Salt Lake filmmaker Trent Harris (whose "Rubin and Ed" has developed a local following) has a very dry sense of humor . . . in fact, some might say it's parched. And while "Plan 10" does have some chuckles for those who can get into it, there are also many jokes that fall flat, scenes that go nowhere and loads of silliness, weirdness and downright dumbness.

The plot can be summed up in tabloid headline fashion - Brigham Young Married an Alien! But that's getting ahead of the game.

The central character is Lucinda Hall (Stefene Russell), a young inactive Mormon who is trying to write a book about local history. But when she stumbles upon the Plaque of Kolob in a cave near the Great Salt Lake, it changes the direction of her book.

Instead of a history of Salt Lake City, Lucinda decides to write about a "mad Mormon prophet" named Norman Talmage. Talmage buried the plaque after discovering "the secret of the bees," which is essentially an alien conspiracy to conquer the Earth. So, Brigham Young sent Porter Rockwell to silence him, but Talmage escaped, using zany variations on Masonic hand signs.

In uncovering all of this, however, Lucinda finds herself stalked (by Danites?), snubbed (by historians who want the plaque) and warned (not to embarrass the church with her book). She also tries to help her wacked-out, returned-missionary brother Larson (Pat Collins), who has visions, nightmares and keeps warning that "Nehor is coming!" (The weakest subplot has Lucinda attracted to a weirdo neighbor she discovers is related to Talmage.)

To give you an idea of the off-the-wall tomfoolery that is at work here, Larson's father, a member of the Mormon faithful, tells him: "Now, you know what we believe about the kingdom of heaven." Larson replies, "You get your own planet and multiple wives." "Yes," his father responds, "and the other kingdoms aren't nearly as much fun."

Quirky? Yes. Funny? Well, maybe. There are those who will find any lampooning of Mormon doctrine and culture hysterical - but there's no question that Harris' off-kilter sense of humor is an acquired taste. (If the word "taste" can be applied at all.)

As Lucinda translates a book Talmage wrote in the Deseret alphabet, we find that Brigham had a 28th wife, Donna May Pratt, who was really Nehor, an alien from the planet Kolob (played by Karen Black - yes, the Karen Black of "Five Easy Pieces"; she also had a role in "Rubin and Ed").

As Brigham's 28th wife, she felt neglected and is now plotting a feminist revenge on Utah and the Mormons - which builds to a climax that has a beehive spaceship attacking Salt Lake City. (There are also one-eyed, beehive-headed monsters who are Nehor's slaves.)

In many ways "Plan 10" plays like a patchwork visualization of Calvin Grondahl's Utah spoofery in his cartoon books ("Freeway to Perfection," etc.), with gags about returned missionaries, Ted Bundy, seagulls, the Pioneer Day Parade, bees and beehives, etc.

Harris also seems to have lifted bits and pieces from other movies - his use of Deseret Alphabet subtitles under the opening credits mocks the opening credits of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (he also has a character scream "Run away! Run away!"), Larson's electro-shock therapy resembles "A Clockwork Orange" and his obsessing seems derived from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," a couple of moments have resonance from "Pulp Fiction" (when it is opened, Talmage's book emits a gold light, and the dance club sequence at first looks like "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, but then gives way to a Mormon version of the '50s club Quentin Tarantino created) and the entire premise here has its roots in the "Chariots of the Gods?" theory that aliens actually established Earth's early civilizations (which was also the basis for last year's "Stargate").

There are some laughs to be had, chiefly sly references to specific Mormonisms, a flannel-board explanation of LDS Church history, Karen Black's over-the-top performance (she plays it like an opera singer in search of a hernia) and the dance club scene with its rap/rock version of a Mormon hymn ("If You Could Hie to Kolob," with an added phrase - "Home Sweet Kolob"). Well, let's put it this way - you'll either be chortling or rolling your eyes.

The rest of the performances range from eccentric to non-existent and some scenes seem padded, as if it was a strain to reach feature length. The special effects, however, are surprisingly good, with the spaceship floating over recognizable Salt Lake structures in a seamless fashion.

"Plan 10 From Outer Space" is not rated but is in PG-13 territory, with a few scattered profanities and vulgar language, some veiled sex, some rear male nudity and comic violence (punctuated by goofy music . . . which may remind you of the "Rubin and Ed" soundtrack).