The late Ed Wood has been done a vicious disservice by Tim Burton. Because of the (rightful) scorn of 'Plan 9 From Outer Space', the general low-brow attitude of so much of his work, and the speed with which he pushed ahead, Ed Wood has always been a target for dismissive mockery. Tim Burton's buffoonish film then added an extra level of icing to the cake. By insisting on a narrative of 'HAHA HE IS SUCH A CLOWN', Ed Wood has been left as a point of comedy for college-educated elite film snobs. I have always felt though, that Ed Wood is more than that. Ed Wood was a dreamer. A flawed, and sometimes destructive dreamer, but always and chiefly, a dreamer.
As a general fan and defender of low culture, I have found myself pushing the Ed Wood boulder up the hill quite a few times, knowing that when I wake up, I will just have to do it all again. Many of (all, really) Ed Wood's films are horribly flawed. Sloppy writing, hasty changes, low budgets, poor tools... so on and so forth. But there is passion in them (other than the later sleaze porno films, but that is a different talk for a different time!) and there is honesty. Which, really, is more than I can say for Tim Burton. If you wanna make it personal.
In this collection, 'Blood Splatters Quickly', a solid collection of Ed Wood's short fiction is bound together. These stories range from pulpy 'women in danger' to sado-sexual screeds all the way around to creepy cautionary tales. And to be frank, I love them all. As a long time reader and lover of pulp mags, dime novels, detective/western/horror/scifi throw-away stories, this collection feels right at home for me. Sure, there are awkward moments, flawed elements, but really, these are honest stories, stories that convey something bigger and more truthful than any 'airplane books' ever strive to. These stories paint a picture of a desperate artist. A creator who just wanted to find the right way to be open. To tell the truth. To be real.
These arent Fitzgerald stories. They arent perfect. They arent even amazing, really. But they are fun. And more over, they are perfect little brass coated lead pills of honesty and passion from a person who has been shit on and denigrated his whole life.
Ed Wood was a true outsider. A rebel and a firebrand. And these stories of his show why. They arent the overblown impressions and jokes about him that have become his pop-culture-chosen face... they are the Ed Wood that low culture fans have always known was there. The Ed Wood worth defending. The Ed Wood the hipster literati have tried to wash out of the artistic consciousness of our time. This collection is the Ed Wood we need.
reviewed by Charlie Jack Joseph Kruger