Edward D. Wood Jr's 1959 film "Plan 9 From Outer Space" has been called “The Worst Movie Ever Made” but despite earning that title the film has a massive cult following. That’s probably because of all the heart and soul that went into making the film which was brilliantly displayed in Tim Burton’s 1994 film “Ed Wood”. This past November at the Maverick theater in Fullerton, CA, Brian Newell presented his live stage adaption of the cult classic! Since I am huge fan of Wood’s work I could not wait to attend this play!
One of the things that is most loved and hated about the film are the low budget special effects. The stage production paid tribute to those effects by recreating them right off stage. They had miniature props set up in from a video camera that was projected on the background of the stage. I thought that this was a genius way to stay true to the aesthetic of the film.
Other elements that make the film “bad” is the slow pacing, the less than stellar acting, and the glaring plot holes. In the play they approached these issues by acknowledging them with humor. The very tongue in cheek performances and gags let the audience know they were in on the joke but love the source material regardless.
The actors that played the roles of "Inspector Daniel Clay" (portrayed by Tor Johnson in the film) and “Vampire Girl (portrayed by Mailia Nurmi aka Vampira) were very impressive! Being that I love Vampira, it was great see such a wonderful representation of her on stage. And there are not that many people on earth that resemble the late Tor Johnson but this guy was spot on! A lot of the action takes place not only on stage but sometimes in the audience. It was great to see the production break the fourth wall and let the audience be surrounded by all the action. I really felt like I was transported right into the middle of the film!
Overall I absolutely loved this play! Even though it was very funny, I was laughing with the play, not at it. And the way they did the special effects was absolutely genius! It was not a mockery, it was a loving tribute that captured the heart and soul of the film. I will make sure go see this play every year that they put it on! Brian Newell also puts on yearly runs of “Night of The Living Dead” and “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” and after seeing this production I can’t wait to see those plays as well!
Plan 9 From Outer Space Review
by James H. Carter II