When the subject of remakes comes up the question that inevitably gets asked is “Why not remake bad films instead of classics?” Well, John Johnson decided to not just redo a bad one, but one that’s frequently referred to as the worst, Plan 9 from Outer Space. And in doing so, he has shown why people don’t remake bad movies, they turn out worse.
It’s obvious from the start the film is meant as a comedy, breaking the fourth wall with a piece about filming the intro to the film itself, an intro we never actually see, although the actor playing Criswell will turn up in the film. Set in Nilibog, (read it backwards or better yet turn the movie off and watch Troll 2 instead), it tells the tale of an alien plan to conquer Earth by raising the dead and pitting them against the living. But where they were like old school voodoo zombies in Ed Woods original, in the remake they’re modern flesh eating ones. Indeed, it plays more like a typical zombie film than anything else. Most of the running time is spent with a group trapped in a store where they squabble, try to escape and in a seriously WTF scene one of them gets naked and walks out to become zombie chow. Granted that baring of nicely inked and curvy skin is the film’s highlight but it still makes zero sense.
In updating the story writer/director Johnson has kept many of the character’s names but not much else. I will give him credit for coming up with a new story and not just re-filming the original but the story is nothing special. He also spices things up with a bit of blood, not very well done effects but not CGI either, and as noted before, some skin. Given his forays into porn, Ed Wood would have approved of that at least. Maybe if he’d played it straight as Wood did the film might have worked, but Johnson tries to parody it and make bad into so bad it’s funny, instead it becomes so bad it’s awful.
I really hate to be so rough on a film that was obviously made on a tiny budget and still manage to look and sound professional. But the script here is sorely lacking in every way, and totally kills any potential the film had. With a better script I actually do think the director could produce a solid film, he has the technical chops for it. Hopefully next time out he’ll let somebody else do the writing.