I find myself thinking more and more about Ed Wood recently. Renowned as the worst film-maker in history (and actually awarded a Golden Turkey Award as the Worst Director In History two years after his death) I see him everywhere on this site.
Edward D. Wood Junior
You see, Wood isn’t a bad film-maker because he has no skill. In fact, in an essay paying homage to Wood in Incredibly Strange Films, Jim Morton writes: “Eccentric and individualistic, Edward D Wood Jr was a man born to film. Lesser men, if forced to make movies under the conditions Wood faced, would have thrown up their hands in defeat.” Why was Wood different? Well, as I said earlier, I see him everywhere on this site. Maybe not him physically, but certainly in spirit. You see, Edward D. Wood Jr. had passion.
His was not the normal passion some people profess for something they can take or leave, his was the passion of someone truly in love with the object of his passion – in this case, films. Passion takes the control and logic out of things. When making a documentary on transvestism, Wood cast Bela Lugosi as a classic horror style mad scientist. The role had no real place in the film but Wood had the opportunity to cast his screen idol Lugosi (who at the time was out of work and hopelessly addicted to painkillers) and couldn’t pass it up. The ultimate collector, his films included footage cut from documentaries and ready to be destroyed. Wood couldn’t bear the thought of these pieces being erased without being seen and, as visionary as he was, bought the lot and regularly wrote his scripts to incorporate them.
Original Plan 9 movie poster
Never is this more evident than in Plan 9 From Outer Space. During the filming of this movie Wood’s big star, Bela Lugosi, died and he continued the film using some shots he already had along with a hastily improvised body double. Vampira (an actress who introduced horror movies while dressed as a vampire) kept her “normal” vampire outfit during the movie because Wood simply couldn’t bring himself to present her as someone other than the Vampira character. This and the countless regular mistakes have teamed together to have Plan 9 From Outer Space be dubbed the Worst Film Ever Made. Yet Wood seemed barely able to notice them, his eyes seeing his vision for the film rather than what was actually going on film. And that’s what really makes both Plan 9 and Ed Wood special.
Had Wood made the film he as he saw it and refilmed every scene with mistakes, it would undoubtedly have been a basic 1950s sci-fi horror and soon disappeared from memory. Now, thanks to his vision easily overtaking the resources available to him, Ed Wood will remain acknowledged in history and has even had a film of his life made.
Tim Burton’s Ed Wood
Tim Burton’s Ed Wood casts Johnny Depp as Wood himself in a black comedy about the director’s life and films. The film (made in black and white to evoke memories of the films of Wood’s day) honours Wood as the visionary he really was with Depp’s portrayal being possibly the best performance of his career. Edward D Wood Junior would never have known he’d be remembered this way during his life. Towards the end he felt he’d failed as a film-maker.
I see him all over this site, in spirit. In the passion that each of us holds for the subjects we choose to write about, I see Ed Wood. Sometimes that passion leads us off on a tangent, yet the greater vision is all that matters. I don’t want to write the best blog in the world. I don’t want to be one of those people who make public appearances to speak about their blog, or who sell their stories to be produced as movies. I want to be like Ed Wood and I want my blog to be my very own Plan 9 From Outer Space, mistakes and all.
How about you? Do you want your blog to make you rich and famous right now, or would you rather be remembered fondly by those you’ve touched when you’re gone?
So, for those of you who got the right answer, here’s how to write your own Blog 9 From Outer Space.
- Write about what you care about! Simple as that. You’ll soon find others who care about the same things.
- It doesn’t matter about mistakes. If someone points one out, it just means they care enough about your post to help you make it better.
- Have fun, cause it’s really not worth it if you don’t.
So get out there and make your own Plan 9 style blog. Who knows, it may go down in history as the Worst Blog Ever.