Ed Wood Double Feature:Plan 9 from Outer Space and Bride of the Monster
Directed by Ed Wood. US. 1955, 1959. Ages 12+. 147 minutes.
Fri., July 3, 2009
Bride of the Monster (1955): "A masterpiece of involuntary farce by twisted genius Edward D. Wood, Jr. Lugosi is Eric Vornoff, a renegade scientist who has fled his native country to perfect a race of mutant supermen using an atomic gizmo (actually a photo enlarger strapped to a dentist's chair). Despite living in an isolated house in the middle of a swamp–with his growling assistant Lobo (Tor Johnson), whose scars change size, shape, and position with alarming regularity–he attracts the attention of the police (Tony McCoy and Harvey Dunn); an ersatz professor who is actually a spy sent to bring him home (George Becwar); and reporter Janet Lawton (Loretta King), who is investigating mysterious disappearances in the area. Craig and girlfriend Lawton take turns rescuing each other until Lobo destroys everything, leading to one of Wood's greatest finales–he actually uses cross-cutting."
"Lawton is the titular bride, although it is never clear who the groom is supposed to be: the evil doctor, Lobo; one of the doctor's mutant ubermenschen; or even Vornoff's pet, a giant fresh-water octopus. Nor is it explained why Vornoff has a wedding gown lying around the house. BRIDE is not quite as hysterical as PLAN 9, but it does have one of Lugosi's hammiest performances, while Wood's marvelously idiotic dialog keeps things moving along without stopping for breath–or logic. The final images of poor old decrepit Lugosi struggling in the arms of a motionless rubber octopus are incomparably bathetic." (TV Guide)
Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959): "The cult reputation earned by Edward D. Wood Jr.'s bizarre sci-fi epic has been one of the film industry's strangest "success" stories. Using two minutes of footage Wood had shot featuring his friend Bela Lugosi that was to be used for a never-realized project (Lugosi died days later), the bargain-basement director, responsible for such other noteworthy oddities as GLEN OR GLENDA?, BRIDE OF THE MONSTER, and JAIL BAIT, put before the cameras "the sworn testimony of miserable souls who survived the ordeal of graverobbers from outer space!" This claim was intoned with all seriousness by the film's host and narrator, famed TV psychic (and close personal friend of the director) Criswell, whose impassioned prologue and epilogue to PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE frame the fantastic tale of aliens using resurrected human zombies to conquer the earth. Alongside–or rather, as well as–Lugosi, the cast includes Vampira, a popular LA TV horror-show hostess; ex-wrestler Tor Johnson, a friend of Wood's; and Joanna Lee, who went on to become a highly successful TV scriptwriter.
"PLAN 9 could be the movie for which the critical cliche "it's so bad, it's good" was coined. Voted "The Worst Film of All Time" in a readers' poll for the 1980 book The Golden Turkey Awards, Wood's piece de resistance so shamelessly ignores all the rules of filmmaking that it's impossible not to be impressed by the director's implacable indifference to "production values." (TV Guide)