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 – in reality silent footage of the actor had been shot by Wood for another, unfinished project just before Lugosi’s death in 1956. Wood inserted it here instead.
The plot of the film involves extra-terrestrial beings who are seeking to stop humanity from creating a doomsday weapon that would destroy the universe. In the course of doing so, the aliens implement “Plan 9.” It’s a scheme to resurrect the Earth’s dead as what modern audiences would call zombies (but called “ghouls” in the film itself) causing chaos in order to get the planet’s attention.
The film opens with an introduction:
“Greetings my friends! We are all interested in the future, For that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives! …”.
Changing the tone, the narrator delivers the sermon-like lines: “Let us punish the guilty! Let us reward the innocent!”. before concluding with the rhetorical question: “Can your heart stand the shocking facts about grave robbers from outer space?”
Following the introduction, we meet 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.
We then jump to a Douglas DC-7 flying over the Valley, heading towards Burbank, California and we are introduced to its pilot 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 stewardess Edie joins them in the cockpit and also sees the saucer. The camera leaves the plane and follows the saucer in its flight, until it lands at the graveyard. 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…