The Haunted World of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (1996) - The Hunt for Edward D. Wood, Jr.
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The Haunted World of Edward D. Wood, Jr.
a.k.a. El Tenebroso mundo de Edward D. Wood

SEARCH EBAY FOR THIS MOVIE (opens new window)
Directed by Brett Thompson
Written by Brett Thompson
Wood regulars
Conrad Brooks
Dolores Fuller
Bela Lugosi (archive footage)
Paul Marco
Mona McKinnon
Lyle Talbot
Gregory Walcott
Edward D. Wood, Jr. (archive footage)

Additional cast
Loretta King
Reverend Lynn Lemon
Bela Lugosi, Jr.
Crawford John Thomas

Telling the story of Edward D. Wood, Jr. by following the story of Ed and his associates.
This film uses many artistic touches, such as an opening theatre procenium and filming people in highly stylized form, but the effect is very un-Woodian and makes the film more impersonal than the low budget feel of Flying Saucers Over Hollywood. The many scenes used from Ed's films are invariably the same ones used in previous documentaries. The only significant footage that cannot be found elsewhere are excerpts from an interview with Ed and the silent footage shot by Ed for an unaired 'PieQuick' commercial featuring (of course -ed.) Duke Moore. Despite the only appearances in an Ed documentray of people such as Lyle Talbot and Loretta King, there is very little new material here. Especially the period spent on Plan 9 From Outer Space is handled much more interestingly in Flying Saucers. The film focuses on those interviewed, so there in precious little information on people like Tor Johnson, Criswell or Kathy Wood. Also, the nature of the very stagy interview segments give them a falseness, as if we are watching a performance and not someone honestly talking, that previous documentaries avoided.

The focus is also unrelentingly on Ed's classic period. Although there are shots of some of Ed's novels, and footage is shown from the filming of Orgy of the Dead, (the same footage used in Look Back In Angora) there is very little said about his work after Plan 9. In fact, with the exception of small mentions of The Sinister Urge and Night of the Ghouls, the film completely ignores the whole of his output post Plan 9. While this approach is acceptable in something as specific as Flying Saucers, it is shamefully shortsighted from a film that is supposed to be a full reflection on Ed.

One thing of unique value is a lovely excerpt from what is apparently Ed's unpublished autobiography read by Bela Lugosi, Jr. It reads like real Ed, so I have no doubt it is authentic. This is one of the few stand-out items to be found in this film.

As an information resource, Haunted World is not really essential material. It is the bonus material (including its more enlightening DVD commentary) that make any purchase of this film worthwhile. The film itself is for completists only.
Best Line
"But from that first horror film, my young eyes were to see and my mind was to fathom "Dracula". And the name of the man who created the role, "Lugosi", remained permanently planted in a scope of horror which never has been duplicated." - excerpt from Ed's autobiography, read by Bela Lugosi, Jr.
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This film has had only two releases.

The Haunted World of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (VHS)This is the original VHS release of the film, from Englewood Entertainment.

An added bonus is the posthumously completed Crossroads of Laredo, Ed's first movie.

PROS: Contains extra movie. Original release.
CONS: Usually quite expensive for a VHS tape.

The Haunted World of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (DVD)This is the DVD release of the film.

It also contains Crossroads of Laredo.

Both the main film and Crossroads have full commentaries. The photo galleries feature pictures that are too small and that advance automatically far too quickly. Other extras (outtakes, TV coverage, tapes from various get-togethers) are a novelty only.

Many of the deficiencies of the original film are cleared up by the commentary. Holes in the narrative are filled and time is taken to explain what certain footage or photos are, when that information should have been covered in the documentary itself. In many ways, Haunted World works better with the commentary than it does with the original soundtrack.

An additional issue is that the DVD I received had several errors at the chapter stops, causing the film to either freeze momentarily or skip. It is unclear if this is a general problem or not.

PROS: Contains extra movie. Cheaper than VHS. Commentary more enlightening than film itself.
CONS: Possible bad encoding?

'ed.'s Choice' Award


The following are additional International titles that I have currently found no releases for. If you have any releases under any of these titles, please contact me.

No Image Available El Tenebroso mundo de Edward D. Wood (Venezuela)
"The Obscure World of Edward D. Wood"

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Images are used for review purposes only.

All other content, including (but not limited to): text, html & original graphics are Philip R. Frey