Plan 9 is launched — Again!

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A while back, director John Johnson announced that he would be remaking “one of the worst films ever made”, Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space (US-1959; dir. Edward D. Wood Jr.), in which invading aliens resurrect the dead to form an army of zombies. The film is pretty bad, though the exuberance and cinematic self-delusion of Wood has become so iconic, thanks in some measure to Tim Burton’s excellent biopic, Ed Wood (US-1994; dir. Tim Burton), that the film is now considered a cult classic and still garners new fans as the years roll by.

As part of the original film’s 50th anniversary, Johnson and his production company, Darkstone Entertainment, are in the process of filming Plan 9 — “a serious-minded retelling of the original story, paying homage to the spirit of Wood’s film without resorting to camp or parody” (Official website). Johnson says that Wood’s intention was to make “a very scary sci-fi horror film” and that is his aim in doing the remake. As part of his “homage”, he has cast Conrad Brooks in his remake. Brooks is the sole surviving member of the original cast and crew.

From the look of the teaser trailer, Johnson’s remake takes on board developments in cinematic zombie lore that we’ve seen over the past 50 years, as his “zombies” are much more part of the whole Romeresque zombie apocalypse meme than anything Wood could have imagined, let alone realised on film. I’ve never been a fan of the original, always feeling sadness rather than any sort of elation while watching it — sad for Wood and the vast discrepancy that existed between his passion and his ability, and sad for Bela Lugosi and what he had been reduced to by the end of his life.

But it’s good that people are still being driven by the desire to pay homage to Ed Wood. Thankfully — at least from the high-quality appearance of the trailer — Johnson’s “homage” doesn’t include reproducing Wood’s sadly-wanting filmmaking techniques.

Johnson is unsure if his film will receive a cinema release when it is completed — that is presumably still under negotiation — but at least we can look forward to the eventual DVD in 2010.

Trailer:

Just for comparison, here is the trailer for the original Plan 9 From Outer Space:

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3 Responses to Plan 9 is launched — Again!

  1. Jeff Ritchie says:

    Oh dear is nothing sacred. Besides Bela being sadly misused here, the film is good for a hoot (the original not the remake).

    Still don’t think it is the worse movie ever made, heck at least Ed was doing the best he could, and I’ll take the movie over some of the half arsed attempts coming out of Boredwood currently.

  2. Avery says:

    I think this remake actually looks good and interesting. Not very necessary but still could be cool. I’m in!

  3. Backbrain says:

    You know, Jeff, I find it hard to see this as any sort of violation. Wood’s film will still be there — and as bad as ever — for those who can tolerate it (not me, I’m afraid — the best thing Ed Wood ever did was inspire Tim Burton’s film about him). But Johnson even has the decency to call his film by a different (if only truncated) name. And a good zombie movie could easily result from the idea that aliens resurrect the dead as part of their invasion plan. As for Hollywood’s current crop, I always remember the maxim: “90% of everything is crud” (though I’d be more optimistic about the percentage myself).

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