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Trent Film Society Presents: Ed Wood’s “Plan 9 From Outer Space”

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It’s so hard to believe that we have made it down to our final two films of the winter semester. It’s shocking to realize how fast this school year went by and we here at TFS are disappointed that this semester is already coming to a close. On the bright side of reaching this point in the school year however, we are finally able screen our much anticipated back to back themed screenings of films that are “so bad that they’re good”.

We figured that the best way to end the school semester would be with a bunch of silly fun, and it would be nice to enjoy films that are unintentionally funny and will add some levity to our very stressful exam period. The first of these two films that we will be screening is the magnum opus of unintentionally funny movies, Plan 9 From Outer Space by king of awful cinema, Ed Wood.

Due to the immense success of our screening of Ed Wood, the underrated biopic of Plan 9’s director, we have had many people ask us if we could screen the original film which inspired Tim Burton’s excellent biography, so by popular demand, we here at TFS are proud to present this very bizarre film.

The plot for Plan 9 is rather simple: In order to prevent the human race from assembling a doomsday weapon powerful enough to destroy the entire universe, a band of extra-terrestrials implement Plan 9, a plan which involves raising all of the Earth’s dead humans as an army of “ghouls” to terrorize the human race into abandoning the weapons creation.

With a premise such as this, it’s hard to imagine this film not taking turns for the worst, and my God does it. From all of its glaring issues, pretty much messing up on every aspect of the filmmaking process, Wood seems to be not fully aware of any of the nuances needed to make a functional film.

For example, Wood makes the bizarre choice of narrating the opening ten minutes of the film, in an attempt to develop his (still underdeveloped) characters, avoiding any need to use actual actions to give these characters personality or even an arc. Instead of adding depth to the films protagonists, Wood’s awkward narration makes the film feel like a radio show with immensely awkward acting as accompaniment.

The awkward acting continues throughout the film, with some actors visibly reading their dialogue off screen and others obviously reacting to off screen direction from Wood. Mix that with the overly expository and self-serious dialogue, much uninspired camera work, laughably bad special effects, and obvious use of stock footage and you are in for a hilariously bad film in every meaning of the word.

While the movie is basically atrocious on surface level, what sets this film apart from other awful films and helps make it become watchable is the fact that Ed Wood and the cast seem to have such a passion for making this film. While it by no means makes up for the films glaring flaws, such as its very obvious cheaply made sets (most notably is the airplane cockpit set piece, which is only made up of cardboard and a shower curtain), the reverence that Wood and co. have for the film, as well as the sheer enthusiasm that they have infused into the making of it is very infectious and also commendable.

It’s hard to deny how passionate Wood was for storytelling, and even though he never once actually produced a good film by any means, his ability to keep making films that he enjoyed making, much to the dismay of his naysayers, is somewhat of an inspiring feat. So, on that note, we would love for you all to join us at Artspace on Wednesday April, 13th at 8:00 p.m. for our screening of this very awful yet inspiring and hilarious film. Like all of our previous screening, there is no fee for viewing the film and everyone is welcome. We look forward to sharing this sure to be hilarious experience with you all.

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