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Orgy of the Dead
October 26, 2011 12:13 PM   Subscribe

Ed Wood's Sleaze Paperbacks.

Ed Wood’s sleaze fiction is also as strange, idiosyncratic and out of step with his times and mores as his infamous movies. Wood would write porn inter-spliced with lengthy philosophical, sociological and psychological discourse, he’d write first person narratives of life as a transvestite in the buttoned up America of the 1950’s. He’d riff on psychosexual themes, and unleash his id, his ego and his superego in turn, sometimes in the same chapter. He’d write about sex and the human condition without veneer or filters, offering up the damaged and anguished voice of a desperately soul-searching drunk with a sense of self-worth that would stand in dichotomy to his self-pity.

Little-known fact: Glenda, the milquetoast, suicidal transvestite from Wood's "Glen or Glenda" (available in entirety online, starting here), started out as a murderous hitman in drag.
posted by Bunny Ultramod (5 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hehe, I was just watching "Orgy of the Dead" yesterday (for "research purposes, I promise) and was amazed to see in the opening credits: "Screenplay by Ed Wood based on his novel"

What the hell?!? A novel about topless undead women dancing in a graveyard for 90 minutes? I was certain that no such novel could have existed, and that it was some kind of bogus credit so that he could keep his writer's guild membership or something.

Either that or ensure eligibility for a "Best Adapted Screenplay" award.
posted by ShutterBun at 1:07 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I found the TV Tropes page about Ed Wood is also quite an interesting read.
posted by addelburgh at 1:48 PM on October 26, 2011


The sex driven few found a new world of ecstasy with their discovery!

This sentence is very hard to parse.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:58 PM on October 26, 2011


The sociological ranting, the weird (page-filling) riffing and lack of psychosexual filter are all standard features of the sleaze novel. Most sleaze publishers simply did not exercise very much editorial control. They wanted a 40,000-50,000 word novel with sex scenes, usually a specific number or at certain intervals, and beyond that writers basically wrote what they wanted. Some writers were real professionals but most were essentially bohemians who wanted quick cash and flexible hours, and the results are occasionally oddly personal. My impression is that you could live on six or eight novels a year, which may sound like a lot, but the books are short and the expectations were low. Robert Silverberg wrote two or three novels a month for a few years and bought a twenty room mansion in Westchester.

From what I've read and heard of Ed Wood's books, they are not triumphs of literature. They are very sensational but not as confessional as the blurb makes it sound.

Four things set Ed Wood apart: the amount of time he spent in the industry, the number of publishers he worked with, his decision not to use a pseudonym, and the prevalence of transvestism in his novels. Well, five things, really -- the fifth is that he's Ed Wood and he made Glen or Glenda and Plan 9. This website has a much fuller list of books.

From the November 1964 issue of early gay-lib mag Drum: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF: The Haight Theatre, advertised as "the country's first theatre for particular interest films" closed one month after opening with both owners disappearing, one jumping $2000 bail. The particular interest film, "Glen or Glenda," a story of a transvestite, was claimed to have been shown to 1,500 persons during the first three days of operation, but attendance reportedly dropped to less than 50 a performance near the end of the run.

Contributing to the debacle were picketing junior high school boys bearing signs reading "Down with the Ladies," "We Want Walt Disney," and "Put the Hex on Sex."

posted by vathek at 6:42 PM on October 26, 2011


Don't know what it means but Gay Black is an awesome cover.
posted by fungible at 8:40 PM on October 26, 2011


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