Review: ‘Plan 10 from Outer Space’

"Plan 10 From Outer Space" has no real connection, beyond an opportunistic one, to Ed Wood Jr.'s famouslycamp "Plan 9." But exploitation of that title (and briefly appearing "star" Karen Black) for fringe vid-shelf placement rate as the best chances this juvenile indie comedy can hope for. Pic world-preemed a year ago as a midnighter at Sundance.

“Plan 10 From Outer Space” has no real connection, beyond an opportunistic one, to Ed Wood Jr.’s famouslycamp “Plan 9.” But exploitation of that title (and briefly appearing “star” Karen Black) for fringe vid-shelf placement rate as the best chances this juvenile indie comedy can hope for. Pic world-preemed a year ago as a midnighter at Sundance.

Writer-director Trent Harris (of “Rubin and Ed,” with Crispin Glover and Black) tries to send up his home burg, Salt Lake City. Convoluted results, however, achieve little more than a few potshots at the Mormon Church (which might easily inspire sharper satire). Young heroine Lucinda (Stefene Russell) discovers a mysterious bronze plaque buried near the Great Salt Lake; investigating it for a writing project, she uncovers a UFO conspiracy plot loosely based on actual Mormon mythology.

Support characters, played in an often painfully broad mode, include Lucinda’s insane “panty thief” brother, a CIA-type spy and a neighbor who may be one of the “sex-crazed aliens” planning Earth takeover. Black appears in a few scenes as otherworldly, revenge-bent “Nihor of Kolob,” at one point operatically trilling a song. Climax apes ’50s sci-fi “mass” pandemonium scenes as city dwellers scramble to escape invasion.

Harris throws in some amusingly tacky special effects, brief “Caligari”-style expressionist sets, computer graphics and a “Rocky Horror”-esque dance number. But lacking any real satirical points to make about B-pic genres or anything else, tenor is mostly set by script’s bent toward dumb, mild sexual humor.

Some elaborate aerial shots and extensive use of Salt Lake City sights highlight OK tech package.

Plan 10 from Outer Space

Production

A Plan 10 Prods. presentation. Produced by Walter Hart. Co-producer, Elizabeth Grey Cloud. Directed, written, edited by Trent Harris.

Crew

Camera (color, 16mm), Bryan Duggan; production design, David Brothers; music, Fred Myrow; sound, Scott Carrier. Reviewed on videocassette, San Francisco, Jan. 23, 1996. (In Cinequest, San Jose Film Festival.) Running time: 82 MIN.

With

With: Stefene Russell, Karen Black, Pat Collins, Curtis James, Deva Cantrel, Gyll Huff, Jeff Price, Karen Nielson, Burnadette Leroi.
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