Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Ed Wood He Wood, Or Wood He Woodn't "B" Caught Ed?

Temple of Schlock joins Cinemastyles in celebrating Ed Wood and the 50th anniversary of his classic PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE!

Ed Wood He Wood, Or Wood He Woodn’t “B” Caught Ed?


Ed Wood Was Never The Worst Director Of All Time,
For Sherman!

The Keeper of the Pit

So I was standing there front’a my Pit-thetic dealer table down in Maryland, where many a mad movie maven’s been known to “B” a raven. Not that anyone from Maryland should take that statement Poe-sonal. Nor hoodoo I want to seem to cast blame on any of that fine state’s citizens for my ever having scum up witch the idea of selling movie posters. I might, howlever, blame Ed Wood for the Plan, upon witch he’d probably go “Nein, nine!”

Bedsides witch, I have a feeling the gore-iginal plan to sell movie memorabilia was, Ed Wood or wouldn’t, all stew-Pit, stew-Pit MINE.

One reason I reekmember it all well is because it was the day a person lifted my own Poe-sonal 1-sheet to Corman’s THE WARRIOR & THE SORCERESS. Yep, the one with the late, great David Carradine creature featured in sword & sorcery artwork depicting a busty babe so niced she had to every morning put on her steel bra twiced. As in, she has UPon her chest four, um, I SAID yum mamorable Poe-trusions to make any state she’s in a merry land.

Now rest assured, leer reader, that when I came home I found that I still had of said poster, like the barbaring ‘em her own shelf, a second set. Plus I purdy much know who Madoff with that sheet, and said party’s been mentioned rather often as the prime suspect to the fright persons. Not that I’m making any noises their taking the two-for-the-price of none 1-sheet would “B” worth his or her Carradine for…

An udder reason I reekcall all this so well is one of my fave’rit movie people of all time, whose material I often caught at the loco drive-ins in the wayback backseat daze of my miss spurt youth. By whom I mean Mr. Sam Sherman, a king of so-called “B” movies and master of monster movie titles “B”yond compare. Not to mention a RE-titler of his hand-made monster hits. Many’s the time me and my drive-in go-goin’ gal would “B” but moments into the second creature feature of a fright night scheduled for dusk to DONNA THE DEAD, when soddenly I’d ghoul “Hey, this friggin’ thing’s DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN under a new title since last year!” Gal Wood yawn, say “So what else is new?” I’m telling ya, Sam was a master past all “B”lief at the art of sending out old films under new money-kers. Got so it didn’t matter if you were watching an Independent International biker-mama-rama or a play in mold monster mash up…ya still couldn’t name all the titles of many of the man’s films. Heck, I mean NECK, even old Dracula couldn’t Count ‘em all without an Alucard!

You see, fear reader, for many years I sold so many Sam Sherman/Al Adamson/I-I one-sheets and pressbooks…CHEEP!...I swear if anyone woulda come into the hall and asked security if there was anybody in the place sold Sam and his partner Al Adamson’s stuff, the guy would point my way and say “Why, Sher, man!”

Now at this pint in slime, this show, Sam and I had run into each other many a time, and we’d often shoot the “B” movie breeze. I can’t say enough good things…okay, this is about horror movies, gore or less, so “Ghouled THINGs” about…sigh, okay, make that aBAT…Sam Sherman. Let alone his partner in pix, the late, great guy Al Adamson, who had a handshake like an iron fist, who one time gave the Poeson writing this arty kill such an unexpected slap on my back in greeting that I about fell to the floor my short Irish guy own elf. Wherever ya are now, Al, I miss ya, and I haunt leprechaunin’ ya. May “B” sometime I’ll see ya up there, and we’ll have us a wild FEMALE BUNCH’a good times.

And man, I ‘member a show where Al was like two tables down, and ev’ry free moment one of us would meander up or down to the other guy’s table and we’d swap UFO stories. Seems to me Sam and Al had around then set their sightings on one or two aliens amongst us shock you mentallys….

Even when this tale takes place, I was already called “the Sam Sherman table,” gore or letch. Ah, all those posters, in color, or “B”-yew!-tiful black and white, mostly drawn no doubt by the light of a dawning gray morrow.

Sam would wander by at shows and stop to chat. Here’s where you can date this encounter: word at the show had been some t.v. crew was rumored to come by to get on-scream wordage on the upcoming ED WOOD movie. You know, from loco horror fans’ Poe-spective.

And sure enough, it happened, I wouldn’t Ligeia tomb ya!

So Mr. Sherman and I were scarily engaged in comparing the wonderful, blunders full world of Ed Wood, and had pretty much made our case in the matter. As in, Ed Wood wasn’t the worst director of all time, by any demeans.

And did the lady with her film crew behind her and a mike to her lips head fright to Sam and me like a salmon headed upscream? Lemme answer that: of curse she high hair-do hoodoo’ed!

Then again, maybe the sheet I had hanging behind us of Ed Wood’s I LED TWO LIVES… aka GLEN OR GLENDA… had something to with her singling us out, and that’s no t.v. cable! Little did she know, though, how the Samster would, ahem, sweater out.

Without any editorial pre-ramble the comely commentator shoved her mike into Mr. Sherman’s boyish face-iogomy and asked “So tell me, why WAS Ed Wood the worst director of all time?”

Now I won’t hackually SAY that right that moment Sam gave me a, as they say in certain parts of my native PA, “shite eating grin.” BUTT, I’ll write it.

“First off,” smiled the Samster charmingly, “Ed Wood was NOT, ever, the worst movie director of all time.”

Camera crew stepped back. The mikette, however, did not. She said she’d been told that Mr. Wood was indeed the earner and owner of said title. Why, wasn’t he the man who made something called PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE? And wasn’t THAT the worst MOVIE of all time?

No, Mr. Sherman reiterated, and went on to hexplain he MADE movies himself, lots of them, and having no money to make them didn’t make things any easier. How ev’ry week there’s the same 10 major ultra-million$ of bucks movies playing in multiplex "theaters" the size of a drive-in projection boooth, and at least 5 of them will be forgotten by next year this same time. But Ed Wood, he made movies everybody remembers from the first time they see ‘em till the day they die. Movies people call people over to see and have a good time with, laugh, holler, throw pie plates, wear Angora sweaters they’ve just dragged out the closet, say “Hey, check out THESE hubcaps.” Okay, may”B” he didn’t quite say all of that, but close enough, and you know, fear reader and watcher, the type gathering I mean: and the folks watching don’t have to enjoy horror movies to love such Kong-munal eeek!-vents.

Gotta admit, I joined in from time to time, but Sam the man knew the business end of making no-budget movies, and gave her the business end. Oh, he was nice about it, as he told her how the Edster, like himself, had no help from the major studios, no major publicity campaigns in national weekly mags, and basically did what he did on a shoestring budget come what the heel may.

One member of the camera crew was already turned, taking in shots of the hall, for all I know thinkin’ “Wow, CHAINSAW HOOKERS! Wotta lay to grue!”

As I reekcall, Mr. Sherman finished his defense of Ed Wood with a hopeful promise that since Tim Burton was behind the new movie, he was sure what he’d just said re Wood probably be borne out for all the world to see. By then, though, the mikette was backing off likewise, then away she went, but not before tossing us a look like we’d both crawled up from the very scary Depps.

Or could “B”she thought that those aliens, from up high in the pie plate sky UFOs I mentioned earlier, had indeed finally Landau’ed.

Ah yes, if only when she asked if I had any posters to PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE I could have turned behind me to the wall, pointed and gone “There, you Lugosi, SEE?”

Now I’m pretty sure I’d shaken Sam’s hand before in our travels. But I’m certain I never until then did so so handily heartily and told him “Great job,” can ya digit?

So lemme say here and now, that unlike the t.v. mikette, I have come today not to bury Ed Wood, but to praise him. Man made movies like no one else before or since. Who else had a way with deathless dialogue that even when subject and verb didn’t hackually agree, at least did so with daring, scaring and verb? AND did it grammercilessly.

Who else, when Lugosi died before PLAN 9’s finish, could have even imagined hiring as Bela’s “double” one’a the wife’s doctors? But, think of it…who else could have pulled a manic move that was reely straight and chiropractical? And got the movie onto some schedule BACK.

Who else amongst Wood’s Kongtemporaries that worked up poverty row pictures has had a major motion picture based, not DEbased upon his life? Let alone one where a “major” movie award for it became a Disney’d full thing?

Just for fun, let’s hexamine a few of Wood’s competitors in low to no budget land, all of whom made movies you could see a thousand times and, unlike virtually any of Wood’s, not leave the theater 'membering a single line therefrom, ever. Heck, there were probably wittier lines on the bathroom walls, for urinal Ms. Mikette knows.

And a’slay we NIGHT OF THE GHOULS:

Listen, I’m moldy enough to reekmember sitting through TEEN-AGE ZOMBIES at a theater. So, there’s a sure dishonorable candidate for Ed W.’s supposed all tomb worst crown: joltin’ Jerry Warren. Even the redoubtable Katherine in T-A Zzzzz’s can’t help the man’s film-ugggh!-graphy from, at least, scumming close to a sure Victory!

Then there’s fearsome Phil Tucker, the man behind ROBOT MONSTER, a flick that reek-all-list-eeechly should never have to be seen by Ro-man or woman. Not even if you should want to see George suffer through a career Nader. Or, if you don’t “B”lieve me, check out Tucker’s CAPE CANAVERAL MONSTERS, that I also caught in a theater, proof postive that even as a lad I was way-out to launch.

Let’s not forget everlovin’ Larry Buchanan, director of ZONTAR, THE THING FROM VENUS, the incredible IT’S ALIVE…not the Larry Cohen killer krawling kid kreature feature, I mean the one with Tommy Kirk, another baby altogether…or the also featuring Kirk MARS NEEDS WOMEN. Although Buchanan did some reely went to theaters movies, the ones above are enough to warn you Buchanan’s work brings new demeaning to the term “To t.v., or not to t.v. ‘B.’” I mean, how can anybody take a title like MARS NEEDS WOMEN and not friggin’ make Double D Deimos of it?

None of this is meant to imply there aren’t modern movie meisters who way missed their horror movie marks, off curse and devilishly so. I won’t mention one all time worst Kongtender’s name, but his THE SIXTH SENSE, a huge horror hit world-wide despite having the world’s oldest ghost story ending of all tomb, or I’d prob’ly take a full and mighty Bruce-in’. So okay, I defy anybody to make it through his THE LADY IN THE WATER. As in, even if Ed Wood’a been born as a woman with a life ahead of her full’a angora sweaters, he…whoops, I mean SHE…coulda filmed a similar story sweater, wetter AND bedher. AND done it when he/she was a mer maid!

So, may “B” it’s slime time for the Temple Of Schlock to stage its own vote for worst movie director, ever, Ed Wood hexcluded.Who could IT’S ALIVE “B”? Hmm. That Strock guy, he coulda been smokin’ a phew! Herbs. Or, much as I love the man’s stuff, a man named Steckler pulled a few BOO-BOOs. And there’s a guy named Del whose monster hit surf movie, if ya ever saw it like I did in a theater, was a reel sun of a “B”each. And since I saw it without even the benefit of Annette, I was especially AIPeed off.

Then there’s a guy named Milligan who did a werewolf movie full’a the worst ever, but dead to rats, stuff you’d never want to see. Saw THAT one with his BLOODTHIRSTY BUTCHERS at a drive-in that had already played enough Milligans to know any more shoulda been snack barred!

Holy Hannah Queen of the Vampires, the votes are already scumming in! Yikes, it’s like a killer “B” movie D-lugey! Could it “B,” should I get my vote in early, just to make Sherman?

Okay, here ghouls: my two for one wonder of a winner is…shrimp roll, puh-lees… William Beaudine, whose JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN’S DAUGHTER I caught on a drive-in double, ahem, Bill w/ the man’s BILLY THE KID VS. DRACULA. And hey, howl abat THAT? All these words to scum full circle back to one more movie poster worth Carradine for. (Or, just ripping it off the drive-in Kongcession stand wall and flushing it down the John!)


Mykal Banta said...

TOS: Loved this post. You are so right - back in the glory days of sci-fi, there was no shortage of bad and wonderful directing. Hell, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a bad director that loved the crap out of making movies. Loved the Sam Sherman parts. I am experiencing my own Al Adamson revival, and have enjoyed several of Adamson's films. Brain of Blood is the favorite so far. Love Sherman on the commentary track for a lot of the Something Weird DVD releases, giving the real dope about making films for Independent International Films. Great stuff. Great post. -- Mykal

Kris Gilpin said...

wow, great article! those were the fun old days ;-)

when someone TRIES to make a Bad Film today, it's different, too self-conscious. unless you're Uli Balls--who's simply too talentless to be enjoyably bad!

Greg said...

Keeper, I have to go with my original choice in my inaugural post to the blogathon: Harold P. Warren, writer, producer, director and star of Manos: The Hands of Fate. Shooting with a camera that had no sound (hence the abysmal overdubbing on the soundtrack), no ability to film for longer than 30 seconds, and literally no understanding of even the basics of film language (of which Ed understood in spades even if he didn't always execute): for instance, during the over-long shots near the beginning of passing countryside he has it go from left to right and then right to left and then back again.

If I stumbled across an alligator in a swamp, it jumped up, ate my video camera, had it gurgle around its stomach for an hour or two and then shit it out a better film would result than Manos: The Hands of Fate.

To call Ed Wood the worst director or Plan 9, or any Wood film, the worst in the face of this blunt and reeking evidence is a travesty perpetrated by fratboy posers who don't know shit about the world of cinema.

Oh, and a damn fine post. Thanks a lot for contributing.

the Evil Twin said...

Keeper! Man, it's starting to become a family reunion around here! I think I designed a logo for the Poster Pit back in the 80's. Same guy, from Catawissa, right? I remember you selling stacks of II stuff at Fanex one year - I bought a couple of things and you threw in some swell free stuff including a Nurse Sherri one-sheet that I kept on the back of my office door for years! You really can't beat the wonderful Gray Morrow art on all that stuff...

I've never understood so many who were quick to condemn Wood as the worst director of his time. Hell, there were so many other less competent (but fun, nonetheless) filmmakers who cranked out so many bad genre films - guys like Andy Milligan and Pat Patterson come to mind - that were more deserving of that title...

- The Evil Twin

Ant Timpson said...

Is this where old fanzine writers come to drink and wax?

Big damn hellos to Kris and Barry.. how the hell are you two dudes? It was just a matter of time before the interwebby connected every disparate movie nut.

I have caught up with many from those glory days and was thinking about the both of you quite recently.

Great to see you on here.. Chris P is doing a beautiful job and it makes me feel really lazy coming here.

I'm all over this crazy electronic world if you wanna catch up anytime.

ant timpson
twitter: timpson

Kris Gilpin said...

oh yeah, the inadvertant-laff count in Ed Wood epics is so high, there's no way he was the worst director!

now, Milligan always bored me to death & Uli Balls must truly be the most worthless "filmmaker" out there today!...