Plan 9 From Outer Space

It's not for nothing that 1959's Plan 9 From Outer Space is often hailed as "the worst movie ever made." Directed -- if that's the right word -- by the famously delusional shlockmeister Ed Wood, it's a hilarious bit of nonsense about space aliens who think they can conquer Earth by raising corpses from the dead in a Los Angeles cemetery. Wood's ostensible "star" -- ancient Bela Lugosi -- dropped dead after a couple of days' shooting, and his remaining scenes were covered by a younger, taller stand-in holding a black cape over his face. This revival version has been colorized (why?), but some things never change: Wood's most startling special effect is still the sight of flaming flying saucers passing in front of his lens; it's not hard to tell that they're actually tinfoil pie plates doused with lighter fluid and set afire. Great cheap thrills, in this or any other decade.

Plan 9, along with some of Wood's rarely seen home movies, screens Saturday, August 5, in the Midnight Madness at the Esquire series. Landmark's Esquire Theatre is at 590 Downing Street. For more information, call 303-352-1903.

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