‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’ and great art
Now there’s an April Fool’s Day headline if ever a wiz there was.
Plan 9 From Outer Space is on plenty of lists of the worst movies ever made, and it IS a bit of a train wreck in many ways. But still …
That opening line — “We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives” — is profound in a way, isn’t it? Ed Wood was onto something, and he became immortal in an unintentionally funny sort of way, and hey, all we of Earth ARE idiots, aren’t we?
We discover a doomsday device, and beings from other worlds come here to stop us before we innocently destroy the universe. In other hands great literature or great cinema might have been made with that theme.
Plan 9 From Outer Space amuses us with its shlockiness and poor production values before nudging us with a realization — hey, this film is trying to say something important, and maybe in the back of our minds we come away with less anger and a greater reluctance to use our doomsday devices, and the next time someone says, “Let’s turn that country into glass and rubble,” instead of nodding and saying, “Yes, let’s,” maybe we’ll say, “Really? Are you an idiot?”
I love Plan 9 From Outer Space — not in the way I love Casablanca or Arrival — but because he wanted to say something important, and OK, maybe he didn’t create what anyone considers high art, but he got it said, and we hear it, and the world is a better place for it, even if we miss the message and just laugh, because we need to laugh, we need desperately to laugh. Maybe we even think about that important thing he was trying to say and realize we heard more than we realized.