26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2004
`Haunted world' was made in 1996, two years after the Tim Burton movie and consists mainly of (unbelievably staged) interviews with a select few people. Oddly enough did those who get the most airtime (Vampira, Gregory Walcott, Rev. Lynn Lemon) work with Wood on `Plan 9' only, while the people who worked with Wood throughout his career (make-up artist Harry Thomas, actors Paul Marco and Conrad Brooks) are largely ignored. Sleaze-director Steven Apostolof with whom Wood worked for many years does not appear, and the entire 10-year decline into soft core porn is covered with a single cut from "Orgy of the Dead", never to be mentioned again.
Haunted World boldly claims that these people haven't spoken out for 20 years. Obviously this is wishful nonsense, since most of the actors appeared in the four year older Ed Wood bio-pic "Flying saucers over Hollywood", and were also interviewed by Rudolph Grey for his book. Haunted World does not mention any of these, and those of the cast who mention Tim Burton's movie do so only to complain about their own portrayal. One gets the uneasy impression that the main motivation behind "Haunted World" is to allow the actors to paint a more flattering picture of themselves than Burton did.
Haunted World never really takes off. It does not have the spontaneity of "Flying saucers" and has a strange phobia of leaving the studio. Where "Flying Saucers" took us on location, `haunted world' has only miniatures of the exact same locations.
It must be noted that the main reason for making this movie was Crawford Thomas' initiative to release the 22-minute "Crossroads of Laredo". Co-produced with, and directed by Wood. It was never finished and the fragments were stored in Thomas' garage. Interviews with Ed Wood's friends and actors were meant to pad out the release, but quickly ballooned into a separate feature.
Haunted World covers familiar ground and is not an essential buy as such. It attempts to be a serious homage to Wood, yet lacks the structure of Grey's book and the chirpy enthusiasm of "Flying Saucers", but the Wood completionist will want this for "Crossroads of Laredo".
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2003
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
It's clear that Brett Thompson's documentary about Ed Wood was thoroughly researched and well made. Ed Wood comes across as a director with limited talent but unlimited enthusiasm, who had a real love for making movies. Most people remembered Ed fondly, but a few did not have kind things to say about him. Bela Lugosi, Jr. called Ed a user and a loser, who put his famous father in his movies just to capitalize on Lugosi's celebrity status. What he fails to mention is that, by the time Ed Wood met him, Bela Lugosi was a has been that nobody else would even hire. Gregory Walcott, who played the pilot Jeff Trent in "Plan 9 From Outer Space," likened the movie's production to a grade school play. I give Brett Thompson credit for including those interviews, to balance the documentary with those who only praised Ed's efforts. The biggest complaint I have about this documentary is the fact that it doesn't include Ed Wood's work in soft-core pornographic movies, acting in "Pretty Models All In A Row" and directing "Necromania," his final film. While it's sad to see what depths Ed had sunk to in his later years, it was an important part of his life that is entirely omitted. The highest praise I have is for one of the DVD's many bonus features. They managed to find and restore "Crossroads Of Laredo," Ed Wood's very first directorial effort. That alone is worth the price of this DVD.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Crafted with great respect, director Brett Thompson has fashioned a smart, sentimental journey back into the mind and movies of one Edward D. Wood, Jr.. He's done it rather well. Ed Wood and Orson Welles used their own money and private resources to finance the original "Independent Movies" of the 1950's and 1960's. Welles you've heard of. And today, we also remember Ed Wood. He directed the still humorous classic "Plan 9 From Outer Space". Ed Wood was so broke he couldn't pay the lab to develop the film on his last movie. "We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives". Those were his words. This is his life. A complete work of love, "The Haunted World of Ed Wood" reviews his first 5 movies, his amusing Hollywood antics, and his own personal decline. Bulging with special features, easter eggs, interviews, premieres, and memorials, "The Haunted World of Ed Wood" chronicles the now famous B-picture director and casts bright lights on a 1950's Hollywood we can no longer find. From Vampira to Bela Lugosi(including rare 1932 interviews), actors living and dead are interviewed(where possible) for this tribute to the sexually ambiguous Wood. This brand new DVD enhances the original 1995 documentary and includes the first complete release of Wood's 22-minute western, "Crossroads of Laredo(featuring director Wood acting in 3 small parts)". Somewhere in another dimension, in a place known as B-picture heaven, the fog is starting to lift. The lights have flickered on. The camera box is dirty. There's dust on the lens. The actors flub their lines. The cardboard set shakes a little. Somebody mutters about getting paid. Ed Wood is making a movie.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2002
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
A very touching film about a very nice man,who happened to be a lousy director..but he had heart,and he was a decent fellow,it seems.I have laughed myself silly watching his movies,and maybe I shouldn't have..but he was so awful,I couldn't help myself. That's not to say his films aren't entertaining.They most certainly are,and I think this film is a nice tribute to the man who never gave up,despite the cold-shoulder he got from mainstream Hollywood .
It's too bad he is famous world-wide now,and he isn't here to know it.Maybe he is up there,dressed in his angora wings,sitting on a satin pillow,smiling down on those of us who have come to love his weird little films.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2003
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Anyone who has ever seen or heard of Edward D. Wood, Jr. knows what he or she is getting into before the opening credits. "The Haunted World of Ed Wood" does a credible job of portraying the man as well as his manic life. Whether it's Gregory Walcotts' condescending nastiness or a funny, insightful Vampira (who, by the way is "hotter" at 80 then she was at 25!), I appreciate the inclusion of the good as well as the bad. For Ed Wood fans, this little gem is well worth seeing.
At the end of the "Plan 9 Companion" the narrator says, "Ed Wood did his best to make an entertaining film and succeeded-if not exactly in all the ways he may have intended." I think that says it all.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Director Brett Thompson has done a fabulous job giving us the life of the man once dubbed the Worst Director in Hollywood. Thompson wisely eschews mocking Wood, and instead concentrates on a skewed vision of the American Dream: A career, a wife, family and an angora sweater. But Thompson also gives us the good with the bad: On one hand, we have various Wood-ites telling us all Ed needed to make a great film was more money; on the other hand, there's Bela Lugosi, Jr., calling Wood a "user and a loser". Thompson also mixes interviews with some witty recreations and images, including Wood's raid on the World War II beach in women's undies.
A pleasure from start to too-soon finish.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Ed Wood is generally regarded as a person it is acceptable to ridicule. Born in 1924 in Poughkeepsie, New York, he spent his childhood and youth in thrall to pulp fiction, comic books, and movie matinees. After distinguishing himself in combat during World War II, he drifted to Hollywood with an itch to drink, wear women's clothes, and make movies. He did all three--and in the case of the latter Wood, although he would act, write, direct, and otherwise participate in at least thirty-eight films, is generally considered one of the most profoundly inept artists in the history of cinema.
Wood is best known for a series of ultra-low budget films he wrote and directed in the 1950s: GLEN OR GLENDA, JAIL BAIT, BRIDE OF THE MONSTER, NIGHT OF THE GHOULS, and most infamously PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. By the mid-1960s Wood's drinking problem, always significant, began to overcome him, and he eeked out a living by writing and occasionally directing pornography. He died of heart failure, most like brought on by his many years of alcoholism, in 1978.
At the time of his death none of the trade papers even bothered to print an obituary. Two years later he was made famous by the book THE GOLDEN TURKEY AWARDS--but it was fame of a dubious sort inasmuch as the book described Wood's PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE as the worst film ever made. Largely due to this description, Wood's films began to surface again and became popular due to their very ineptness. By 1996 interest was such that producers Crawford John Thomas and Brett Thompson were able to swing a documentary.
Directed by Brett Thompson, THE HAUNTED WORLD OF EDWARD D. WOOD JR. is essentially a series of interviews intercut with each other and footage drawn largely from Wood's various films. As a premise, it is hardly original--but it works extremely well, and Thompson astutely introduces as many of his interview subjects as possible in a highly theatrical and very retro manner that plays remarkably well into the story of both Wood's folly and ultimate self-destruction. The subjects are often quite remarkable as individuals: the articulate, self-mocking Vampira (aka Maila Nurmi), who appeared in PLAN 9; the fluttery and intensely sincere Delores Fuller, Wood's former lover and sometimes film star; the very handsome and flatly forthright Bela Lugosi, Jr.; and many, many others.
Slowly but surely, the subjects unravel Ed Wood to the viewer, some of them taking him very seriously (more than one considered him a very talented man who simply never got the breaks), some ripping into him as incompetent both as a filmmaker and a person (Vampire describes him as a buffon and Lugosi Jr. as "a user and a looser.") And more than once they contradict each other in their accounts--most particularly Delores Fuller and Loretta King, who flatly dispute each other's statements and who give rise to the thought that Wood himself may well have told very different stories to each.
As the documentary progresses it acquires a certain sense of nostalgia for the days of B movies, when almost any one--including Ed Wood--could manage to line up backers for an inexpensive horror flick, no matter how bad it might be. When it at last concludes, it delivers a surprising sense of sadness, loss, poignancy for the man who dreamed far, far beyond the scope of his talents. While it may not be on a "serious" subject, the documentary delivers what it set out to: a portrait of Wood as a human being. As such, it becomes a bit difficult to laugh at him at all, no matter how much we may laugh at the various films he created.
When released theatrically, the documentary ran at ninety minutes; with previously cut material restored the DVD runs at one hundred twelve. It also comes loaded with extras, including Wood's first known film, an unfinished western titled STREETS OF LAREDO; footage of the documentary's Hollywood premiere; a reunion of Wood's cast members at a Palm Springs film festival; a much more. Although you might think THE HAUNTED WORLD OF EDWARD D. WOOD, JR. would appeal most to Wood fans, I suspect it will also appeal to any one interested in the film industry of the 1950s--and it will prove much more touching than they expect. Recommended.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
THE HAUNTED WORLD OF EDWARD D. WOOD JR. (1995) was assembled from 1994 interviews (identifiable by Lyle Talbot saying he's 92 and was born in 1902).
For those mainly familiar with Tim Burton's highly fictional ED WOOD (1994), this hour and forty-eight minute documentary will present differing opinions on many events depicted in that film. Examples:
Rev. Lynn Lemon claims no Baptist ever forced Ed to change the title of "Graverobbers From Outer Space" to "Plan 9," and implies that Wood did so himself to try avoiding paying royalties to investors.
Loretta King and Dolores Fuller have conflicting memories of BRIDE OF THE MONSTER (1955). Fuller's version coincides with Burton's, but Miss King says no one ever asked her for backing money, not even when production shut down temporarily, and that her agent arranged with Ed to give Loretta the female lead purportedly written for Dolores.
Ed's first wife, Norma McCarty, and her son Mac (from a previous relationship), were left out of Burton's picture, arguably because her story was similar to Fuller's. Norma, who has a stewardess cameo in PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (1959), gave Wood, her husband of several months, the boot when he confessed to being a crossdresser.
In her interview segments, the former Vampira lays around, looking obese, ugly and every day of her 72 years. She gleefully cackles over the idea that Ed tried patterning himself after Orson Welles, then indiscreetly reveals that the director of CITIZEN KANE (1941) gave her a dose of the Clap.
Also appearing are actors Connie Brooks and Paul Marco, plus Ed's production partner, Crawford Thomas, who's the producer of this documentary. All have loving memories of Wood, in contrast with Bela Lugosi Jr., whose venomous remarks about Ed must've had him spinning in his grave. Jr.'s assertion that Wood exploited his dad and put him in the worst sort of movies omits the fact that dad was already working in bombs before Ed came along.
It's not entirely true that Lugosi was a "has-been" by the time Wood and he met, yet, except for one TV role, he did have a four year lay-off between ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948) and the stinkeroo VAMPIRE OVER LONDON, also über silly BELA LUGOSI MEETS A BROOKLYN GORILLA (both 1952). Ed's infamous semi-biopic GLEN OR GLENDA (1953) was Bela's next film after "Gorilla." In hindsight, it's far more memorble than either "London" or "Gorilla." During a four movie association with "Eddy," Lugosi also appeared in THE BLACK SLEEP (1956), with Basil Rathbone, Lon Chaney, John Carradine, Akim Tamiroff and Ed's very own Tor Johnson, so his working with Wood didn't end other opprtunities.
THE HAUNTED WORLD OF EDWARD D. WOOD JR. and all the extras included with it are must-sees for Eddy fans. They're also available as part of a marvelous multi-film collection, THE ED WOOD BOX.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2006
I found this documentary to be probably the best tribuye to Edward D. Wood, Jr. available.
Cheaply done, prroly written, this documentary was mainly a few of Ed's old friends sharing their memories of Ed and thereby cashing in on their association with him.
What better tribute to Ed Wood can there be?
on December 7, 2013
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
"Ed Wood" the Johnny Depp film, is by far the most entertaining study of Ed Wood's life and filmmaking career, his methodology of making B films and his uniquely wild and somewhat deranged personality - where he lacked in talent he made up for in enthusiasm and passion for filmmaking - as well as his relationship with the late great Bela Lagosi, who he brought out of retirement to act in his films and also cared for during his geriatric addiction to morphine. As bad as most of Wood's films were, they were undeniably innovative and entertaining.
This film, made two years later, is an actual documentary (one of only two ever made - read on) based on Ed Wood (as opposed to a dramatized biographical film like "Ed Wood"),that centers on how, after his death, his b-films became cult classics and what their impact was, along with his relationships and his unique place within the B-film industry within Hollywood.
The sometimes bizarre and quirky interviews of people who knew him and worked with him are humorous and interesting - whether they were partially staged/scripted or not, but it is certainly missing some of the more important folks as some of the other reviews mention, and his 10-year decline into soft core porn is breezed by in one cut within the film, which is a huge blunder... whether fans of Wood like it or not, that was what he did for the entire last decade of his career. The filmmakers should have held themselves and this film to a higher standard - especially after the huge success of the film Ed Wood with Johnny Depp two years prior to the Haunted World's release.
The film does however have something that no other does, and that is the unreleased footage of "Crossroads of Laredo" one of Ed Woods unreleased films - so for serious Ed Wood fans, this is a must. Otherwise it is an okay homage to Ed Wood but a lot of talking heads and not enough quality content. However, the bonus features are generous and good, and I have to give the makers credit for including a balance of perspectives on Wood - most of them are fond memories but they don't omit people like Lagosi, Jr. and others who did not like him (as much as I disagree with Lagosi, Jr. that Ed Wood exploited his father for his name - Lagosi was not working and was a morphine addict who Ed grew to deeply care for as is shown in "Ed Wood" as well as documented in other interviews of people who knew him.
For serious fans, it is important to note the one other documentary that exists on Ed, which is very well received and known as both "The Ed Wood Story: Plan 9 Companion" and "Flying saucers over Holllywood: Plan 9"
Plan 9 is a reference to the film Plan 9. I have never seen either Plan 9 or the documentary, but would like to, as far as I can see it has never been released on DVD, and there are only a few VHS copies as of the writing of this review that are for sale on Amazon, with two different covers but to my knowledge the same film. That film examines the directorial history of Ed Wood with particular attention to the making of 'Plan 9' and again, is considered the better documentary of the two.