|This quaint and curious volume was published in 1990, two years before Nightmare of Ecstasy.|
When I reviewed Joe Robertson's hodgepodge sex documentary Love Making U.S.A. (1971) last year, I described it as "an itch begging to be scratched." In other words, I'd known about this rather obscure movie for years, and I ignored it until I just couldn't ignore it any longer. My curiosity as an Ed Wood fan got the better of me. I had to know what this thing was like, so I finally downloaded it (legally) and watched it. Ultimately, I was glad I did. Lovemaking is far from a masterpiece, and its Wood content is minimal (just a few fleeting seconds of borrowed footage), but the film is an intriguing souvenir of its era.
Well, this week, I'm scratching another itch. I'm not exactly sure where or when I first learned of a 1990 book from Malibu Graphics called Plan 9 from Outer Space: The Original Uncensored and Uncut Screenplay, but I've known of it for a while now. I briefly discussed it in 2020 while reviewing another version of the Plan 9 script. Here's what I said at the time:
Supposedly, though, this volume merely contains a transcript of the film, prepared well after the movie's original release. I've never bothered with it, since there's a fairly decent Plan 9 transcript available online. For free, I might add.
Was I content to leave it there? Obviously not. "Supposedly" just isn't good enough for a true Ed Wood acolyte. I had to buy a copy of this thing and see it for myself, just so I could be completely confident what it contained.
The book that finally arrived from an Amazon seller was a surprise to me in many ways. For one thing, it was much smaller and skinnier than I had expected. I thought this would be one of those chunky, clunky 8.5 x 11 paperbacks that was mostly stills or screengrabs from the movie. Wrong. Instead, it's a slim, modest 6.5 x 10 volume—much closer in size and heft to a comic book. In fact, Malibu Graphics was a relatively-short lived (1986-1994) comics publisher best known for Men in Black. Around the time of this Plan 9 screenplay book, Malibu also published a Plan 9 graphic novel by John Wooley.
The screenplay book is about 100 pages long, and nearly all of that is text. Oh, there are a few pictures along the way—the same Plan 9 publicity stills that Ed Wood fans have seen many times before—but this is not by any means a scene-by-scene graphic representation of the movie. Content-wise, this book is what it claims to be on the front cover: Edward D. Wood, Jr.'s circa 1957 screenplay for Plan 9 from Outer Space. It is not a transcript of the finished film. Not even close. In fact, it is extremely similar to that typewritten script I reviewed back in 2020, though with a few significant differences along the way.
When I reviewed the typewritten Plan 9 script two years ago, I wrote these prophetic words in the final paragraph:
Look, there's no way to detail every single minute change between the screenplay and the released version of the movie without this article being crushingly long and boring.
Well, you know what? Let's be crushingly long and boring today! I'm going to make a point-by-point comparison between the Malibu Graphics screenplay book and the finished film of Plan 9 from Outer Space. Occasionally, when necessary, I will reference the typewritten script as well. For our purposes, the Malibu Graphics screenplay book will simply be called "the book" or "the script." When I specifically want to mention the typed script, I will say so.