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Does anyone like the movies of Ed Wood?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Steve Hoffman, Jun 8, 2003.

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  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Edward D. Wood, Jr., the World's Worst Film Director!

    I first saw PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (aka Grave Robbers From Outer Space) back in the 1970's on some horror TV show here in LA. Boy did it stink, but I kind of liked it.

    In 1975 when Bela Lugosi, Jr. was being interviewed by Robert Cremer for a book that he was writing called "Lugosi, The Man Behind The Cape" he mentioned that Ed Wood was living in a dive in Hollywood, drunk and broke and making occasional pornos. Lugosi, Jr. was grateful to Ed for befriending his father right before his death and felt bad for Ed. Ed was too proud to accept charity.

    That same year a friend of mine who worked at a memorabilia bookstore on Cherokee in Hollywood called me up one day and told me he was going over to have lunch with Ed Wood and did I want to come along? I foolishly told him no. Boy did I ever regret that! Ed died soon after and his landlord just dumped his belongings in the garbage; his old scripts, notes, photos, etc. Tragic.

    I loved the movie by Tim Burton called "Ed Wood". If you have not seen it, you should; it's an Oscar winning classic!
     
  2. jeff e.

    jeff e. Member

    Location:
    NY
    I have to admit that his films are a guilty pleasure of mine. I think GLEN OR GLENDA? is my favorite--it is simply mind-blowing. It's inept of course, but still a very daring and deeply personal film.

    If you want to see some really disturbing stuff, check out some of the cheap porn flicks he made and/or starred in at the turn of the 70's. In THE LOVE FEAST, old chubby alcoholic Ed is dressed in skimpy lingerie and dominated by some young nubiles! Not for the faint of heart... :bigeek:

    You're right on about Tim Burton's ED WOOD, Steve. It's an amazing film--I'm one of the ten or so people that actually saw it during its original theatrical run. For those of you who want to dig even deeper, buy a copy of "Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood, Jr." by Rudolph Grey. It's alternately fascinating and deeply sad.
     
  3. Roland Stone

    Roland Stone Offending Member

    PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE is a deserved cult classic. It's essentially ninety minutes of "what's-wrong-with-this-picture?"

    Fans of THIS IS SPINAL TAP or WAITING FOR GUFFMAN take note; this is the real deal, a genuine schlock masterpiece that fails on every level. The story, dialog, and effects are so incredibly bad you can't believe it's not intentional.

    Characters trample cardboard scenery; scratch themselves with guns; walk directly to marks conveniently X-ed out on the uncarpeted stage floor; mime piloting a plane in front of a shower curtain on a bare wall. They'll exit one scene in daylight, enter the next in nightfall, only to return to day again. Cars change models randomly. You can see the strings on the flaming pans and hubcabs that are supposed to be flying saucers. As one reviewer said, "This movie looks like it was made in someone's garage."

    Even better, the cast is assembled from bizarre non-actors that would do SCTV proud. A barely intelligible 300-pound Swedish professonial wrestler; a flamboyant alien leader who sounds just like a game show announcer; an enormous-breasted horror movie host; and poor Bela Lugosi, who died before filming and was edited into the narrative in the most preposterous way possible, using a stand-in who looks nothing like him.

    You'll quote dialogue from this film like good SEINFELD. Trust me, this is a small sample:

    "For a time we tried to contact them by radio but no response. Then they attacked a town, a small town I'll admit, but never the less a town of people, people who died."

    "Your guess is as good as mine Larry. One thing's sure, Inspector Clay's dead, murdered, and somebody's responsible."

    "Sometimes in the night when it does get a little lonely I reach over and touch it, then it doesn't seem so lonely anymore."

    And wait until you hear the scientific description of the dreaded element, Solarbanite, widely hailed as the most brain-twisting piece of dialogue in movie history!

    PLAN NINE even features wonderful period music. I just can't say enough about this most awful of all awful films. It's just a train wreck that keeps on going. Because it's not a "real" comedy, there are a few dead spots while the plot, er, thickens, but it's back to the insanity soon enough.

    ED WOOD, Tim Burton's loving recreation of the director's life, is carefully modeled after PLAN NINE, and is a wonderful movie in and of itself. One of those best-of-the-century books, FLICKERS, selected ED WOOD as one of the 99 best films ever made, and I agree. Martin Landau won an Oscar for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi.
     
  4. ZIPGUN99

    ZIPGUN99 Active Member

    I'm a huge fan, I have copies of "Bride Of The Monster" "Glen & Glenda" and "The Sinister Urge" from Admit One Video of Canada I bought in the early '80's. I've seen most everything else that's available too. Everything he's involved in is strangely compelling. Plan 9 might be considered one of the worst movies ever, yet it gets better everytime you watch it. "All you of earth are idiots!"

    If only Ed Wood was alive to write the dialog for Tim Burton's "Mars Attacks."
     
  5. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    Hilarious stuff! I have some of his films on VHS(hope they're still in decent shape).. . Amazingly enjoyable and awful. PLAN 9 is the keeper, of course, but GLEN OR GLENDA is almost as 'good' and many of the others have some great moments. His way with dialogue will never be topped...."Time for go to sleep!":D Love that scene where the detective scratches his scalp with the end of his gun! Going from daylight to dark in a heartbeat...and back again!

    Agreed! Burton's ED WOOD is not only a great film, it's a reasonably accurate yet sympathetic portrait(where's that DVD, guys?). When I think of all the polished hacks who have invaded Hollywood with half-hearted muck, here was a guy with absolutely no real talent yet filled with enthusiasm, ambition and a genuine love for cinema.

    Burton did him justice, but turned around and forgot with MARS ATTACKS! he should have done the film in Woodian fashion, rather than taken the big budget and made the mess he did.

    ED:cool:
     
  6. JohnG

    JohnG PROG Nation!

    Ed Wood is one of the great movies of the 90's, a Tim Burton masterpiece.

    When will this be on DVD?
     
  7. Jimbo

    Jimbo Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Zero/Zero Island
    Plan 9 is the ultimate "so bad it's good" movie. If you ever get the chance to see it on a big screen, drop everything and go!

    "Ah yes, plan 9, reanimation fo the dead. How's that going?"

    Whatever happened to plans 1 through 8? Well, they didn't work out, but plan 9, now THERE'S a plan!!:D
     
  8. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    And of course the actor has papers on his desk, reading the script while he's explaining the plan. PLAN 9 has to be the funniest movie I've ever seen...nothing quite like it anywhere. At times, watching THE BLOB, I've wondered if they had Wood as a special adviser or something...some of that dialogue and wooden acting is right out of Ed's playbook....but THAT one was a big hit! A shame Wood never had even one....:(

    ED:cool:
     
  9. Roland Stone

    Roland Stone Offending Member

    Here's one good man's patient listing of the continuity errors, flubs and nonsense in PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE. Note that even this lengthy list is front-loaded, indicating the author gave up trying to catalog everything.

    Keep in mind such a list could never completely describe this film's "mistakes" without reprinting the entire script with extensive footnotes, commentary, stills, and indexing. We're probably talking two or three volumes, one for micro-, another for macro-, and another for supplemental philosophical speculations on what the existence of PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE says about humanity, freedom, art, will, the works. Presumably, such a project is underway at Indiana University Press, British Film Institute, or one of the other high-end film history publishers.

    [0:00:14] Jump cut
    [0:00:31] Criswell redundancy: "Future events such as these will affect you in the future."
    [0:01:16] Criswell is obviously reading a cue card.
    [0:02:45] The priest at the funeral never opens his mouth to say a word.
    [0:02:45] Criswell's narration says it's sundown, but it's obviously broad daylight.
    [0:04:15] The controls in the cockpit are obviously fake.
    [0:04:46] Boom mic shadow is easily seen.
    [0:05:42] The string holding the flying saucer is visible.
    [0:05:50 and MANY other occurrences] The flying saucers wobble as if being hung by a string.
    [0:06:00] Stock footage shows a completely different cemetery.
    [0:06:27] It's dark in the cemetery, but the sun shines outside of the cemetery.
    [0:07:00] Criswell redundancy: "The grief...became greater and greater agony."
    [0:07:09] Criswell redundancy: "The home that they shared together..."
    [0:08:02] Criswell redundancy: "...never to return again."
    [0:08:03] When Bela Lugosi walks off the screen, it's obviously a freeze frame--the swaying tree suddenly freezes.
    [0:08:03] Even though the old man walks into the street and gets hit by a car, his shadow is still on the ground!
    [0:08:19] Criswell hesitates, as if he momentarily loses his place on the cue card.
    [0:08:20] Isn't the old man's wife rather young for him?
    [0:08:39] A man at the old man's funeral says that it's "getting dark." GETTING?? It's already pitch black!
    [0:08:49] A woman at the funeral screams--and by gum, the sound travels so slow that it picks up in mid-scream!
    [0:09:13] Night changes to day.
    [0:09:25] Day changes to night.
    [0:09:25] Seems to me that the tombstones are WAY too close together for there to be room for bodies!
    [0:09:39] Clay briefly forgets his line: "Medical, uhhh...examiner been 'round yet?"
    [0:10:10] Really bad jump cut.
    [0:12:21] "You mean the kind [of flying saucers] from up there?" No, you dumb***k, the OTHER kind of flying saucers!!!!
    [0:12:27] Jeff describes the flying saucers as "cigar-shaped!" (For those of you who haven't seen the movie--they're saucer-shaped!)
    [0:13:13] A strong wind from the flying saucer's exhaust is strong enough to blow Jeff and Paula to the ground, but not strong enough to move their hair!
    [0:13:35] Someone trips over a tombstone and causes it to wobble.
    [0:14:28] The zombi-fied old man is obviously a stand-in for Bela Lugosi, as a) he has more hair than Bela did, b) he's much taller, c) he's thinner, and d) holds his cape over his face to [very badly] hide the fact that he's NOT Bela! [This stand-in will from here on be referred to as "Dr. Tom."]
    [0:15:13] Zombie Vampira flinches when Inspector Clay fires at her.
    [0:16:07] The detective scratches himself with the barrel of his loaded gun.
    [0:16:50] The priest at Clay's funeral is obviously reading from a cue card.
    [0:18:10] The flying saucer is flying low. REALLY low.
    [0:19:10] The rockets seem to all explode in exactly the same place in the sky, with the power and longevity of exploding firecrackers.
    [0:20:01] There’s a small mysterious black piece of fuzz in the "sky."
    [0:20:38] An example of Ed Wood's trademarked idiotic dialog: "Visits? That would indicate visitors!"
    [0:21:42] The planet is obviously an inflatable toy.
    [0:21:55] Criswell makes a brief--and useless--narration: "What will be their next move?"
    [0:22:44] The leader of the so-called advanced race of aliens completely misuses the word "resurrection."
    [0:23:27] Why does the leader use earth days when instructing on when to meet him again?
    [0:24:19] The flying saucers cast HUGE shadows as they leave their "planet."
    [0:28:10] Day changes to night.
    [0:31:49] Night changes to day.
    [0:32:39] Two different screams come from Paula's mouth at the same time!
    [0:32:55] Zombie Clay struggles to get out of his grave.
    [0:32:58] Bad film edit.
    [0:33:50] Dr. Tom makes a tombstone wobble.
    [0:34:02 - 0:35:53] Day/night inconsistency -- TEN TIMES!
    [0:37:05] Clay, who's supposed to be 100% dead [??] while the electrode gun isn't on him, blinks his eyes.
    [0:38:07] Jump cut.
    [0:40:17] While Kelton is in Clay's opened grave, the tombstone that fell in a few scenes earlier isn't there.
    [0:40:17] Clay was obviously NOT"six feet under," as when Kelton stands up, he's only knee-deep.
    [0:43:35] How did that reverb effect get on Eros's voice during the recording?
    [0:43:55] Redundancy: "Eons of your years ago..."
    [0:45:03] "Atmospheric conditions in outer space..." HUH????
    [0:48:43] "Electrode" gun implies that it has no mechanical parts. So how can it jam? And if Eros and his race are supposedly so far advanced, why don't they design a gun that WON'T jam????
    [0:49:13] The re-deadened Clay's shoulders move as he breathes.
    [0:49:30] Clay blinks.
    [0:51:21] The flying saucers are making noise--IN OUTER SPACE!!
    [0:51:33] Thanks to a bad edit, a car materializes out of nowhere.
    [0:51:44] Day changes to night.
    [0:52:50] Colonel Edwards arrives at Jeff and Paula's house with the detective, but he wasn't in the car when it pulled up!
    [0:54:54] After knocking out Kelton, Dr. Tom adjusts his cape.
    [0:55:14] After Dr. Tom disintegrates, all that's left is his cape. Does that mean that the old man was buried nude except for a cape?
    [0:58:41] It's four o'clock when Jeff and the detective enter the ship. How do we know this? There's a CLOCK on the wall inside!
    [1:01:50] When the inner door of the spaceship opens, light shines on the wall. But when the outer door is open, Jeff and the detective look into total darkness.
    [1:05:33] Eros calls a firecracker a "harmless explosive," despite the fact that thousands of people get seriously injured by them.
    [1:05:59] Eros flubs his line.
    [1:10:00] Eros says that his race doesn't "cling to life." Then why is he so hung up about saving everybody?
    [1:11:20] One window inside the spaceship shows a cloudy afternoon sky. The window next to it shows darkness.
    [1:13:21] Why does the zombie Clay get distracted when hit by a stick, yet bullets don't seem to bother him?
    [1:17:25] Criswell obviously reads from a cue card.

    source: dauber@prairienet.org
     
  10. mcow1

    mcow1 Sommelier Gort

    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    I'm a huge fan and now my kids are too sometimes they'll just grab the PLan 9 DVD and go watch it. It's stupid, stupid, stupid. I love Bride Of The Monster too. The part where Bela wrestles with the stuffed octopus and has to keep wrapping it's arms around himself just kills me.
     
  11. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    "Home? I haff no home"!

    Bride Of The Atom (Monster).

    You can see by the time that Bela filmed this great scene many months had gone by since the rest of the movie was filmed and he has aged dramatically. Quite touching.

    I love Bela Lugosi, therefore I love Ed Wood.

    What else can I say?
     
  12. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    Well, there was Vampira....:D

    There are more laughs in the first ten minutes of PLAN 9 than there are in all of John Landis' ham-handed films, combined.

    ED:cool:
     
  13. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    He took a Fantastic/Serious Gum Card Set and pissed all over it! I was sickened by that travesty...Did anyone buy the Mars Attack Cards in 1962? They scared me so much I had nightmares that my Father turned into a Martian! Just loved that set...I was thrilled at the announcement of the MOVIE VERSION...I cringed when BURTON name was attached to it...How did he get a COMEDY out of a SERIOUS subject I'll never know..I do have one theory...He had no personal attachment as he was not born when the original cards were available to appreciate the history behind that set. What a cool History indeed! Then again, he almost destroyed Christmas and Halloween with one Movie...I heard he also had the rights to the Card Set of Dinosaur Attacks! He was suppose to do a Movie on that set also...Thankfully he never made that into a Joke..I mean MOVIE...
     
  14. Joseph Kaufman

    Joseph Kaufman New Member

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    It's been announced. If it's anything like the Korean special edition (which seems to have the content intended for a domestic US release), it will be very nice.

    Re the original Mr. Edward D. Wood, I find his reputation as the world's worst director to be overstated. There certainly were many directors in the same period making films far more cynical, incompetent and boring. Wood was rarely boring, and he had the virtue of sincerity, however misplaced.
     
  15. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    Ed's love for cinema shines through in everything he did....what he needed was a chance in Hollywood, rather than being forced to live on the margins. With a technically competent crew, who knows what he could have done? But I suppose we should be glad, as fans, he never got the chance...

    Curiously, it was the Medved brothers who may have cemented Wood's rep as 'the world's worst director,' but they were wrong: a truly bad director would have made bad, boring films; Wood's films are never boring! And any movie that continues to make me laugh out loud to this day is a good film, not a bad one, however clumsy and incompetent its execution. There are enough well made movies that will cure insomnia; I want to be entertained.

    Years ago, I watched a documentary titled LOOK BACK IN ANGORA:D , which was a pretty fair overview of Wood's work.

    ED:cool:
     
  16. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Location:
    NY
    Steve, Tim Burton's Ed Wood was great, thanks for giving me an excuse to go rent it again (I haven't viewed it on DVD yet).
    Glen or Glenda is one of the movies that compresses your head till it hurts! (that's a favorable review).

    Didn't MST3K visit Plan 9? Boy, do I miss that show!

    Michael - very nice -an original one owner set of Mars Attacks! Everyone I know who has a set bought them second hand. I do think that the Dinosaurs Attacks set was definately tongue-in-cheek on many cards, though.
     
  17. reechie

    reechie Senior Member

    Location:
    Baltimore
    Nope, they said that one would be too obvious. Everybody kept asking them about it though.

    True story- one week, my band moved rehearsal to my place, and the bass player, who'd never been to my house, was looking at my video collection, and he said "You know, you're the only person I know who actually owns actual Ed Wood movies.

    I guess everybody else he knows just says they have them? :laugh:

    Love the man and his work. You knew he believed in what he was doing.
     
  18. Jamie Tate

    Jamie Tate New Member

    Location:
    Nashville
    Anyone seen Orgy of the Dead? A friend bought it for me for Christmas. We got a BIG surprise playing it that afternoon.
     
  19. mcow1

    mcow1 Sommelier Gort

    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    I hadn't heard of that one, so, I looked it up on IMDB. Wow, that's different but not Directed by ED.

    Hey, I'm an Icon now! woohoo
     
  20. Tyler

    Tyler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hawaii
    I've never watched any film made by Ed Wood. While I can appreciate a movie being so bad it attracts a cult audience, I'll probably never decide to sit down and actually watch it.
     
  21. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

  22. Jamie Tate

    Jamie Tate New Member

    Location:
    Nashville
    It was only written by Ed but came in a box with the Ed Wood Collection plastered all over it. It's really just soft core porn. He went into making that in his later years. Kinda sad.
     
  23. Roland Stone

    Roland Stone Offending Member

    I'm surprised, especially considering that you quote SPINAL TAP in your posts. PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE is the real-life cinematic equivalent of SMELL THE GLOVE.

    PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE is so incompetent it borders on the surreal; I'm sure Woody Allen wishes he had made this film. But what makes PLAN NINE more than just the worst made movie ever made -- and, I believe, what inspires its cult audience -- is the agonizing sincerity behind it. Ed Wood desperately wanted to entertain people, but he also wanted to give them a message, usually one of tolerance and understanding.

    That these heartfelt pieties were delivered in the most ridiculous, incompetent, hackneyed manner possible -- by an alien leader shouting at his human attackers, a mad scientist lamenting his exile, or the voiceover in a crossdressing exploitation flick -- renders his films somewhat tragic, even noble.

    In some ways, Ed Wood's appeal is analogous to that of cult science-fiction author Philip K. Dick. Dick was a self-educated writer who tried his hand at realistic novels of suburban angst, only to find himself grinding out pulp two-fers for scratch: a deep thinker forced to express himself through the limited conventions of disposable adolescent literature, usually with a first draft.

    Ed, on the other hand, was an adolescent thinker who expressed already limited ideas through the conventions and cliches of childish, cookie-cutter genre films, using whatever he could scrape together between friends, unwitting investors, and stock footage. It's this contact with a genuine heart and mind (or half a mind, in Ed's case) behind all the tawdry trappings and silly stories -- the ghost in the motorless octopus -- that audiences find so compelling.
     
  24. Tyler

    Tyler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hawaii
    :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

    That's it, I'm sold! Is it out on DVD???
     
  25. Roland Stone

    Roland Stone Offending Member

    Of course. And it's loaded with extras!

    I'd recommend ED WOOD first, if your patience for bad cinema is exceeded by PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE's ninety minutes. As I said, once you've acclimated to the abyssmal production values, there are some dead spots while you wait for the film to get sublimely ridiculous again.
     
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