Edward Davis Wood, Jr. (October 10, 1924 – December 10, 1978), usually known as Ed Wood, was an American actor, writer, producer and director, best known for the B-movies he directed during the 1950s. His work on said B-movies has earned him an ironic cult following posthumously, especially after he was named as the Worst Director in the World by The Golden Turkey Awards, and inspired a biopic movie, 1994's Ed Wood.
- 1984 (shot in 1957) - Night of the Ghouls - writer, producer, director
- 1976 - The Beach Bunnies writer
- 1970 - Necromania - writer, producer, director (as Don Miller)
- 1960 - The Sinister Urge - writer, director (as E.D. Wood)
- 1959 (shot in 1956) - Plan 9 from Outer Space - Drunk Guy, writer, producer, director
- 1955 - Bride of the Monster - writer, producer, director
- 1954 - Jail Bait - writer, producer, director
- 1953 - Glen or Glenda - Glen (as Daniel Davis), writer, director
- 1950 (unfinished) - Crossroads of Laredo - Cowboy, writer, director
Why He and His Movies Suck
Why He Sucked
- He was a terrible alcoholic, destroying his relationship with Glen or Glenda co-star Dolores Fuller and also ending his brief marriage to Plan 9 from Outer Space actress Norma McCarty. While he was usually able to stay off the booze when he was actually directing, he never kicked his alcoholism entirely, contributing to his early death at the age of just 54 years.
- While he wasn't as bad of an actor as, say, Tommy Wiseau, he really wasn't any better at acting than he was directing.
Why His Films Suck
- Even by the standards of 1950s B-movies his films look incredibly cheap, with obviously fake sets and laughably bad special effects, most notably the octopus in Bride of the Monster and the toy flying saucers in Plan 9 from Outer Space.
- His dialogue is almost always terrible, often having characters state the blindingly obvious as if it's some major revelation.
- Often made bizarre casting decisions; Plan 9 from Outer Space for instance is narrated by famed TV psychic Criswell, has one of its zombies played by a mixture of stock footage of Bela Lugosi from an unreleased project, along with an obvious double (Tom Mason) who holds a cloak over his face, and has horror show host Maila Nurmi (a.k.a. Vampira) playing the wife of Lugosi's character, despite being about a third of his age.
- He paid very little attention to what was going on during filming, resulting in flubbed takes and continuity errors throughout. The actor who played the police lieutenant in Plan 9 from Outer Space spent the entire shoot scratching his head with a prop gun to see if Wood would notice; needless to say, he didn't.
- Tried to make his films look more expensive than they really were, by using massive amounts of stock footage. Even though it was a lot easier to get away with this in the days when films were mostly black-and-white, said attempts almost always stand out like a sore thumb.
- After his B-movie career dried up, he began making porn movies (though not starring in any of them, thankfully), most of which were more bizarre and disturbing than actually erotic judging by the few that still have surviving copies.
His Redeeming Qualities
- After his attempts at social commentary in Glen or Glen bombed horribly, he never attempted anything like that again for his future movies. Usually he wrote at least one character who shared his love of angora, but this was usually treated as an in-joke or minor plot point.
- By all accounts he was actually a pretty competent television director, having directed pilot movies, commercials, and episodes of both daytime soaps and Criswell's TV series. He just over-extended himself by trying to become a movie director.
His Movies' Redeeming Qualities
- Jail Bait and Bride of the Monster are actually decent enough for B-movies of their era, if you look past some of their funnier quirks.
- Judging by his work, and the accounts of the people who worked with him, he made movies out of a genuine love for the art form rather than just trying to make money out of it.