In 1980 , two years after Ed Wood‘s alcohol related death at 54, film critic Michael Medved and his brother published “The Golden Turkey Awards” and gave Wood the award of being “The Worst Director of All Time” and naming his film Plan 9 From Outer Space “The Worst Film of All Time.” The forever constipated Mr. Medved must had the biggest bowel movement of his life when he discovered that he and his brother unintentionally put the wheels in motion for the cult celebrity status of Wood who, to Medved, was little more than an object of derision.
Quite simply, Ed Wood was an outsider artist, whose medium was film. He managed to create two highly personalized “masterpieces” of naive surrealism; Glen or Glenda (1953) and Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959) with “star” Bela Lugosi, who was clearly at the end of his tether.
In between these two films Wood made Bride of the Monster (1955) , also starring Lugosi (the only one of the three Wood films in which Lugosi actually ‘starred’), but that film was more of a concession to the genre and lacked the pronounced Woodian weirdness found in either Glen or Glenda or Plan 9 From Outer Space.
Fourteen years after Wood’s cult status rocketed out of the pages of Medved’s book, Tim Burton produced his valentine to Eddie. Clearly, Ed Wood was as personal a film for Burton as Glen and Plan 9 had been for Wood. Burton faced immense difficulty in mounting the project and was given what, for him, was a small budget. Artistically, the endeavor paid off and even did so financially, in time, although it took Touchstone years to realize the film’s cult potential for the DVD market.
In 1994 Tim Burton was the perfect artist to bring Ed’s story to the screen. Burton, recognizing a fellow auteur and genuine oddball, treated Wood, not with derision, but with the respect he deserved. Before Ed Wood, Burton, although trained at Disney, was still an outsider with Hollywood backing, which makes him (in that regard) a kindred spirit to Stanley Kubrick. Burton’s first big budget feature effort Continue reading ED WOOD (1994), TIM BURTON’S GLORIOUS SWANSONG.