|Reunited in resin: a customized diorama includes miniature likenesses of Tor Johnson and Vampira.|
"One of the hallmarks of fifties culture was its fascination with so many things grown abnormally huge ... Exaggeration was a fundamental aesthetic principle of the time, especially when it came to sex appeal ... The populuxe style reveled in distorted proportion. Tail fins and bosoms: The bigger the better! Ant Farms and Sea Monkeys: Tiny is wonderful! ... If oversized and undersized things were both popular, putting the two together was doubly thrilling."
-The Encyclopedia of Bad Taste by Jane and Michael Stern
|The Video Movie Guide|
Those video guides and their tantalizing capsule reviews were the gateway drug which led me to more detailed books like Danny Peary's Cult Movies and J. Hoberman and Jonathan Rosenbaum's Midnight Movies, both of which contain coverage of John Waters and Ed Wood. One crucial factor which connects these two disparate directors is that you can't really write about them without also discussing the eccentric, unmistakable, and irreplaceable actors who regularly appeared in their films. In Waters' case, that means not only the 300-pound, cross-dressing force of nature known as Divine, but the entire repertory company of so-called "Dreamlanders": vacant blonde Mary Vivian Pearce; scatterbrained, snaggle-toothed Edith Massey; pugnacious glamour girl Cookie Mueller; scrawny, scheming Mink Stole; and the depraved yet dapper David Lochary. Apart from some voiceover work and a supporting part in Hairspray, John Waters rarely appeared in his own early movies, so his Dreamlanders were the public faces of his work. Ed Wood, on the other hand, did play the lead role(s) in his own debut feature, Glen or Glenda? (1953), but for the most part, he, too, relied on a stock company of unique performers to people his motion pictures.
|Two "Wood spooks"|