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The documentary looks at the impact PLAN 9 has had on our culture, and the events that led to its "re-discovery" years after its rather uneventful debut at movie theaters and drive-ins. It even interviews Sam Raimi and shows him doing a superb Groucho Marx imitation recreating the day Tor Johnson showed up on his quiz show, YOU BET YOUR LIFE.
When film critics, filmmakers, film school teachers, actors, and anyone else with insight to offer, in this documentary are interviewed, it is clear from the outset that while they appreciate just how many errors and flaws are in Plan 9, they respect Ed Wood for having got the damned thing made. As one interviewee says, the difference between Ed Wood and the people who seriously put him down is that in spite of his total lack of any resources one would consider conducive to filmmaking, he made these films. Not only do we get to see Ed Wood as a filmmaker and the struggles he endured in the process of his work, we also get some insights into the truly bizarre characters who made up his stock company. Getting to see who Vampira, Criswell, and Tor Johnson were outside of Ed's films makes this documentary worth the price of admission by itself.
By far the most amazing part of the documentary, however, is seeing how Plan 9 rose from being a discarded, forgotten piece of B-movie trash to the king of all cult films. Seeing a few samples of the dedicated cadre of followers it has, and hearing what they have to say, is garanteed to put a smile on the face of anyone who loves film. This is how a documentary should be done: with a love of the subject matter, and just a dash of self-deprecating humour. Hats off to the people who got it made.
1-Look Back In Angora 2-On The Trail Of Ed Wood 3-The Haunted World Of Ed Wood 4-Flying Saucers Over Hollywood/Plan 9 Companion
This is by far the best Ed Wood documentary of them all. No other documentary takes you on a tour of places like Quality studios (Where plan 9 was filmed) Or Yucca flats (The apartments where Ed spent his last days) It even visits Tor Johnson's old house where Bela Lugosi filmed his last scenes for Plan 9. Seeing the places that Ed Wood lived and worked was fascinating for me. I've been reading about these places and hearing about them in stories for many years now, it's very cool to actually see what they look like.
Unlike the other films that take a short peek at each of Ed's movies, this one spends less time on Glen or Glenda, Bride of the monster etc...And focus's on Ed Woods opus "Plan 9 from outer space" It takes a close look at the film with behind the scenes stories from the stars of Plan 9. Plus plays clips of the movie, pointing out the mistakes as they happen on screen. Of course they couldn't show all of them...They would need another 2 hours to do that.
I have been a fan of Ed Wood, ever since I first saw Tim Burtons film "Ed Wood" with Johnny Depp and Martin Landau (Oscar winner for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi) Although Tim Burtons vision of Ed Wood was a bit candy coated, I've learned that after further study of Ed from Reading about his life, and watching his movies. The cool thing about "The Ed Wood Story/Plan 9 Companion" is it seems to tie everything I've read or watched about Ed, together. I don't mind the poor production quality, MY GOD, I'm an Ed Wood fan, it's sort of sacrilegious to pay attention to silly details like that. It's a great tribute to Ed Wood and his horrible Masterpiece "Plan 9 From Outer Space" Oh and the soundtrack...The two original songs for the documentary are truly awful, and totally hilarious!!! I highly recommend this movie to everyone. If you love Ed Wood you'll love him more...If you've never heard of Ed Wood, You'll want to learn more.
I also would like to recommend "Nightmare Of Ecstacy, The Life And Art Of Edward D. Wood Jr." A Book By Rudolph Grey. The Tim Burton "Ed Wood" movie was based on this book. It's a must for every Ed Wood aficionado.
This has a lot of fun, valuable information about the movie but it's far too long. "Plan 9" is a silly movie and spending two solid hours paying homage to it is overkill. Also the budget for this was obviously criminally low. It's flatly directed and scenes wander all over the place. Still, fans of the movie will love this and it IS sometimes interesting. I give it a 7.
If actual documentaries were made about Wood, Johnson, Lugosi and Vampira on their own, that would be great. But we want to see the making of Plan 9 and we don't care about these overlong mini docs on the said people.
Because this is a doc made in 92 and shot on video, it feels kind of cheap and out of date. It feels like a doc made from a BETA video camera with bad sound. If the people who made this doc shot it on film, it would be as good as "The Making Of The Wizard Of Oz" doc made back in 1990.
Did we really need to see an overlong opening title sequence where a man in the background is playing with the ships on strings. The music we hear is a bad remix of the theme tune.
I thought Sam Raimi and Scott Speigel's appearance on this doc was pointless. All they did was a reenactment of Groucho Marx and Tor Johnson's banter on Groucho's radio show. I don't care!
And I couldn't make out a word Joe Dante was saying. Also the guy at the wrestling ring, who's idea was to have him interviewed in front of a wrestling ring with the noise of the wrestlers' activity. We can't hear what he is saying. All we hear is: "Well, I loved Plan 9 (BANG! BOOM! SMACK! BANG!).... I loved the movie because (BANG! CRASH! BANG!)"
And I hated the song in the credits.
But I did like hearing about the production values, people talking about Ed Wood, and the screenwriter reading off his list of things wrong with this movie.
Weather another doc will be made about this movie is pretty unlikely, but this one is worth watching if you like Plan 9. Just don't expect anything insightful or memorable from this doc.
It's not necessarily a documentary about the making of "Plan 9 from Outer Space" but more one about Wood's entire career, in which "Plan 9 from Outer Space" plays the central role, holding and bringing everything in this documentary together. It's something that works out well but can be deceiving for those who are expecting a documentary purely focused on the making of "Plan 9 from Outer Space".
They managed to get a whole bunch of people in front of the camera, who in one way or the other were involved with "Plan 9 from Outer Space". They share their thoughts and memory of the movie but more so of Ed Wood and those who had passed away already, such as Bela Lugosi, Tor Johnson and Criswell. Most of the information is pretty insightful and helps you to learn more about the movie as well as those involved who had passed away already, which also includes Wood himself of course.
This is a fan project, so there are nothing but kind words about him (well, almost entirely) but otherwise this would had most likely been a very depressing documentary, without any fun to it, since Wood's life was far from a happy tale, so I actually don't mind this. It's actually great to see how all these people, after all these years, can speak still so passionately about him and praise him for what he all did and achieved, which might not seem like much but is still quite a big accomplishment all when you look at it objectively. He at least often succeeded to get some big names in his movies and he (almost) always managed to get the movies made in the first place, with basically no money.
His passion and love and devotion to his projects made up for his talent, which just wasn't quite there. It's actually great to see Wood himself directing some scenes for a movie in this documentary. It was just like I always had imagined, he was extremely passionate and committed about it and seemed to be just happy to do it as well. He truly was in his element. There is some more unique footage of Wood himself in this documentary, which was always something I was interested in.
This is being a pretty good and insightful documentary to watch, if you can forgive it for its somewhat amateur like look and feeling at times. But you shouldn't have any problems with that if your interested in "Plan 9 from Outer Space" and Edward D. Wood Jr.!