RiffTrax Live!: Plan 9 From Outer Space DVD Review
The first RiffTrax Live release is a winner.
I’m sure the question on everyone’s mind is “Is this live disc worth purchasing even though there is already a Mike Nelson commentary and a RiffTrax commentary of “Plan 9 From Outer Space” available on DVD?” The answer is yes. The live RiffTrax experience is simply a lot livelier. Granted, the event (which is hosted by the charming Veronica Belmont) could have done without the prize giveaway, the lame fruit and flour/grain expo commercials by Rich Kyanka and musician Jonathan Coulton’s overlong set, but the RiffTones performance and the riffs on “Flying Stewardess” and “Plan 9 From Outer Space” are well worth seeing.
To give you an idea of what to expect, “Flying Stewardess” is a silly 50’s short film that is mercilessly mocked by Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett, and Mike Nelson. The gang delivers a bundle of laughs with jokes about everything from passengers and snakes to planes and Fort Worth (which is a running joke throughout the show).
By now everyone knows of Ed Wood’s infamously bad alien flick “Plan 9 From Outer Space.” It’s an ultra low-budget sci-fi cult classic that is perfect material for the RiffTrax gang. Naturally, they do a bang-up job of ripping into the cheap sets, the multiple Bela Lugosis’, the night and day shots, the continuity errors, pillow touching, and careless gun waving. They also provide their usual clever jokes about everything from Anne Coulter to the Hulk.
Last, but not least, the show has a performance by the comedic music group RiffTones which consists of Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett and Mike Nelson. Jonathan Coulton also joins them in performing a “Plan 9” song. It’s a fun song about the 8 previous plans the aliens had.
Summary: RiffTrax fans will not be disappointed by this live event. Hopefully, the recent live Christmas event will make its way to DVD soon!
The production values of this live disc are surprisingly good. The picture quality of the event itself is sharp looking. I especially liked that we got various camera angles and close-ups of the performers and crowd.
For those wondering how the live riffs work on screen, allow me to tell you. “Plan 9 From Outer Space” and the “Flying Stewardess” short mostly fill up the screen, but every now and then three small boxes containing close-ups of Kevin, Mike, and Bill pop up on the left side of the screen. It is not distracting at all, and in fact, I wish the boxes were present the entire time. I liked seeing their expressions and reactions to the material and crowd.
As for the picture quality of ‘Plan 9’ and ‘Stewardess,’ it’s a mixed bag. ‘Stewardess’ is in pretty rough shape. The print is littered with grain, dirt, and lines. ‘Plan 9,’ however is in surprisingly good shape. Viewers should know that it is the colorized version of ‘Plan 9’ that is being riffed at this event and not the original B&W version.
As with any live event released on disc, sound is always important. Thankfully, there are relatively little sound issues here. The important thing is that Mike, Bill, and Kevin’s riffs are never hard to hear. The audio on “Flying Stewardess” short film is a bit garbled, but most short films have so-so audio quality to begin with. The ‘Plan 9’ audio track is fine all around.
Extras include the uncut versions of the 2 commercials seen in the show, a 2 ½ minute behind the scenes slideshow of the live event in Nashville, the Rifftones Plan 9 song on the DVD menu and, best of all, a coupon for a free RiffTrax commentary.
RiffTrax Live: Plan 9 From Outer Space is now available to purchase at www.rifftrax.com. It is also available to pre-order on Amazon.com and is currently scheduled for a January twenty-sixth release via that website.