This film takes the cheese of cheesy cinema
Greetings my turophiles and cinephiles of Winchester!
Film is like a buffet that can satisfy any viewer’s taste.
Highbrow-cultured avant garde, documentary, romance, horror, comedy, action subgenre niches; you name it, there is a film or type that will satisfy your palate.
Cheese is a much-beloved dairy delight. Many lactose-intolerant folks like cheese but can’t enjoy it in all its glory.
Cheese is no stranger in the world of film.
Cheesy cinema is a film that is overly cute, sweet and sentimental that is over the top with its dialogue, overacting and overall presentation of mise en scène (the overall arrangement of everything in the scene of what the eye is viewing).
In honor of National Cheese Ball Day, let’s peruse some titles that definitely cut it by being classified as being big cheese o’ cinema.
“Plan 9 from Outer Space” (1959) is an low-budget sci-fi horror film created by the infamous Ed Wood that focuses on residents of San Fernando Valley being under attack by flying saucers when the aliens on board resurrect corpses from a Hollywood cemetery in their conquest to conquer planet Earth.
“Plan 9” has been shredded, sliced and melted by critics for being “the worst movie ever made” and celebrated for the same label by cheese and bad movie connoisseurs around the globe.
“Plan 9” has the honor of being credited with capturing the last performance of Bela “Dracula” Lugosi’s before his death, but not a full performance.
Wood took footage he had of Lugosi and spliced it into “Plan 9” as the film began after his death. All recurring shots of Lugosi’s on screen presence were accomplished by Wood’s chiropractor who filled in and whose physical features differed much from Lugosi’s, leaving the stand-in to hunch over and cover his face with a cape to hide the noticeable contrasts.
“Plan 9” is notorious for exposed boom microphones in the background of some scenes, wobbling plywood and Styrofoam tombstones in the cemetery and the script resting on an actor’s lap while reciting dialogue. The threatening spaceships were nothing more than hubcaps and dinner plates, and scars on a zombie’s face kept changing location depending on the shot. Noticeable stock footage of real military operations was included that does not match the Wood footage.
The dialogue is far from Shakespeare, over the top and the aliens are far from threatening. They whine and appear to be the type that would have a tiff about the price of grapes rising at the produce stand rather than strategically planning to dominate our crazy planet.
“Plan 9 from Outer Space,” due to late night cable airings in the late 1970s and 1980s, has gone on to achieve great acclaim of reaching cult level status with screenings at midnight at select venues, fan revivals and production documentaries, though some of the cast and crew distanced themselves from their involvement upon original release.
Overall, not bad for a film with a budget of $60,000.
The budget was raised mainly from the cast being baptized as a sign of good toward a Baptist church to invest in the production.
“Plan 9” is not an Oscar winner by any means, but is great for a laugh if you are looking a so-bad-it’s-good film for your next coronavirus quarantine cheese and wine social distancing cinema soiree.
Stay sharp and have a film-tastic day.
Rick Baldwin is a writer, filmmaker and film/music historian. He is president of the Winchester-Clark County Film Society. Find more from Rick on Facebook. He is on Twitter @rickbaldwin79 and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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