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Plan 9 from Outer Space
"Can you prove it didn't happen?" - The Amazing Criswell
"Can you prove it didn't happen?" - The Amazing Criswell
Riffed by RiffTrax
Riffers Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett
Series RiffTrax Live!
Date Released January 22, 2008 and August 20, 2009 (Live)

Plan 9 from Outer Space (originally titled Grave Robbers from Outer Space, or simply known as Plan 9) is a 1959 American science fiction thriller film written and directed by Ed Wood and released by Distributors Corporation of America (as Valiant Pictures). The film stars Gregory Walcott, Mona McKinnon, Tor Johnson and Maila "Vampira" Nurmi. The film bills Bela Lugosi posthumously as a star, although silent footage of the actor had been shot by Wood for other, unfinished projects just before Lugosi's death in 1956.

RiffTrax released their studio riff of this film in January 2008. The riff was featured in August 2009 at the Inaugural RiffTrax Live event, which was hosted by Veronica Belmont.

Synopsis and Full Riff[]

[Spoilers Begin]

The narrative begins with a funeral in San Fernando Valley. A small group of mourners are gathered by an open grave, chief among them being an unnamed old man (Bela Lugosi). The narrator explains that this is the funeral of the old man's wife. Two gravediggers stand nearby, waiting for the funeral to end and for their work in closing the grave to begin. The scene shifts from the graveyard to a Douglas DC-7 which is flying over the Valley, heading towards Burbank. The narrative introduces a pilot named Jeff Trent and his co-pilot Danny. Their seemingly routine flight takes a strange turn, when they are affected by a blinding light and accompanying loud sound. They look outside their plane and encounter a flying saucer. The gravediggers hear a strange noise and are spooked. They decide to leave the graveyard, but are attacked and killed by the resurrected corpse of the young woman.

The old man steps outside and is seen lost in his thoughts of grief. He absent-mindedly steps into the path of an oncoming automobile and dies. At his funeral, mourners discover the corpses of the gravediggers. Inspector Daniel Clay and other police officers come to the cemetery to investigate. Clay distances himself from the others to conduct his own search. The narrative shifts briefly to Jeff Trent and his wife Paula, who live near the graveyard. He listens to the sirens and then tells Paula about his flying saucer encounter, stating that the Army has sworn him to secrecy. At this point, a powerful wind knocks everyone at the Trent residence and the graveyard to the ground, and a spaceship lands nearby. At the graveyard, the old man rises from his grave. The isolated Clay encounters the Vampire Girl and the reanimated corpse of the old man. His bullets apparently have no effect on either of the two undead and he is killed.

The narrative introduces the Chief of Saucer Operations, Col. Thomas Edwards. The saucers seem untouched by any of the weapons used against them, but still retreat. Edwards reveals that the government has been covering up the flying saucers, and wonders if the aliens are connected to other disasters on Earth. He mentions that one small town has already been annihilated, hinting at a secret history of previous encounters.

The aliens return to Space Station 7 for regeneration. Their commander, Eros, informs their ruler that he has attempted to contact the governments of Earth. He says that to force the people of Earth to acknowledge his people's existence, he is implementing Plan 9, which involves resurrecting the recently dead by stimulating their pituitary and pineal glands. The three alien ships return to Earth. Trent is about to leave home for another flight. That night, the corpse of the old man rises from his crypt and sneaks into their house. He chases Paula through the cemetery. Paula collapses and is found by a passing motorist. All three zombies return to Eros' ship, which lifts off.

At the Pentagon, Gen. Roberts informs Edwards that the government has been receiving messages from the aliens. Roberts plays the last message. In Eros' voice it explains that the aliens are trying to prevent humanity from destroying the universe. The general sends Edwards to San Fernando. The next scene covers the introduction of the Ruler to one of the undead under alien command. The undead Clay attacks Eros and nearly kills him. The Ruler closer examines Clay and decides to sacrifice one of the undead, the old man, to further scare humanity. He has further plans of raising undead armies and marching them against the capitals of Earth.

In California, the police and Edwards interview the Trents about their experiences with the aliens. Unbeknownst to them, the alien saucer has returned to the graveyard. While waiting by the police car, Officer Kelton encounters the old man. The old man chases the officer to the Trents' yard, where they shoot him, with no effect. The nearby aliens strike the old man with a ray, causing his body to decompose, leaving only his skeleton. Not knowing what to make of this, the Trents, Edwards, and the police decide to drive to the cemetery.

John Harper insists on leaving Paula behind in the car. There is a brief confrontation between the men and with Paula, as the woman refuses to stay alone. As a concession, Kelton is left behind to guard her. Paula still is unhappy with the decision of the group. This leaves Harper, Edwards and Trent to walk in the graveyard. Meanwhile, seeing a glow in the distance, Trent and the police head toward the ship. Kelton is easily incapacitated by Clay. Upon awakening, he calls for help, and Officer Larry comes to aid him.

Eros allows Trent and the police to enter, and they board with guns drawn. Eros tells them that human weapons development will inevitably lead to the discovery of solarbonite, a substance that has the effect of exploding "sunlight molecules". Outside the ship, Clay arrives with Paula. Eros threatens to have her killed if they try to force him to go with them. Officers Kelton and Larry arrive and spot Clay with Paula. Realizing their guns are useless, they approach Clay from behind with a stick. Eros sees this and shuts off the ray controlling Clay, allowing Paula to go free. A fight ensues between Eros and Jeff, during which the ship's delicate equipment is damaged, setting off a fire. The humans flee the ship, and Tanna flies it into the atmosphere. The flaming ship explodes, killing both aliens. As a consequence of the explosion, Clay and the female zombie are decomposed in the same manner as the old man.

[Spoilers End]

Cast and Crew[]

  • Gregory Walcott as Jeff Trent
  • Mona McKinnon as Paula Trent
  • Tom Keene as Colonel Tom Edwards
  • Dudley Manlove as Eros
  • Joanna Lee as Tanna
  • John Breckinridge as The Ruler
  • David De Mering as Danny
  • Norma McCarty as Edith



  • The film has been used in Trace Beaulieu and Frank Conniff's live show The Mads Are Back.
  • In the Rifftrax commentary Mike Nelson refers to the film as "The Citizen Kane of bad movies." This is fitting due to its reputation as "the worst movie ever made," even though many critics would argue that there are far worse movies. Danny Peary, author of the definitive study Cult Movies, argues that Plan 9 is terrible but enjoyable. Essentially, modern critics agree that this the worst watchable movie.

See Also[]

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