Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Plan 9 from Outer Space

Go To

  • Accidental Innuendo: The co-pilot asks the stewardess if she would like to "ball it up" in Albuquerque. Even in The '50s, "balling" meant something other than going to a dance ball.
  • "Common Knowledge": The flying saucers are actual toy flying saucers, rather than the pie tins and paper plates that they are often mocked as.
  • Critical Research Failure: "A ray of light is made up of many atoms." As if this film didn't have enough snark bait, it is pretty much 7th grade knowledge that light is made out of photons, not atoms.
  • Advertisement:
  • Cult Classic: Thanks to its So Bad, It's Good nature.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In real life, Criswell had a speech impediment, and couldn't pronounce certain words. He had to write all of the narration himself, because only he knew what he could enunciate properly. This is why he delivers his dialogue so oddly.
    • The Reality Subtext of Bela Lugosi's death makes some of the opening narration less funny. The part about how death is a shock even when we know it is coming, is very likely a reflection of Ed Wood's reaction to losing his friend. It is particularly poignant in the clip of the Old Man smelling the flowers outside his house, and leaving "never to return again."
    • Ed Wood's cameo as a drunken bum, which is pretty much what he would become in his later years.
    • The multiple scenes of the "professional" pilots not even looking ahead while driving goes from hilarious to awkward when it cuts to a plane flying right over the Pentagon.
  • Advertisement:
  • Ham and Cheese: Dudley Manlove as Eros.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The aliens do the Wakanda salute.
  • Inferred Holocaust: Humans learn nothing from this ordeal, and it is implied that they will do exactly what the aliens feared, hence Criswell's warning at the end. Plan 9 is to stop humanity building a "solaranite bomb" and destroying the universe. Yet Plan 9 fails. What does this mean for the universe? Given that it is the Plan 9 Universe, total destruction may be merciful.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Future events such as these will affect you in the future" and several other Department of Redundancy Department lines.
    • "You see? YOU SEE? Your stupid minds! Stupid! STUPID!"
    • Tor Johnson's damn blank-angry face when he becomes a zombie has achieved this status, even becoming a mask!
    • "Visits? Why that must mean...visitors!"
  • Misblamed: Of all the mistakes in the movie, one that you can't lay at Ed Wood's feet is the boom mic shadow and visible script in the airplane cockpit, which were cropped out in the original widescreen release as Wood intended.
  • Advertisement:
  • Narm: It would be charitable to list only the most obvious example: One of the zombies is constantly covering its face.
  • Older Than They Think: Criswell's 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 often held up as one of Wood's classically clunky lines. In actual fact, Criswell used that as the intro line for his TV show for several years before Plan 9 was filmed (and continued to do so afterward), though he usually gave it a much wryer delivery than he does in Plan 9witness it in action in his appearance on the Johnny Carson New Year's Special in 1966. In fact, all of the narration was written by Criswell himself.
  • So Bad, It's Good, apparently enough to have an operating system named after it. And a video game, and a label company, and three bands, and some other stuff. Its status as "worst movie ever made" is usually given in jest by cinemaphiles, as while it's certainly not a good film, any fan of shows like Mystery Science Theater 3000 or Best of the Worst can readily vouch that there are far, far worse movies out there than Plan 9, that aren't even a fraction as amusing or watchable. Penn Jillette has declared that Plan 9 is not a bad movie because its message is relevant. He claims the worst movie ever made is The Big Chill.[1]
  • Special Effect Failure: The tombstones wobble when people hit them. Also, the flying saucers which are square when they land and are visibly suspended from strings.
  • Strawman Has a Point: If, and only if, such a device that could blow up not only the world but the universe were plausible - then these visiting aliens would have a good point in trying to prevent it from being built. They really need to work on their methods though. It's actually covered that they had attempted more sensible methods, but the humans would not cooperate. Hence why this was Plan 9 rather than Plan 1.
  • Woolseyism: The fact that some subtitled and dubbed versions have better writing than the actual movie is less of a show of the translators' skills and more damning evidence of the movie's own ineptitude. Just being able to truncate the redundant dialogue and make some phrases sound much more natural is an improvement already.
    • The Hungarian dub tried to avoid improving the film by having random people working for the DVD publishing company perform the voices rather than professional actors. It's usually agreed that this was a bad example of Woolseyism, as making the dub suck on purpose robbed took away from the film's charmingly inept sincerity.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: