Every year the world of cinema addresses new questions. Past years posed questions like whether Jim Carrey could pull off a dramatic role, if Tom Cruise could convincingly play a vampire, could a completely unknown carry the biggest epic of all time, would adults be willing to sit through a feature-length cartoon and can a film noir still be film noir if shot in color.
One question has been posed on numerous occasions and will once again be raised in 2013. Provided, of course, that the Mayans don't ruin the party. That question? Can you set out to make a camp comedy on purpose? Is it possible to make movie that becomes a cult comedy classic by design? Many have tried. None have yet succeeded. A group of filmmakers have taken a rather creative route toward trying to make a cult comedy classic that will be released in 2013. Those guys have set for themselves the task of remaking Ed Wood's classic unintentional comedy "Plan 9 from Outer Space." The web site goes to great pains to inform visitors that this remake is not going to be campy or act as parody.
In fact, the web site promoting "Plan 9" as the film is called, suggest that they are following Ed Wood's original goal of creating a genuinely creepy and frightening horror film. The trailer that is currently playing on that web site turns Wood's slow-moving and rather cloddish ghouls from the grave into standard drooling zombies complete with bloody mouths. As the saying goes, this ain't your momma's "Plan 9 from Outer Space."
Frankly, however, I'm not buying.
It seems highly questionable as a concept to set for yourself the task of making "a serious-minded retelling of the original story" when that story is the one Ed Wood told in a movie wrongly but universally regarded as the worst ever made. I actually like the idea of taking a movie so comprehensively inept as "Plan 9 from Outer Space" and attempting a remake. Heck, it makes a lot more sense than trying to remake "Casablanca." I don't even reject the contention that a serious take on the film should be attempted or could be accomplished. I have no doubt of the potential, though slight, of pulling such off such an endeavor.
I just have to question is that is what the makers of "Plan 9" are genuinely going for. Sincerity is in such short supply in the world of contemporary filmmaking and I'm not talking about on this side of the camera. Irony and postmodern detachment are to be found in just about any movie made today not condemned as hopelessly manipulative of the more tender side of the audience's emotion. Frankly, it is just a whole lot easier to exploit the seemingly built-in sense of irony in the world today than to do something as Sisyphean as try, an on very indie budget, to assert sincerity in the form of a project like "Plan 9 from Outer Space."
By which I mean that the economics of filmmaking in America today, especially at the low budget independently financed level, have enforced in a way that makes Marxian theory patently prescient the absolute necessity to appeal more strongly to the after-market consequences of distribution rather than the direct effect of distribution. By which I mean that the makers of "Plan 9" have to realize that they stand a much greater chance of making their mark, and picking up some change, by turning out a movie that somehow eclipses the original in terms of unintentional comedy. And what better way to do that than to insist on the utter seriousness of their intent right upfront.
I don't know about you, but I am seriously hoping they manage to pull it off!
For more from Timothy Sexton, check out;
- Arts & Entertainment
- Ed Wood