Here’s the problem: a new Ed Wood film, which isn’t new at all but is a new release of a film previously believed to have been lost, will soon be available on Blu-ray. It has the feel of lost treasure to it, as the film darn near *was* lost to posterity. A few reels of film survived, including those discovered in the projection booth of a theater in Santa Monica in the 90s containing lots of extraneous material. The movie, TAKE IT OUT IN TRADE, was written by Ed Wood, edited by Ed Wood, directed by Ed Wood, and stars Ed Wood. Given that I am a huge mark for Wood, as all longtime readers know, why would this fail to inspire anything less than feelings of bliss in me, you might ask? It’s because TAKE IT OUT IN TRADE is a porno.
No, I don’t have any kind of moralistic aversion to porno flicks. I may have even seen one or two in my lifetime. The problem is, Ed Wood had to resort to making porno movies, and writing pornographic novels, just to keep food on the table. According to those who knew him, including his closest friends, he hated it. In his heart, he was a serious filmmaker, and there are even those who’ve suggested that having to stoop to make his living by creating pornography directly fed his depression, which fueled his rampant alcoholism, which killed him at the far too young age of 54. Would owning and viewing TAKE IT OUT IN TRADE, then, be a celebration of Ed Wood, or a celebration of the thing that ultimately destroyed his life?
It generates the same sort of feeling I get from films such as BELA LUGOSI MEETS A BROOKLYN GORILLA. I can’t help but think how much better the men were than their material, how it was beneath them, and it breaks my heart that they had to resort to taking such gigs in the first place. These men were royalty and had to go slumming. Do I really want to own and view an example of this latter, or would it be better to focus on the work they were proud of? Granted, their respective career highpoints, DRACULA for Lugosi and PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE for Wood, occupy opposite ends of the cinematic spectrum, but those movies were their respective masterpieces. I just don’t know if I want to see Ed doing something he hated, doing it not because he wanted to but because he had no choice. He didn’t, but I do. So what should I choose?
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!