Trust me when I say that you can make money from things you love, no matter how obscure or “weird.” Thanks to the power of the internet, you can easily find other people out there who are kindred spirits. Even if the mainstream world doesn’t share your passion, for example, for carving ships out of Canadian moose antlers, there is a community of people somewhere in the world who find it fascinating.
My own secret passion is what I call “Underappreciated Cinema” – in other words, B-movies, cult films, obscure classics, and offbeat films that not a lot of people pay attention to. Back in the day, it wasn’t so easy to find and be part of a community dedicated to movies of this sort, but now a simple Google search connects me with hundreds of like-minded folks.
Last weekend I had the privilege of attending a live reading of the script of the 1959 cult classic film, Plan 9 From Outer Space. For those few of you who aren’t hip to Plan 9, it’s been called the “Worst Film of All Time” (totally undeserved!)… the magnum opus of director Edward D. Wood, Jr., who has, in turn, been declared by some to be the “Worst Director of All Time” (also undeserved, which is a subject for a future blog).
The plot, such as it is, involves an advanced alien race who is concerned that the Earthlings’ nuclear belligerence will bring about the destruction of the Universe. Thus, they launch a plan to make us stop our nuclear program by resurrecting newly dead people to kill us. (I know that would certainly get my attention.)
Overall, it was a fun evening with a festive, weird energy as the team of actors got into the spirit of things, breathing life into poor Ed’s stilted prose. Perhaps someone will create an audience participation version of Plan 9 that would be like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, where volunteers dress up as the characters and recite lines along with the actors on screen. If only Ed had written it as a musical… (here’s a project for an aspiring librettist/composer?)
“Plan 9 Live!” was made possible by two extremely cool local small businesses here in Pittsburgh:
Alternate Histories (www.alternatehistories.com) transforms historic images with the addition of pop-culture sci-fi elements like monsters, aliens, and zombies. Choose from a fantastic line of maps, prints, greeting cards, and all kinds of other stuff that connoisseurs of the weird will love… they make awesome holiday gifts!
Row House Cinema (www.rowhousecinema.com), located on Butler Street in the heart of Lawrenceville, keeps classic and offbeat cinema alive in its intimate and comfortable small theater. They’re featuring an excellent program every evening of horror films for Halloween, so if you’re local, check them out!