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.
Just for comparison, here is the trailer for the original Plan 9 From Outer Space:
- Source: Official Website via Avery