Plan 9 from Outer Space is an Ed Wood film that, even by his standards, is often referred to as the worst film of all time. And don’t get me wrong, it is bad, but it definitely isn’t the worst Ed Wood film ever made.
In the years following the release of Plan 9 from Outer Space, it has gone on to gain a cult following, it has influenced numerous band names, and parts of the original soundtrack have been sampled by various producers and DJs (e.g. Coldcut used Criswell’s opening monologue from the film in their Journey by DJs mix called ’70 Minutes Of Madness’).
Gordon Zahler is the name that was often credited with creating the soundtrack, however, this isn’t strictly true – Zahler owned a music production company called General Music Corporation and Zahler was responsible for curating a lot of the soundtrack, and not actually composing it.
Zahler used existing music library tracks from various other composers that he took from the ‘Impress Mood Music Library’, and the ‘Video Moods Music Library’. This practice of using music libraries to score film and TV productions at around this time was very common.
No record was kept of what pieces were used, and this lack of clarity and documentation has caused much speculation around the provenance of the pieces used in the soundtrack for ‘Plan 9 from Outer Space‘ over the years.
The main title theme for ‘Plan 9 from Outer Space‘ was actually a piece called “Grip of the Law” that was written for the Impress Mood Music Library by the composer Trevor Duncan. This track was used twice in the film – for the main titles, and for the chase through the graveyard later on in the film.
The full story of the tracks used in the soundtrack was the subject of an article in Film Score Monthly, written by Paul Mundell. Sadly I can’t find a copy of this online anywhere, so if you know of a link to it, then drop it in the comments below!
The soundtrack to Plan 9 from Outer Space is actually pretty atmospheric, and if it was for another film it would probably have been highly effective – it kind of falls short in its intended job of building the atmosphere in the movie mostly because the action (and acting) on screen is so slap-dash and comical.
It has been released in various forms over the years on a number of different labels, and it has been released as a motion picture soundtrack – basically the entire film, including dialogue and sound-effects, and it has been released as a musical score, comprising of the music used in the film. We’ll look at both of the below
Plan 9 From Outer Space – Motion Picture Soundtrack:
As mentioned, this release of the soundtrack was the full film – all the dialogue, all the music, all the sound-effects, just like you would experience in the film
Each side of the original vinyl release contained one half of the film, but with the modern releases now it is all one a single CD or MP3.
Plan 9 From Outer Space (Original Soundtrack Recording) by Edward D. Wood Jr. / Gordon Zahler.
- Plan 9 From Outer Space Part I
- Plan 9 From Outer Space Part II
Plan 9 from Outer Space – Soundtrack
This is the release that collected all the stock music library tracks that were selected by Gordon Zahler and used in the film.
This collection is a treasure trove of sounds and musical pieces that will thrill all fans of B-Movies from this era.
1, Prelude – Composed By Trevor Duncan 0:52
2. Main Title – Composed By Trevor Duncan 2:09
3 The Shadows Of Grief – Composed By Van Phillips 1:39
4 Gravediggers – Composed By Bruce Campbell, Steve Race 0:57
5 Lost Roses Of Her Cheeks – Composed By Bruce Campbell 1:10
6 Tragic! – Composed By Bruce Campbell 0:39
7 Police Squad – Composed By Van Phillips 0:30
8 I’m A Big Boy Now, Johnny – Composed By Franz Mahl 1:18
9 Piano Talk: Jeff & Paula – Composed By John O’Notes 2:57
10 Clay Stalked And Killed – Composed By James Stevens, Trevor Duncan 1:53
11 Plan 9 Interlude – Composed By Trevor Duncan 0:58
12 The Bell Has Rung – Composed By Van Phillips 1:22
13 Saucers Over Hollywood – Composed By Trevor Duncan 2:20
14 Col. Edward’s Big Decision – Composed By Van Phillips 1:25
15 Saucer Fire – Composed By Van Phillips 1:02
16 Your Pillow Beside Me – Composed By Trevor Duncan 1:23
17 The Old Ghoul Walks – Composed By Franz Mahl 0:42
18 Mac Calls Paula – Composed By Franz Mahl 0:45
19 Cemetery Chase / Clay Rises – Composed By Trevor Duncan, Van Phillips 3:56
20 The Old Ghoul Retreats – Composed By Franz Mahl 1:06
21 Graveyard Marionettes – Composed By Ward Sills 1:47
22 Kelton Lights A Match – Composed By Franz Mahl 0:44
23 Drop Your Electrode Gun! – Composed By Trevor Duncan 0:22
24 There’s Something Out There – Composed By Trevor Duncan 2:18
25 Clay Abducts Paula – Composed By Steve Race 0:40
26 Eros, Do We Have To Kill Them? – Composed By Wolfgang Droysen 1:22
27 Someday It’ll All Be Gone – Composed By Wolfgang Droysen 2:18
28 Kelton & Larry Enter Ship – Composed By James Stevens 0:46
29 Fight / Fire / Finale – Composed By Van Phillips 3:10
30 God Help Us In The Future – Composed By Gilbert Vinter, Trevor Duncan 2:15