So I’m a fan of Ed Wood’s classic sci-fi film Plan 9 from Outer Space. Yes, you read that correctly but before you lose respect for me, yes, I do acknowledge that it is literally the absolute worst film ever produced in the English language since the dawn of cinema. The script is terrible, the acting even worse, and the special effects -even for the day- were absolutely horrendous. North Korea could nuke the West Coast tomorrow and this film would still be the biggest bomb to ever hit Hollywood. But what people over look is the spirit of this film. The idea was (almost) unique for it’s time.
Aliens observing human life on earth are appalled by the shocking amount of violence and cruelty wrought upon mankind by mankind and the looming threat of a Atom Age human race entering space and spreading through the universe is absolutely horrifying beyond belief. Deciding that humanity must be shocked into paying attention to the aliens and their message. As such, they resurrect corpses in a small part of southern California intent on committing murder and mayhem while remaining almost totally indestructible. Unfortunately, the alien’s underestimate the truly destructive nature of human kind and are driven off world by a handful of meddling people who sneak aboard the ship and basically press buttons and knock shit over until the ship catches fire.
Okay, even that story seems a bit shaky now that I see it written out for all to see. Regardless, the idea of what he wanted to create could have been so much more than what eventually made it onto the screen. Last year I became very excited at what looked like an equally no budget remake of the movie. I had hoped that, despite the actors and low production value, the writing would at least make up for it but, again, I was quickly let down with cringe inducing performances of a totally uninspired script.
Fast forward now to last week when I was looking up both versions of the film with the thought of doing some double feature review to pitch to the folks over at Psycho Drive-In. The film itself has apparently been in the public domain for a while and that initially inspired me to think of writing my own screen play for Plan 9 from Outer Space. Unfortunately, I decided it was a project that needed more than just another random rewrite to actually be good. After thinking on it for a few days I’ve decided to write my own story inspired by the Ed Wood classic. There are one of two ways that this will end. Either it will be a colossal deuce dropped from my word processor onto a page, or it will be a fantastic science fiction story with some cool little nods to the film that inspired it.
Cross your fingers.
So, without further adieu, here’s the opening bit of the short story/novelette I’ve begun as tribute to that original, if not misunderstood, classic. I don’t actually have a title for it so, for tonight, we’ll simply call it Dan 9 (from Outer Space). Enjoy!
It was like something out of a nightmare. The monitor flickered with images, from grainy black and white to high definition color of mankind’s greatest hits. War, famine, pestilence and genocide in shades so real it was almost nauseating. Pundits and priests in every spoken language cast blame and flowed hate filled rhetoric in a torrent through television signals and radio broadcasts towards the steady flames swelling though society. Ghetto scenes and slums littered in half starved bodies gave way to evangelicals in stadium sized chapels demanding money for god, gave way still to riots in streets and impulse buy ads for the latest smart phone. It was a sickening parade of greed and cruelty that made the Observer ill. With a long, slender arm it reached up to the dial beside the screen and gradually muted the brightness until it was transparent.
The lower appendages lifted it up until it stood nearly as tall as the ceiling. The Observer was monolithic while standing, a collection of thin, branching pieces that formed legs, arms, and fins to help it move through the confines of the craft. It was a deep maroon color except for the places near each joint and knuckle where jeweled clusters of shimmering eyes monitored everything around it. From somewhere within the confederation of moving parts, a croaking, gurgling noise began to reverberate. From a low growl to a terrifying roar it raged to itself over what it had witnessed. Its lower extremities clattered and clicked as it moved fluidly through the sharply angled corridors towards the center chamber of the vessel. Climbing along tiers within the center of the craft, it reached a honeycombed chamber where dozens of other, similar creatures had woven themselves together.
The Observer’s limbs began to separate, its body unwinding as it wove itself into the mass of its crewmates. Within minutes the entire vessel rang with the agonized, guttural howling that had first filled the observation room. The decision was immediate and unanimous. The vessel lurched once then began its descent into the atmosphere. If humanity was so keen on inflicting horror upon itself, the Observer would bring them great joy.