Plan 9 from space

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German title Plan 9 from space
Original title Plan 9 from Outer Space
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1959
length 79 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Edward D. Wood Jr.
script Edward D. Wood Jr.
production Edward D. Wood Jr.
camera William C. Thompson
cut Edward D. Wood Jr.

Plan 9 from Outer Space is a feature film with horror and science fiction elements by Edward D. Wood jr. from 1959 .

In a reader poll of the 1979 book The Golden Turkey Awards , Plan 9 from Outer Space was voted "Worst US Film of All Time". Due to its consistently involuntary comedy in dialogue and plot, Plan 9 from Outer Space achieved the status of a cult film . It is occasionally shown as a humorous insert at program film festivals. In its now large fan base, the film is still very popular today, mainly due to the detection of its numerous inconsistencies.

The computer operating system Plan 9 was named after the film.


The fortune teller Criswell sets the audience in the mood for the following occurrences with a monologue . Among other things, he warns viewers of very shocking and disturbing, hard-to-bear events.

Aliens are trying to get in touch with humanity because they fear that it could destroy the whole universe with a solar bomb. But the government denies the existence of the aliens. As a warning to mankind, the dead are to be resuscitated by means of rays. The spaceship lands in a cemetery. Three deceased buried there are resuscitated in the form of ghouls : an old man who was recently run over by a car, his deceased wife and the police inspector Clay, who was murdered by the ghosts of the two.

In the meantime, UFOs are being sighted across the country and are being fought by the army.

The Trent couple live right next to the cemetery. Mr. Trent is a flight captain and had previously witnessed a UFO apparition on one of his flights. In his absence, Mrs. Trent is haunted by the resurrected old man in the bedroom and flees through the cemetery, where the other undead are also ambushing her. But she managed to escape and was saved by a driver.

Eros and Tanna, two extraterrestrials, bring two of the undead to their ruler, who then gives the order to neutralize the undead old man by means of a beam in front of the police and the army. After the execution, some police officers and Colonel Edwards, an Army representative, investigate the cemetery with Mr. Trent. You leave Mrs. Trent alone in the company car with a police officer. This is then kidnapped by the undead police inspector. The men can now enter the spaceship and contact Eros and Tanna. Eros explains to them the reason for their visit, which Mr. Trent does not notice and attacks him. During the fight between him and Eros, the spaceship catches fire. People can save themselves; the two aliens are victims of an explosion during a desperate attempt to escape. The other two undead left on Earth cannot survive without the ship's radiation. The government decides to prepare the earth for the next supposed wave of attacks. The actually peaceful visit of the aliens was misunderstood by mankind.

Criswell gives the farewell speech and warns that even today aliens could live undetected among the people.


Ed Wood had already made the films Glen or Glenda and 1955 Die Rache des Strangler with Bela Lugosi , who had achieved world fame in the 1930s through numerous horror films , but above all through Dracula von Tod Browning . Before he could tackle his Plan 9 project from space , Bela Lugosi, whom Wood intended to use as a draft horse, died. So the film plot was simply adapted to previously filmed scenes. Only a few minutes with Lugosi can be seen in the film: Lugosi leaves his house and smells a rose, his attendance at the funeral of his wife and a few pictures of him in a Dracula costume. To make the whole thing “believable”, Wood used Tom Mason, his wife's chiropractor , as Lugosi's double in supplementary scenes. Since Mason had no resemblance to Lugosi, he covered his face with a cloak in all of his scenes.

The “fortune teller” Criswell, the TV announcer Maila Nurmi alias Vampira, who had previously always refused to act in Ed Wood films and did so in Plan 9 from Outer Space for financial reasons, and the wrestler Tor Johnson were not last through their participation in Plan 9 from Outer Space to cult figures of the trash culture.

Wood was able to win over members of a Baptist church as donors for the film , who wanted to finance a religious film ("The Billy Sunday Story") with the "profits" from the planned science fiction horror film. All actors and employees in the film therefore had to be baptized . At the ceremony, director Ed Wood is said to have pursued his penchant for transvestism and wore a dress. At the instigation of the Baptists, Wood had to change the original title Grave Robbers from Outer Space . “Tomb robbers” seemed blasphemous to them .

In Tim Burton's biography Ed Wood from 1994 with Johnny Depp in the title role, the production of Plan 9 from space is traced in detail. Unlike in reality, the work is already a great success at its premiere.

Film errors and inconsistencies

Sometimes the film is shown to film students at lectures to demonstrate how a film should not be made. Plan 9 from Outer Space contains a large number of inconsistencies that are considered "classics" of film errors :

  • Day and night alternate completely randomly several times in the course of the action.
  • At the beginning of the film the funeral of the old man's wife is shown. The grave diggers who then dig up the grave are not in a cemetery, and the grave is nowhere to be seen.
  • At the funeral there is already a very old and weathered looking tombstone on the grave. Gravestones are usually only attached after the burial.
  • The clergyman reads his prayer book during the funeral, but does not make a single mouth movement to indicate that he is speaking.
  • Bela Lugosi runs out of the picture. Screeching brakes can be heard off-screen, and the commentator announces that the man has been run over. The shadow of the standing man on the floor can still be clearly seen.
  • If spaceships can be seen in the picture, their engine noises can be heard. If the people they threatened are cut in the same scene, you won't hear anything from them.
  • The wires on which the ships are moved are partially visible.
  • Trent tells his wife that the spaceship he sighted was shaped like a cigar. In the picture you always see spaceships in saucer shape.
  • In the aircraft cockpit and inside the spaceship, the same equipment is sometimes used.
  • The shadow of the microphone can be seen in the aircraft cockpit.
  • The much too small tombstones and crosses fall over or wobble several times as the actors brush against them.
  • The clothes of the resurrected dead are not dirty, even though they have just emerged from an earth grave.
  • The policemen drive off in a police car and arrive in a completely different car.
  • Despite the knowledge of the great dangers in the cemetery, Inspector Clay goes off alone, and all other officers stay with the car.
  • Inspector Clay is buried immediately after his death, without a forensic examination or the like. Even a clergyman who gives the abdication speech is suddenly on the spot - at night.
  • The grave that can be seen before Inspector Clay emerges from it is much too small for him.
  • The Trents live just a few steps from the cemetery and are picked up by the police to investigate what has happened there. Nevertheless they drive up to the cemetery in the car.
  • The furniture shifts several times during the conversation between the Trents.
  • In this conversation, Trent calls his wife - played by Mona McKinnon - Mona, although her role name is Paula.
  • When captain Trent said goodbye to his wife for several days, he only took a lady's handbag as luggage.
  • Mrs. Trent's book lies open on the bed next to her while she sleeps. When the undead enters her bedroom, the book is opened elsewhere.
  • In Mrs. Trent's bedroom, after the appearance of the undead, a different picture hangs on the wall above the bed than before.
  • Mrs. Trent flees from the undead across the cemetery. After a cut to the undead you can see her walking the same route again in the next picture, but this time she falls in the middle of the cemetery through which she had already escaped. She then crossed the same scene several times.
  • When she escaped from the house, Mrs. Trent was barefoot at first, then, in the cemetery and when she was rescued by the driver, she wore shoes.
  • The undead accidentally loses its cloak and pulls it back on.
  • When the undead crumbles, only its skeleton remains. Strangely enough, his cloak is also preserved, but not his clothes.
  • Mrs. Trent is terrified when she arrives at the cemetery with her husband and the officers. Nevertheless, she falls asleep peacefully in the back seat of the car shortly afterwards - only guarded by the idiot policeman Kelton - while she waits for the men to return.
  • During the brawl between Mr. Trent and Eros, the fallen table suddenly disappears.
  • Through the movements of his eyes, Criswell clearly reveals that he is reading his monologues at the beginning and at the end of the film.


"Science fiction film that is considered the worst film of all time and lives up to this title in terms of content and form."

“Without exception, the cast was hideous. The special effects were ridiculous, and even the few scenes with Lugosi were pathetic. The scene in which Tor Johnson rises from the grave is the best five seconds of the whole film. "

On August 23, 2019, the film was shown as part of the Tele-5 series The Worst Films of All Time .

Further processing


In 1992, Flying Saucers over Hollywood (original title Flying Saucers Over Hollywood: The 'Plan 9' Companion ) was released, a documentary that deals in detail with the genesis of Plan 9 From Outer Space . Interviews were held with those involved at the time, such as Gregory Walcott and Carl Anthony, as well as with other well-known representatives of the horror / science fiction genre, including Forrest J. Ackerman , Joe Dante and Sam Raimi . Ed Wood's life and work are also discussed.

Color version

In 2006, the black and white film was subsequently colored for a DVD release by the US label Legend Films . In Germany, the color version was released on DVD on May 14, 2010 by SAD Home Entertainment.

Film adaptation as a play

Fifty years after the classic film was released, Wolfs Reviertheater premiered the worst film of all time in the Duisburg cabaret theater The Column on September 5, 2009 . Michael Hoch presented the theater script Plan 9 from Outer Space and directed a cheerful trash drama, which, likewise without special effects, with inconsequential dialogues, film errors and props from the toy department, produced a Dadaist adaptation of the cult classic very freely based on Ed Wood.


In 2015, a remake of the film called Plan 9 was made, directed by John Johnson .


  • Rudolph Gray: Ed Wood. The biography of the extraordinary Hollywood director. Heyne, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-453-08955-3 .
  • Ronald M. Hahn, Volker Jansen: The 100 best cult films. Heyne, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-453-86073-X .

Web links

Commons : Plan 9 from Space  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  2. Vampira was known from a "horror" show on television that she hosted. Shortly before shooting began, this program was discontinued.
  3. Gray, Rudolph; Ed Wood. The biography of the extraordinary Hollywood director; Munich 1995; ISBN 3-453-08955-3 , p. 121
  4. (video not available)
  5. ^ Plan 9 from outer space in the Lexicon of International FilmsTemplate: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used
  6. Joe Dante: Famous Monsters of Filmlands. Quoted from Ronald M. Hahn, Volker Jansen: Lexikon des Science Fiction Films 2 . Munich: Heyne, 1997.
  7. Flying Saucers over Hollywood. In the Internet Movie Database ( english ).