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When I moved to Salt Lake City in 1991, one of the most surprising discoveries was the underground arts scene here.

I soon figured out there were so many thriving underground artists here because there was so much to rebel against in the home of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The bigger the rock, the more ants crawling around under it.

Among the most fascinating of those artists was, and continues to be, Trent Harris, the maverick filmmaker whom I met when he was filming his second movie, "Plan 10 From Outer Space." Of course, since I had been reporting on him and watching him film for a couple of hours in the Gallivan Center, he ultimately made me an extra, fleeing an attack from beehive-shaped alien spaceships.

Now, more than 20 years after its debut (at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival, no less), "Plan 10 From Outer Space" is back with a remastered print — preserving the Utah-centric weirdness for a new generation.

The movie is brimming with Harris' love for his hometown, its history and its idiosyncrasies, as well as his fondness of classic B-movies. (The movie has no connection to Ed Wood's notoriously low-rent "Plan 9 From Outer Space," other than having a similarly small production budget.)

When Lucinda (played by Stefene Russell), a poet and aspiring reporter, uncovers an artifact on the shores of the Great Salt Lake, she learns a troubling secret. The artifact is the Plaque of Kolob, which describes an imminent alien attack on Utah — led by the vengeful space queen Nehor (Karen Black), the neglected 28th wife of Brigham Young.

Oddball touches abound, from a "rave" remix of the LDS hymn "Kolob, Sweet Kolob" to a hilariously unhinged turn by Utah performance artist Gyll Huff (who died last summer) as Brigham Young's notorious enforcer Porter Rockwell, uttering the hilarious threat, "I'm gonna shoot ya, and I'm gonna stab ya, and then I'll shoot ya and stab ya!"

"Plan 10 From Outer Space" remains a great example of an artist applying a warped eye and a warm heart to a place he knows really well. It's a movie anyone who loves living in Utah, warts and all, can appreciate.

Twitter: @moviecricket —


'Plan 10 From Outer Space'

Trent Harris' off-the-wall 1995 homage to Utah's eccentric history returns in a remastered print.

Where • Tower Theatre.

When • Opens Friday, March 11.

Rating • Not rated, but probably PG-13 for language, brief nudity and sexual content.

Running time • 80 minutes.