Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Loop Odyssey, Part Six by Greg Dziawer

Pleasure in a plain brown wrapper: The loops of Edward D. Wood, Jr.

CineFear's new DVD collection.
The originator of Ed Wood Wednesdays, and proprietor of this blog comprehensively covered the first nineteen Swedish Erotica 8mm loops in the summer of 2015. More than a year and a half later, it remains a rare attempt to seriously delve into Ed's involvement in loops. In the realms of Woodology, the loops remain one of the most speculative areas of all. Could Edward D. Wood, Jr. really have directed over 700 loops in a mere three years? Did he only write the subtitles accompanying these silent loops? What about the box covers? They often sound Ed-like. It's now generally accepted that he "made" the first nineteen Swedish Erotica loops—and some believe also #20 and #21, but that's another story—so why aren't those listed on his own resume?

In this week's Ed Wood Wednesdays, we're eliding all of those questions to consider the latest development in the realm of the loops: a brand spanking new DVD release of loops attributed to Ed.

Right here at the Loop Odyssey, a growing testament to my obsession with the topic, or condemnation of my research methodologies, take your pick, we recently overviewed a first of its kind: a disc of 8mm loops attributed to Ed. This DVD compilation includes 12 of the first 19 aforementioned Swedish Erotica loops, hereafter referred to by the code SE19.

The remaining seven loops of SE19 not included on CineFear's previous disc are presented in Ed's Wood, Volume II: Get Your Wood On! More Lost Loops 1973-75 in order of their catalog/index numbers. For the record, the onscreen titles are as listed below, along with my overheated editorializing:

  • #7 Park Lovers  - John Holmes on a date at the zoo.
  • #11 Morning Walk - Opening shot of female petting dog with a pink brush.
  • #12 Big John Part One - Master.
  • #13 Big John (Continued From Part One) - Piece.
  • #17 15" Commercial - Guess who?
  • #18 Wives At Play - "WATCH OUT THE OIL TURNS HER ON"
  • #19 Two Hot To Handle - "LET'S GET UNDRESSED AND TAKE A BATH"

The familiar Adult Cinema logo.
After the ubiquitous logo for Adult Cinema—seen across SE19 and hundreds of related loops and dozens of 8mm series by the same principal creators—the opening shot of the loop Park Lovers is of the female protagonist walking away from the camera out of blackness, in mid-closeup. Though perfectly setting the mood for what's to come on the disc, a surprisingly mannerist approach to proto-porn, before there were cinematic rules, a few seconds of this opening footage is missing, including shots of and a comment on the polar bears. The loops, overall, otherwise seem fully intact, and the transfers overall are better-framed than on the previous disc, all of the subtitles visible.

The sources are, likewise the first disc, variable, but generally serviceable, at minimum. All are the original subtitled—silent with appropriate era/genre music added—stateside release versions. Seeing the two parts of Big John in their original, awe-inspiring form was a first for me. Previously I had only seen the German-dubbed re-edit Super Stud, from Color Climax Corporation's Expo Films series. Happily spent, I can now say I have seen them all!

But wait, there's more! Keith Crocker, the founder of indie boutique label CineFear, goes even further out on a limb, including an additional three loops from three different series:

  • 69 Park Lane Drive- #7 from the loop series John's Girlsreleased as late as 1975 but clearly shot years earlier. This was one of only two loops in that series—Two Legged Deer with Holmes still outstanding—I had yet to see. Starring Saundra, whose sole appearances are in the larger family of loops, and who nearly always appears with John Holmes or Keith Erickson aka Luther Worth. Holmes still looks young and sort of innocent. Verbatim subtitles and signature cinematic tropes circa 1973. Color Climax distributed this internationally in 1976, one of their Pussycat Film loops (#PC434), as Fat Whopper.
  • Camper Pickup - #8 and last in the John's Girls series. Though commonly listed as hailing from 1975, the loops in this series appear to have been shot circa 1973-74. Saundra appears again, the subtitles identifying her by her other nom de porn: "LET'S SUCK THEM, BRIDGETT." Color Climax released it in 1976 under their Exciting Film label, as #920, Cocky Campers. The pickup and camper appeared in other related loops. Split-screen editing. Holmes and Worth appear here, subtitled: "UMMM!!!" I'd seen this loop before, with virgin eyes.
  • Hot Triangle- A loop from the Garter Girls series, not coincidentally recalling the long-running Pendulum magazine Garter Girls, a flagship title from 1968 that ran into the early '70s, spanning the West Coast Pendulum titles. One of a handful of instances of loop series and magazine titles sharing titles across the Wood Bloom Orbit. Saundra again, playing Poker and Threesome, with subtitles.

Rugs, pillows, furniture and bric-à-brac connect the large(r) family of loops to each other, if the verbatim repeat of subtitles and dreamy dissolve edits have not already converted you into a believer. Go ahead and ask yourself that age-old question: How much Wood could a Woodchuck chuck if a Woodchuck could chuck Wood?

Special thanks to Keith Crocker at CineFear for providing a review copy of the disc, still white-hot from hitting the street just last week.