Thursday, October 14, 2010

Theater review: Camp classic gets even campier

By Stephen Brown

If you need a fix of camp and kitsch this Halloween season, look no further than the Brick’s production of “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” 

This tongue-in-cheek production of filmmaker Ed Wood’s hilariously awful movie follows in the footsteps of corny classics like “Airplane!” and the “Naked Gun” series. 

It may sound hard to believe, but this version of “Plan 9” actually outdoes those films’ Mel Brooks-ian, gag-a-minute style.

The plot — we’re being generous with that word — revolves around an extraterrestrial scheme to resurrect the dead and create havoc on earth. 

The production hews fairly close to the original, while throwing in a generous amount of slapstick humor and variety show-type interludes. The cast takes a few shots at the “Twilight” franchise — an easy way to pander to the audience, given that many of them are horror movie buffs — and at one point breaks into a zombie dance number. At another moment an intergalactic and effeminate tyrant named “Commander Bunny” lip syncs to a rowdy rock song.

But “Plan 9” brings more to the table than just cheese. Director Frank Cwiklik filmed some impressive video montages that are occasionally projected onto the wall in the back of the stage. 

Some of the cast really revels in the badness of the source material (in a good way, of course). Douglas MacKrell nails his role as a narrator straight out of a parody of “The Twilight Zone” (though no one can top the original narrator from “Plan 9”). Bob Laine plays one of the best cop-zombies you’ll find anywhere this Halloween. Justin Plowman as Col. Edwards valiantly attempts to fill the role of straight-man, and Craig Peterson got some big laughs as an effeminate intergalactic henchman (yes, many of the aliens are dandies).

If low-brow is your thing, it can’t get much lower than this — and it’s a great way to get in the Halloween mood.
So grab a few beers and ham it up with the cast — they probably won’t mind if you get as rowdy as them.

“Plan 9 from Outer Space” at the Brick Theater [575 Metropolitan Ave. near Lorimer Street in Williamsburg, (718) 907-6189] runs through Oct. 31. Shows are Thursdays through Sundays, $20. For info, visit


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