Wednesday 31 October 2007

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) Edward D Wood Jr

You'd think that there wasn't anything left to be said about the legendary Plan 9 from Outer Space, but this was a new one on me in a few ways. I've seen the film before, of course, and quite a few times too, but always on the small screen and always in black and white. Through the Reels of Fury series of films hosted in Chandler, courtesy of Midnight Movie Mamacita (see, I've now been privileged to see it on the big screen and in colour no less. In this form many things are highlighted.

For a start the reuse of footage and sets is even more obvious than on the small screen. It's impossible not to realise that Bela Lugosi walking towards the graveyard is the same footage every single time he does so, and it's impossible not to realise that there really is only one graveyard set that the cast flounce through over and over. The theatre screen also makes it even more obvious when scenes switch from day to night and back again seemingly at random.

The colouration process was impressive. I'm not usully a fan of colourised films but it was done very well indeed and it was good to see Bela this old in colour, and Vampira's fingernails suddenly look awesome. Tor Johnson doesn't have a lot of colour even when he's in colour but he does look bigger and more impressive on such a bigger screen. The story is as nonsensical as ever and Wood's direction and editing just as inept, but it also remains just as fun. What a joy to see in a theatre.

Other things that made this screening so special included the inclusion of some home footage of Ed Wood and an amazing selection of his TV commercials, all of which were generic and modular with the details of any appropriate local company who footed up the appropriate fee to be added at the end. I also got to meet David Hayes, author of 'Muddled Mind: The Complete Works of Edward D Wood Jr' and who kindly signed a copy for me. It proves to be fascinating reading.

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