This Month in Film History – July 21, 1959: Ed Wood’s ‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’ Debuts in Theaters

Filmmaker Ed Wood had a passion. Actually, he had a couple of passions, though only one is relevant, film, to our discussion. However, Wood’s passion for film would far outstrip any technical abilities.  Be that as it may, it didn’t stop Woo from making his films, his way, as well as his mark in cinema. It was this month in 1959, July  21, Wood would establish his reputation as a little talented film director with the release into theaters (Or theater?) of his masterpiece(?) Plan 9 From Outer Space.


The film would become memorable for a variety of reasons. Chief among them is that it isn’t a very good film. In spite of this,  the film remained a favorite of the director. Mental Floss noted:

” Writer-director Ed Wood crafted the picture with undeniable passion. “Plan 9,” he once said, “is my pride and joy.” After Wood passed away in 1978, his beloved film turned into a huge success—but for reasons he probably never would’ve expected.”

As well, Plan 9 would be the  last screen appearance of horror film icon Bela Lugosi. Wood filmed some basic spots of Lugosi on film in 1954. He  promised the frail Lugosi that it would .be part of his sale pitch to backers to finance Wood’s next film, which Wood promised Lugosi a part in.


Lugosi would die later on in 1954, never to see what the next film.  In spite of that, Bela Lugosi would get his final bow five years later when Ed Wood finished and premiered the film.

Generations would remember the film, not for it being Bela Lugosi’s last film. Plan 9’s renaissance came about due to a the Tim Burton film on Wood’s life as well as it’s slaughtering during an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode.


However, director Ed Wood’s total lack of comprehension about storytelling defines the film most of all. That said, Plan 9 From Outer Space is not the worst film ever made. Nor is Ed Wood  the worst film  director ever. Wood had no talent to speak of as a director or a storyteller. Thus, that he was incompetent as a filmmaker, I believe, is to be expected.

None of Wood’s films every had any budgets to speak of, as was the case with Plan 9 From Outer Space.