Bicknell film festival will turn 25 with two ‘outer space’ cult classics

(Photo courtesy of Trent Harris) A beehive-headed alien carries Lucinda (Stefene Russell), the heroine of Trent Harris' 1995 B-movie homage to Utah history, "Plan 10 From Outer Space."

Utah’s celebration of oddball movies, the Bicknell International Film Festival, is marking the 25th anniversary of its founding with two alien invasion stories — one of them a Utah cult favorite.

The festival runs Friday and Saturday, July 24 and 25, at the Bicknell Theatre in tiny Bicknell, Utah — about 8 miles west of Capitol Reef National Park, and three hours’ drive from Salt Lake City.

This year’s theme, festival coordinator Don Gomes said in a release, is “Space: The Final Fun-tier.”

The festival’s opening film, on Friday, July 24, is the 1953 science-fiction classic “It Came From Outer Space,” in which a meteorite lands in the Arizona desert and starts having an effect on the nearby townspeople. The screening will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of master science-fiction author Ray Bradbury, who has a story credit on the film. The movie also is mentioned in the lyrics of both “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Saturday’s closing-night film — the festival only has two screenings — is “Plan 10 From Outer Space,” maverick Utah filmmaker Trent Harris’ 1995 spoof of science-fiction movies and his home state’s culture. It follows a woman (Stefene Russell) who discovers a plot for an alien invasion, engineered by the vengeful 27th wife of Brigham Young (Karen Black), using an army of beehive-headed minions.

Harris screened his movie “Rubin & Ed” at the first Bicknell festival, which he co-founded with Lory Smith and James Anderson. Harris will be a special guest at this year’s festival, appearing at both screenings.

Tickets for the 2020 Bicknell festival, organized by the Entrada Institute in Torrey, go on sale starting June 4, online at TheBIFF.org.