Saturday, October 29, 2005

Edward D. Wood's Major Contribution To Halloween Movie Fun

Halloween seems to become a bigger event even each year. And not only costumes but creepy films become a major part of this outrageous and fun holiday. No other 1950's filmmaker but Edward D. Wood Jr. produced some of most outrageous Halloween movie fun titles.

Edward D. Wood Jr. was the producer of the worst SciFi and horror movies ever made. His film Plan Nine From Outer Space is the greatest hilarious halloween party movie ever produced. Using a little bit of silent home movie footage shot in 1956 just before the death of Bela Lugosi, Ed Wood sought funding for an ambitious film to entitled Grave Robbers From Outer Space. But afte having to turn to a Baptist church for film investment, the church insisted that the title be toned down. In one funeral scene in the film, pastor Lemon from the church actually appears.

By 1959, a full three years after the death of Bela Lugosi, Ed Wood finally had enough funding to complete what had to be the most confused and awful screenplay ever, involving an absurd movie plot where aliens from outer space resurrect the dead as zombies or vampires to kill the living to prevent the development of a weapon that would threaten the aliens in the future. But with only very limited screenplay writing and filmmaking skills and only a few minutes of silent Bela Lugosi footage, Edward Wood produced what is generally considered to be very worst movie ever made. So bad in fact, that it is considered to be the "Citizen Kane" of bad movies by some.

Plan Nine opens with a terribly moronic dialog from psychic, Criswell that drones on about a silly view of the" future" that was supposed to be profound , but badly failed. Then part of the silent footage of Lugosi is used alng with moronic sound effects of an automobile hitting him. In the rest of the film, either silent footage of Lugosi is used, or of a chiropractor who is full foot taller than Lugosi attempting to play him in some scenes. This absolutely hilarious. In one scene Lugosi enters a home. The Chiropractor frightens the woman inside. And Lugosi leaves the scene outside. This is so awful that it's side splitting funny.

And the cast of actors was the worst of the worst. Former Swedish wrestler, Tor Johnson, for whom English seemed like a distant second language, stumbled over his lines as a police chief, but was soon resurrected as a 300lb. zombie. Paul Marco played one of the worst police officers ever, in this and one other Ed Wood film. Horsefaced actress, Joanna Lee played the alien woman. Crossdresser, John Breckenridge, grandson of former vice president John Breckenridge, played the alien leader. In fact Ed Wood was a crossdresser as well, and for no reason whatsoever, replaced a woman who faints in a scene by wearing a wig and nightgown in that scene. There was no reason at all for a "stuntman" use in the scene. It was simply that Ed Wood was odd.

One of the few things that worked well in the film was the use of former horror movie hostess , Vampira. Her scenes as female vampire were effective in the film. But nearly everthing else was a jumble of bumbled editing, bad props, poor acting and continuity errors. Some have counted as many as 88 continuity errors or other goofs in the film.

For lack of money the props used in the film were terrible. Flying saucers were actually Hudson hupcaps on strings. A shower curtain was drapped over a doorway to simulate an aircraft interior. A few old WWII war surplus electronics items and a chair and table were used to create the alien spaceship interior. Cardboard was used for the graveyard tombstones, and actors bumped into these and they freely flopped around in some scenes.

Despite the very best intentions of Edward D. Wood to create a very great science fiction and horror classic, the result is unintentionally one of the worst films ever, and one of the most enjoyable and hilarious films ever made. In the Mel Brooks classic film, The Producers, two schemers oversell shares in the worst possible play with the worst possible actors in an attempt to defraud the investors. But Edward D. Wood used the worst possible actors in the worst possible screenplay in a terriby failed attempt to make money for investors and himself, yet just like the Springtime For Hitler play in the producers, the effect is hilarious.

There are many films one can enjoy for a Halloween movie party. But Plan Nine From Outer Space is the king of bad films. It's perfect Hallowween fun.


At 7:33 AM, Blogger Gef said...

Thanks for that mate, I am still pretty new to this so your info is great!
Randy Blue


Post a Comment

<< Home