out are from cult filmmakers like Joe Dante, Mick Garish, Brian Yuzna and Fred Olen Ray to madcap actors posing as experts.
In Paranoia magazine, no. 64, February 2017, director Prendes tells how he put the film together by ringing up five ‘experts’ on the phone, and then after many rejections he had what he called, ‘my Hollywood contingent, and “my truth-telling doc was officially underway”.
Using secret codes to avoid harassment, he flew in the experts to an abandoned warehouse, and after a month of filming they were released to hide out before the film was made public.
As the film was in the pre-release stage, Prendres stated emphatically that he and his family had no intention of “committing suicide or disappearing off the radar”, and if this happened it was down to ‘them’.
Like the documentary itself, this is a self-knowingly camp and paranoid description of how the film came to life, which is very much in the mode of Ed Wood and his cinematic legacy.
What this production plays with is the hidden meanings of the movie. Horror screenwriter and director Tom Holland tells us that Ed Wood was compelled to do Plan 9 because he had been visited by aliens and experienced UFOs and needed to warn us of our impending danger.
The ‘experts’ read into every element of the movie, from the credits to little details in the scenes, which symbolise their own obsessions. These range from references to Eskimo history, the number 6, phallic imagery, the undead, hysterical women, homosexuality, feminism, the illuminati, zombies, orgies, gang bangs, monsters, dinosaurs, time travel, government conspiracies, atomic warfare and Jesus.
Sprinkled in are a few fascinating facts about the movie, for example, Dante tells us Vampira (Maila Nurmi) had a waist reduction for the role but after falling out with Ed Wood he cut out her speaking parts. Bela Lugosi’s scenes were filmed in 1955 and since he died in 1956, Wood used Tom Mason for additional scenes, who was a fitter and better actor.
You finally see the alien mothership, where the humanoid aliens decide on Plan 9 to resurrect the dead. Even screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski are puzzled to know what Plans 1 to 8 might have been!
Ed Wood was weirdly enthusiastic yet had little money and had lots of set backs, but he was still able to expose the TRUTH in Plan 9. Now this documentary experience honors his visionary movie for new generations, and hilariously gets to the bottom of the shocking and unspeakable horrors that await anyone who watches it.
UNSPEAKABLE HORRORS: THE PLAN 9 CONSPIRACY / DIRECTOR & WRITER & CINEMATOGRAPHY: JOSE PRENDES / STARRING: JOSTON THENEY, MARIA OLSEN, BUZ WALLICK, ARIELLE BRACHFELD, GRAHAM DENMAN, JOSHUA LOU FRIEDMAN / PRODUCERS: JESSICA AND JOSE PRENDRES / MUSIC: CHRIS LOTT / EDITOR: JESSICA PRENDES / SOUND: ROBERT REIDER / VISUAL EFFECTS: ADAM LIMA / RELEASE DATE: UK RELEASE TBA