Tag Archives: Alien Invasions

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)

If I may paraphrase a respected Movie Scientist: Ed Wood is a warning. A warning to all of us. When mankind falls into conflict with reality, monstrous films are born. Shambling, pitiful things that beg to be put down harder than Seth Brundle. Wood is also one of the strangest celebrities of the twentieth century. Ignored in his own time, he became famous for the worst reasons two years after his death. In 1980, the right-wing fellow traveler and PBS movie critic Michael Medved named him the Worst Director of All Time, and awarded tonight’s picture the undeserved title of Worst Film Ever Made.

Wood’s generation was one of the first to grow up with the movies. An encounter with Bela Lugosi’s Dracula at age seven permanently warped the Poughkeepsie store clerk’s son, who had a movie camera in hand by the time he left high school. The War put Eddy’s dreams of being the next Orson Welles on hold for four years, but by the end of his life he’d amassed the kind of resume that would shame other, better directors. Even now, at the height of his fame, only a bare handful of his films command any kind of notoriety. Plan 9 has managed the hat trick of surpassing even its siblings and achieving a twisted sort of popularity, something Wood might even enjoy today, wherever he is. With Bela, surely. {More}

Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1956)

Watch the Skies!About six months ago I bought Earth vs. the Flying Saucers on impulse. I’d picked up an MST3K episode and was looking for something to go along with it. This was before Christmas, before the snowstorm trapped us all inside the house. So I bought Earth vs. the Flying Saucers and set it down on my bookshelf, next to the stack of Books To Read. I remember setting it down and thinking Eh, I’ll get to it, eventually.

Three months later I found the tape (still unopened) under a Dean Kootz book. Lightning, I think. I dusted the movie off and put it in my Movie Drawer, thinking, Eh, I’ll get to it, eventually. I began reading.

Three months after that (last night, as a matter of fact) I opened my Movie Drawer and there it was, nestled snug between my copies of The Thing and Bulworth, where it would rest, I realized, until the last trumpet sounds and the gates of Doomsday opened up to swallow us all, screaming. {More}

Independence Day (1996)

"Maybe we shouldn't've crossed Newt that last time..."Roger Ebert called this “an inheritor of the 1950s flying saucer genre”…though, for the life of me, I can only think of two films that match Independence Day‘s sheer destructive gluttony. The mid-90s will go down in history as a period shamefully infested with big-budget disaster orgies, horror pornography for middle Americans too chicken at watch real horror films.

And if ID4 has a more proximate progenitor, it is the disaster movies of the 70s, which carved this genre niche after the collapse of the studio system led to a collapse of the Epic. All-star casts stopped playing mythological heroes from various Western holy texts and began acting out multiple plot-threads as…normal people. One (or two, or three, or a whole bunch) of us. We began to appear in epic tales of survival against long odds and various plot contrivances…for, like any genre, the disaster flick soon found itself hedged in by its own, flawed, internal logic. {More}