July 22 in Sci-Fi History: Plan 9 from Outer Space

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Sep 3, 2019, 7:15 AM EDT (Updated)

So. Ed Wood. A hero of filmmakers everywhere, he inspired people like John Waters and Tim Burton to make the best kind of movies: low-budget, get-it-done, scrappy stories made quickly.

On this day in 1959, Plan 9 From Outer Space premiered.

Originally titled Grave Robbers From Outer Space, the movie is about aliens who come to Earth to stop humans from destroying the universe. Which … like, great. We'll take it. Plan 9 turns out to be a plan to raise the dead, who will kill the living. Easy.

Interestingly, Wood had shot Bela Lugosi for a different film but used that footage in Plan 9 and credited Lugosi posthumously.

While we're at it, here's a clip from Tim Burton's movie Ed Wood where Martin Landau (rest in peace) portrays Lugosi (and won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for it).

Plan 9 From Outer Space also stars Vampira, who Wood hired shortly after her own series The Vampira Show was canceled.

Ed Wood is often called "The Worst Director in History," and frankly that's super unfair. We will always contend that some of the best art in the world is held together pretty tenuously. That's what makes it fun.

And let's be clear, there are worse movies. Today is also the day that The Island premiered in 2005. A good concept turned into a meh movie starring the usually great Ewan McGregor and (sigh) Scarlett Johansson.

Tomorrow: Hale Bopp Ice Cream Cones.