ARTE Trash salutes Ed Wood in November

Nothing brings us greater pleasure than the return of Arte Trash. Thursday nights around 1am pan-European viewers can watch the lowest of the lowest, the sickest of the sickest and the weirdest or the weirdest. Here’s what’s coming up…

OCTOBER (continued)

Oct 28: Baixio das Bestias
A man falls in love with a teenage girl, who is exploited by her own grandfather, who sometimes takes her to a gas station to show her naked to whomever pays him some money.

NOVEMBER

November is Ed Wood month. Hailed as the worst director ever (though, honestly, here at DV we’ve seen a lot of worse movies), Arte Trash is keen on showing you if Wood deserves this reputation or not. Three of his movies, starting with his most notorious one, will be aired on Thursday nights. (The following comments and summaries come from Amazon.)

Nov 4: Plan 9 From Outer Space
Plan 9 is the story of space aliens who try to conquer the Earth through resurrection of the dead. Psychic Criswell narrates (“Future events such as these will affect you in the future!”) as police rush through the cemetery, occasionally clipping the cardboard tombstones in their zeal to find the source of the mysterious goings-on. More than just a bad film, Plan 9 is something of a one- stop clearinghouse for poor cinematic techniques: The time shifts whimsically from midnight to afternoon sun, Tor Johnson flails desperately in an attempt to rise from his coffin, and flying saucers zoom past on clearly visible strings. Fading star Bela Lugosi tragically died during filming, but such a small hurdle could not stop writer-producer-director Ed Wood. Lugosi is ingeniously replaced with a man who holds a cape across his face and might as well have “NOT BELA LUGOSI” stamped on his forehead.

Nov 11: Bride of the Monster
Bela Lugosi plays Dr. Vornoff, a mad scientist working on a race of superbeings in his lab. His process of clamping a metal lampshade onto the heads of his subjects and zapping them with radiation usually kills them, but the monstrous Lobo (Tor Johnson) survives and becomes Vornoff’s assistant. Vornoff’s plans go awry, though, when he tries to get a nosy reporter to mate with Lobo and winds up being given the atom treatment himself. Suffice it to say that there’s a grappling match between Vornoff and Lobo until the evil doctor falls into a pit and wrestles a rubber octopus. Stock footage of lightning and an atomic explosion round things out for a great non sequitur of an ending.

Nov 18: Glen or Glenda?
Often mentioned as a contender for the title of Worst Movie Ever Made, Glen or Glenda? (a.k.a. I Changed My Sex, a.k.a. I Led Two Lives, a.k.a. He or She) remains Ed Wood’s weirdest film–and, for the director of Plan 9 from Outer Space, that’s saying something. Yet Glen or Glenda? goes way beyond camp, into some unique zone of demented personal expression, an essay/collage/autobiography that is no less fascinating just because it comes from a second-rate mind. Wood himself, under the pseudonym Daniel Davis, plays a transvestite struggling to reveal his tendencies to his wife (the toneless Dolores Fuller, Wood’s missus in real life). Mixed in with this exploitation story is a ton of irrelevant stock footage, as well as disconnected glimpses of Béla Lugosi bellowing at the audience; Lugosi’s dialogue is a tapestry of non sequiturs and portentous warnings.

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