Monday, November 2, 2009

Ed Wood, Mad Genius: A Critical Study of the Films


Written by Rob Craig
From McFarland Publishing

This book is another great film study from McFarland and covers one of the more interesting writer/director/producers of all time, Ed Wood.

Even non-horror film fans are now aware of his works and life thanks to Tim Burton’s terrific biopic from a few years back. The author approaches Wood’s films in a very scholarly and intellectual fashion and makes quite the argument that, contrary to popular belief, Wood wasn’t the “worst” director and writer of all time.

Here’s the official description from the publisher:

Filmmaker Ed Wood was controversial and critically maligned, even labeled “the worst director of all time,” yet he achieved cult status and remains of great interest today. This book frames Wood’s work, such as the cross-dressing themed Glen or Glenda? and the haphazard Bride of the Monster, as reflections of the culture of their era. Wood invariably worked with infinitesimal budgets, shooting at breakneck speed, incorporating plot twists that defied all logic. Yet there was a tangible if unfocused thematic thrust to Wood’s films, which meditate fitfully on gender, religion and society, revealing a “holy trinity” of fixations—sex, death and resurrection. Wood’s infamous Plan 9 From Outer Space encapsulates the fixations and flaws that were his hallmarks, and with 22 other films, is explored here. A filmography and 47 photographs are included.

I finally finished the book last night and, again, recommend it to fans of both Wood and film analysis. I don't know if I completely agree with the author's conclusion that Wood was deliberatly creating high art, but it is an interesting analysis nonetheless.

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