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The Complete Works of Edward D. Wood, Jr.
Introduction by David C. Hayes
Edward D. Wood, Jr. has been called “The Worst Director of All Time” and is winner of the Golden Turkey Award. He has made some of the most laughable, and entertaining, films to ever come out of the independent Hollywood scene. With classics like the hastily constructed Plan 9 From Outer Space (1958) and the surrealistically-autobiographical Glen or Glenda (1953) Wood has placed an indelible mark on the art of film production resulting in a big-budget life story by movie giant Tim Burton, titled Ed Wood (1994). There is a lesser-known sidelight to Wood’s career as a producer-writer-director-actor, almost another career entirely. Edward D. Wood, Jr. is one of America’s most prolific short story writers and novelists. Since his early films have been covered extensively, this volume is chiefly dedicated to Wood’s fiction and lesser known films and other products.
Beginning in 1963, just to make meager ends meet for his wife Kathy and himself (insert: “booze”), Wood began to write for some of the major California smut publishers (this does not include Wood’s unpublished, 1948 novel The Casual Company, a Marine comedy that led to his disastrous stage play of the same name). He would continue to write novels, short stories and essays for the next fifteen years, until his death on December 10, 1978. In that time, Wood, under quite a large number of pseudonyms, is known to have penned at least 80 novels, hundreds of short stories and a slightly lesser amount of non-fiction. There are more Wood-writings discovered every year, usually under another of his many pseudonyms. Publishers like Gallery, Pendulum, Calga, Pad and others would publish sex, smut and sleaze novels at a breakneck pace through the sixties and seventies, and Wood, by all accounts, was the largest on-staff “producer,” meaning the volume of his work was a great deal more than his fellow writers. At the same time, Wood wrote many soft and hard core porn screenplays for A. C. Stephen, Jacques Descent and Joe Robertson.
1963 saw the publication of Wood’s Black Lace Drag, a torrid tale of transvestite hit man Glen and his alter ego Glenda (sound familiar). BLD was relatively popular and would go through multiple printings under different titles and pseudonyms. It is also known as Killer in Drag and Twilight Land and has been reprinted up until 1998 by 4Walls 8Windows. In 1967, Wood penned a sequel called Death of a Transvestite. This novel detailed Glen’s story, as told by himself, while awaiting his punishment on Death Row. Transvestite has also been reprinted many times, 1998 again being the most recent.
In between BLD in 1963 and Transvestite in 1967, Wood penned at least 11 more novels. This period in Wood’s literary career is usually called the Golden Age. Less concerned with the hard-core sex, Wood concentrated on unique characters and wacky situations, all with the undeniable Wood touch (strange grammar, pink angora and transvestites, among others). In this period Wood wrote Orgy of the Dead (1966, less than a straight adaptation of the film, but more of a compilation of horror/sex short stories), Parisian Passions (1966, aka 69 Rue Pigalle), Devil Girls (1967, filmed in 1999 by Bowlegged Man Media) and Bloodiest Sex Crimes of History (1967, “non-fiction”) among others. Early on, Wood teamed his fascination with classic horror movies with the publisher’s demands for sex and, quite literally, started to build his own genre.
Also in this period, Wood penned his only other known series, a novel and its sequel. In 1966, Watts... the Difference was published under the name Ray Jones. This peculiar little story dealt with a steamy romance among the fires and looting of the Watts riots in Los Angeles. Pad Library, the book’s publisher, quickly had Wood (under his own name) write Watts... After (1967) based on the popularity of the first novel. Wood was known to be fearful for the next few years about retribution from activist groups like the Black Panthers for his writing the novels. He was also very, very drunk most of the time.
In this excerpt from Side-Show Sirens (1966, aka Purple Thighs, Pad Publishing), Wood’s fetishes are clearly evident, as is his unique take on grammar and the uses of English:
“I’ll take your word for it.”
“What can I do you out of?”
“Come over and see that big fuzzy boy of yours.”
“The Snow Man?”
“I don’t mean Donna, your half-and-half.”
Duke laughed broadly. “Come on back!”
The two men entered the main entrance in a quick turn, both having to step aside briefly to permit the skinny man, the midget and the fat lady to squeeze by them. The freaks were again heading for the platform and another ballyhoo.
1968 and 1969 saw Wood’s writing move into the Silver Age. Some of Wood’s unique plot construction and characters were still there, but the stories themselves were more preoccupied with explicit sex. In this period, Wood published 19 known novels and a couple of non-fiction pieces on the film Orgy of the Dead (1965), in magazines like Naked Films (1968, Phoenix/ Corinth). The Silver Age also saw Wood move away from his horror/sci-fi roots. Titles like Night Time Lez (1968, Columbia), The Gay Underworld (1968, Viceroy), The Sexecutives (1968, filmed as For Love or Money the same year), Hell Chicks (1968, Private Edition) and Mamas Diary (1969, filmed as Operation Redlight the same year) dominated Wood’s writing. There is an emphasis on gay, lesbian and biker themes in the Silver Age that was only hinted at during Wood’s Golden Age. The Gay Underworld is a selection of stories, “...ripped from today’s headlines!” Each vignette is a transvestite-committed crime, and each includes its own fair share of sex. Incest, gay sex, transvestism and orgies were everyday themes for Wood during this period. Wood is true to his transvestite-form in this selection from The Gay Underworld:
Once more his eyes opened up in pure pleasure as he took the panties into his own hands. He rubbed the material to his cheek as he had the dress. Then he spread out the crotch and kissed it. As the material remained over his lips his eyes again found the naked girl and he talked through the crotch of the panties. “Ohh, how much you don’t know what you got girl… How much you don’t know…” He took the panties from his lips and momentarily buried his face in them. After a time of further studying and feeling the soft material he slipped them on under the mini slip.
Also during this period, Wood wrote Raped in the Grass (1968), at least parts of The Svengali of Sex (1968), and Bye, Bye Broadie (1968) for Pendulum’s Pictorial division. The concept of these novellas was truly interesting. Supposedly, the stories are adaptations of actual movies (a Central American revolution, philandering psychologist and a creepy All Girl’s School, respectively), and the books contain “stills” from the movies on every other page. What was more than likely the case, a series of photographic stills were taken and the story written around the photos...without a movie. From Wood’s foreword to Raped in the Grass:
A guerilla band of near-wild men and one sadistic lesbian capture two young girls on a trip… a trip that either one of them will ever forget. They thought they would rather die than submit… but they found a new world of emotional release with these uninhibited, savage people.
1970 to 1972, Wood’s Bronze Age, saw the publication of more short stories and pseudo-non-fictional “studies,” than novels. Wood’s stories appeared in, at least, 20 publications (a few of which, like Horror Sex Tales, were completely Wood-written and edited). Getting back to his horror/sci-fi roots, for the short story production at least, Wood penned classics like “Final Curtain,” in Belly Button (Feb. 71), “Dracula Revisited,” in Wild Couples (Mar. 71) and “That Damned Faceless Fog,” from Beavers (Jun. 72). Wood contributed many stories to single issues, and sometimes dominated the entire magazine (writing and editing), for a few “experimental” periodicals from Gallery Publishing. Horror Sex Tales (1972) was a completely Wood-produced magazine with stories including “The Witches of Amau Ra,” “Rue Morgue Revisited,” and “Scream Your Bloody Head Off.” Wood’s penchant for sci-fi was quelled with his inclusion in both issues of Weird Sex Tales, Volumes I and II (1972) and Legendary Sex Tales (1972). Another horror/sex magazine, Monster Sex Tales (1972), also appeared on the stands with a few Wood stories enclosed.
While writing the countless short stories, Wood’s Bronze Age also saw him write and co-write several “scholarly” dissertations on sex, all published by SECS Press (the Sex Education Correspondence School, where Wood had written and directed a series of 12 8mm films to be sold to “students” of the school in 1971). During this time, Wood wrote (under the company-shared pseudonyms “Dr. T. K. Peters” and “Norman Bates” as well as his own name and private pseudonyms), among others, A Study of Sexual Practices in Witchcraft and Black Magic (1971), A Study of a Black Sexual Habits and Techniques (1971), The Sexual Man, Book II (1971) and The Sexual Woman, Book II (1971). During this period, Wood also wrote 3 complete novels. They were The Only House (1972, adapted into the XXX film Necromania, written and directed by Wood and the film The Only House, written by Wood both in 1972), To Make a Homo (1971) and Mary-Go-Round (1972), all for Little Library Publishing.
The final phase in Wood’s literary career, the Vodka Age, is a little less illustrious than his previous works. From 1973 until his death in 1978, Wood produced only a handful (for him, at least) of written works and films. Consumed by alcoholism and facing evictions every other month, Wood worked steadfastly on a Bela Lugosi biography titled Lugosi: Post Mortem. Wood admitted that the Lugosi book was his best work and was in the final stages of finishing it when Wood, and wife Kathy, were escorted from their apartment by the Sheriff’s Department. They were only able to take a few suitcases with them and, sadly, the Lugosi manuscript was inadvertently left behind. Presumably, it was thrown out with the rest of the Woods’ possessions. During this period, Wood continued to write smut. Although his pace had been slowed by the ravages of vodka, gin, whiskey and beer, Wood persevered and penned 7 complete books and had multiple short stories included in the anthologies like Tales for a Sexy Night, Volumes I and II (both 1973) and a non-sex story, “Pearl Hart,” about the last and only female stagecoach robber in the United States. This story appeared in Outlaws of the Old West (1973, Mankind Publishing). Wood continued to publish short stories and articles in men’s magazines during The Vodka Age. His work appeared in, at least, 8 magazines including Deuce (Feb. 1973), Bi-Sex (Feb. 1975) and Goldiggers (July 1975).
Wood’s finest achievement in this period (aside from the unfinished Lugosi biography) was his two-volume set on sex films called A Study in the Motivation of Censorship, Sex and the Movies (1973, Edusex Press). These two volumes spotlight many genre films (exclusively Wood’s later works) and discuss the ramifications (as filtered through Wood’s warped perceptions) of censorship on the film industry. Wood’s last known published work, The Swedish House in 1978, has yet to be located.
Forced out of yet another apartment in December of 1978, Wood and Kathy took refuge at the home of veteran horror actor Peter Coe. Wood died of an alcohol-induced heart attack on December 10, 1978 in Coe’s bedroom. He was watching football. Many of Wood’s friends believe that having to write the porn for a living was Wood’s real killer. His drinking served to stave off the sting of missing pride that the porn caused, and the heart attack just helped the process along. The fact still remains that Wood, even in a drunken stupor, accomplished feats of writing unheard of today. At least 80 novels, hundreds of short stories, 100+ screenplays and a bevy of non-fiction articles can all be safely attributed to Edward D. Wood, Jr., 1943’s Fastest Typist in New York State and one of America’s Most Prolific Writers (subject matter notwithstanding). After 5 years of fandom and intensive research by a staff of highly trained smut-connoisseurs, we bring to you the following, horrific volume. Enjoy.
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