Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Jason goes to Not Necessarily Noir II--the grand Ed Wood Finale!

Yeah...Ed Wood (woo hoo?) Anyway, here we go.

Oh, by the way, big thanks to the inimitable Johnny Legend (world's first Ed Wood fan) for not only this program but Monday night's GIRL GANG/TEENAGE GANG DEBS program. Really cool guy.

First up, JAIL BAIT, starring Timothy Farrell (remember him from GIRL GANG?) as hoodlum Vic Brady. He's friends with Don Gregor, although he's certainly not the type of friend Don's father, Dr. Gregor, would approve of. In fact, he convinces Gregor to help him on a job robbing a theater after hours. But things go wrong, Vic shoots a girl (who lives) and Don shoots a security guard (who dies). Well, that's a problem because Don has enough of a conscience that he might just go to the cops. However, Vic has no such conscience, he just needs a way to evade the cops. Oh, hey, Dr. Gregor is actually a plastic surgeon, that's convenient! Also features the first speaking role by Steve Reeves (as a cop).

Second up, the classic GLEN OR GLENDA. This version was edited by Johnny Legend to be closer to Ed Wood's original cut, removing the incongruous bondage scene (don't worry, it was shown later in Johnny Legend's WOODWORLD presentation). Once again Timothy Farrell once again appears, as both the narrator and a psychiatrist who specializes in transvestism. When the cops find a cross-dressing corpse after a suicide, they go to him for advice. He spins two stories, one of normal heterosexual cross-dressing Glen/Glenda (Ed Wood himself), who loves the feel of angora sweaters but is terrified his fiancee won't approve. The second is Alan/Anne (Tommy Haynes), a pseudo-hermaphrodite who undergoes a sex change operation to become a woman. Throughout it all, Timothy Farrell gives a heartfelt and earnest appeal for tolerance and understanding. And oh yeah, Bela Lugosi lords over it all as some God-like puppet master laughing at humanity while proclaiming, "pull the string!" Oh, and there are actually rather brilliant dream sequences with the devil. In fact, this might seriously be an overlooked surrealist masterpiece, incorrectly dumped into the "bad movie" pile due solely to the name Ed Wood.

Next, we saw Johnny Legends compendium of WOODWORLD. A 45 minute collection of bizarre clips, interviews, etc. Yes, there's the bondage scene taking out of GLEN OR GLENDA, now re-titled BELA'S BONDAGE BOUTIQUE. There's Johnny Legend being interviewed on MTV by an incredibly young looking Jon Stewart. And there's my favorite part, commercials Ed Wood shot "on spec." Normally on spec refers to a script you write hoping someone will want to buy it and make it into a movie. Well, Ed Wood shot a series of commercials for generic objects (e.g., a car) and then inserted a blank spot where the sponsor's card would go. I.e., a car maker might want to buy a commercial for a generic car (instead of actually showing their own) and then slap up a card with their brand name? Needless to say, Ed Wood sold exactly zero of these.

And finally, we had to end with the classic PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. This is actually the second time I've seen it on the big screen this year alone. Now this time it wasn't colorized, it wasn't in 3-D, and I wasn't dressed as Vampira (I'm sure at least one of these made it a more pleasant experience for the audience). But it was still pretty good...or pretty bad. Hell, it's PLAN 9, it exists in a realm outside of such outdated terms as "good" or "bad." It's just 100% PLAN 9.

Total Running Time (estimated): 261 minutes
My Total Minutes: 255,604

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