Archive for July 12th, 2016


Saucer graves2

By Stephen Mullen

Plan 9 From Outer Space is the poster child for a lot of things. Worst film of all time? So bad it’s good? Or more positively, as a piece of 0 budget filmmaking, and all that can go into that. But today, I want to write a bit about it as the poster child for the Limits of Intention.

Sorry that sounds so pretentious. But this is the point: that it is a hugely entertaining film, and while a lot of the entertainment value comes from mocking it, it’s not just ineptitude that makes it fun – there are some surprisingly clever ideas in there, though you can’t always be sure if they are supposed to be there. The film, even in a so-bad-its-good sense, holds its entertainment value. It is strange – see it a few times, and it might occur to you (it certainly occurs to me) that if you took the film as being deliberately made the way it is, as a parody, or as camp, or even as a low budget, slyly raw art film, it wouldn’t look much different than it does. Think about parodies, camp, art films – films like The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra or Sleeper, or Killer Klowns from Outer Space – or films by John Waters, Luc Moullet, Guy Maddin: what makes those good films in themselves, and Plan 9 not? Knowing what the filmmakers had in mind, basically. How different would Plan 9 look if it were intended as a deliberate parody? If you ignore the fact that Ed Wood was a real guy with a real career who made films as he did without that kind of explicit parodic intention – if you just accepted that he knew exactly what he was doing – would it be better? even that much different? (more…)

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