Sunday, March 31, 2019

Ed Wood's ANGORA FEVER: "Bums Rush Terror" (1972)

Another violent tale from Ed Wood.

NOTE: This article continues my coverage of Angora Fever: The Collected Short Stories of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (BearManor Bare, 2019).
The grim world of Ed Wood.
The story: "Bums Rush Terror," originally published in Horror Sex Tales, an insert in Pendulum's Jumbo Book (1972). Credited to "Ann Gora."

Synopsis: A nameless young derelict walks the streets of an unidentified but unfriendly city. He hates everyone and everything he sees, and all he cares about is getting some wine. A social worker, Helen Broderick, visits the homeless and gives some of them money, which they immediately use to buy booze. The young derelict plans to rape Helen and steal all the money for himself. He does rape her and ends up slashing her throat, too, but he forgets to take her purse. Later, inspired by a newspaper story about an old lady bum who died with $100,000 in cash pinned to her underwear, he decides to start stalking and killing homeless people so he can take whatever money they have on them. His first few victims yield only a few pennies, but then he encounters a deadly supernatural figure and realizes he's made a fatal mistake.

Wood trademarks: Alleys (cf. "Gore in the Alley"); bums (cf. "Gore in the Alley"); cheap wine (cf. "To Kill a Saturday Night"); liquor stores (cf. "Just One Question"); epithet "shit-head" (frequently used in Ed's own household, cf. Nightmare of Ecstasy); throat slashing (cf. "Hitchhike to Hell"); obsession with underwear (cf. Bloomer Girl); confrontation with Death itself (cf. Final Curtain, "Final Curtain").

Excerpt: "With each drunken stupor came the mania for the next kill and the certainty that some-body’s skivvies were going to be lined with cash. Even the sole of a hole-infected shoe could keep a few hundred dollars. A heel, if the bills were folded right, could hold even more. The mania was upon him with all the force of a tropical storm."

Reflections: Despite all of his financial and career misfortunes, Edward D. Wood, Jr. never actually wound up living on the streets of Los Angeles. But he certainly came close a few times. And during those years when he was bouncing from one residence to the next, he was also dealing with an out-of-control addiction to alcohol that drained whatever meager income he had.

Given all this information, one might think that Eddie would have been sympathetic to the homeless and to alcoholics. But that's not the case. In his stories, Ed has created a harsh, unsympathetic, and pitiless world of cruel, selfish characters who care only about their own disgusting urges. There are no bonds of friendship or trust among the bums in "Bums Rush Terror." They'll turn on each other in an instant, just for some wine or a few coins. The kindness of the social worker is repaid with rape and murder. (The story's most tasteless detail is that Helen Broderick climaxes during her sexual assault.)

But Ed does not aim all his hostility at the down-and-out. No, there are some subtler digs at society at large here as well. The main character feels contempt for the passersby who either ignore him or run from him. And the story points out that the deaths of homeless people are never investigated very thoroughly. "One bum, more or less, meant little to those who could afford a newspaper," Wood writes. So, just like in "Scene of the Crime," we're all to blame for this rotten situation.

Next: "Blood Drains Easily" (1971)

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Ed Wood's ANGORA FEVER: "The Hooker" (1972)

Ed Wood returns to one of his favorite professions.

NOTE: This article continues my coverage of Angora Fever: The Collected Short Stories of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (BearManor Bare, 2019).
An issue of Pussy Willow.
The story: "The Hooker," originally published in Pussy Willow, vol. 4, no. 2, August/September 1972. Credited to "Ann Gora."

Synopsis: Shirley is a virginal 19-year-old who has come from Nebraska to Hollywood in order to make it in showbiz. She's had no luck so far and can't even pay the rent on her crummy apartment. Her lascivious landlord suggests she pay him in sexual favors, but Shirley slaps him and walks away. Suddenly, as she ponders her situation, she feels the urge to masturbate in public and ducks into a gas station lavatory. Once finished, she decides to sell her body on the street for $10 a pop. Her first client is a pleasant looking young man who takes her to a sleazy hotel. After she undresses, the man reveals himself to be a cop. She faints. When Shirley awakens in a jail cell, she is being tended to by an "old butch" who promises to solve all her problems.

Wood trademarks: Naive actress coming to Hollywood (cf. Hollywood Rat Race, The Sinister Urge); character named Shirley (Wood's own drag persona and the name of many of his characters, cf. Necromania, Orgy of the Dead); prostitution (cf. "The Whorehouse Horror"); problems with landlords (an issue in Ed's own life, cf. Ed Wood); "pink clouds" (cf. Devil Girls, Take It Out in Trade); anti-men rant (cf. The Class Reunion, Drop Out Wife); sweaters (cf. Glen or Glenda); predatory lesbian (cf. Fugitive Girls).

Excerpt: "There were very few people on the street that time of day… but those, especially the men, who passed her couldn’t help but turn their heads. She wore a brassiere which made definite separations of her breasts and the red sweater featured them with exotic overtones… the buttons went directly up the middle and sunk deeply between each of the breasts. It was like accentuating the positive."

Reflections: "Stay home!" That's Ed Wood's oft-repeated advice to wannabe starlets in Hollywood Rat Race (circa 1965) when it comes to moving to Los Angeles. And, once again, Wood gives us a cautionary tale about a young female character who starts out as an untouched ingenue but ends up as a "street mess." By the early 1970s, Eddie himself must have been having second thoughts about his move to L.A. What could his life have been like if he'd stayed in Poughkeepsie? Maybe he would have written for the local newspaper or gotten involved in community theater while holding down a day job at the post office. I don't know that he could've been satisfied with that kind of life.

Wood wrote so many pornographic stories in such a small amount of time that he had to describe the same basic situations—intercourse, stripping, masturbation—over and over again. How do you do that and keep it interesting for yourself, let alone your readers? One strategy might have been experimenting with new vocabulary terms to describe breasts, penises, and vaginas. (How many synonyms for these body parts do you know?) In "The Hooker," Wood's euphemism du jour seems to be "boobies," as in: "Slowly, sexily she thought, she slipped out of the brassiere and her lovely boobies stood out firm and young and ripe." Like "dork," it's such an absurdly unsexy word that it negates any sense of eroticism.

Where Ed often comes to life as a writer is when he describes women's clothing and underwear in loving, sensual detail. In Ed Wood, Mad Genius, Rob Craig accused biographer Rudolph Grey of sensationalizing Eddie's transvestism, but I don't think there's any way of overstating this man's all-consuming obsession with feminine apparel. "The Hooker" is just another vivid example. In the very first sentence, Wood describes Shirley's sweater, pants, and shoes. In a sense, then, he introduces her outfit before he introduces her. That's how much he cares about clothes.

Next: "Bums Rush Terror" (1972)

Friday, March 29, 2019

Ed Wood's ANGORA FEVER: "The Hazards of the Game" (1972)

Getting up close and personal.

NOTE: This article continues my coverage of Angora Fever: The Collected Short Stories of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (BearManor Bare, 2019).
An issue of Garter Girls.
The story: "The Hazards of the Game," originally published in Garter Girls, vol. 6, no. 1, March/February 1972. Credited to "Dick Trent."

Synopsis: Pete is a contract killer who has been having a torrid love affair with an underwear model named Georgia for the last seven and a half months. She knows all about his line of work and discusses it openly with him after a night of vigorous lovemaking. Pete doesn't seem to mind; he enjoys his job and even admits he occasionally experiences an erection while killing someone. Pete suggests Gloria get into making pornographic films, but she's squeamish about getting a sexually-transmitted disease. Pete counters that STDs are just "hazards of the game" in her job, as bullets are in his. Gloria can tell that Pete is especially keyed up, the way he always is before doing a job, but she's shocked to learn the identity of his next target.

Wood trademarks: Cross-dressing (cf. Glen or Glenda, Love Feast); contract killer (cf. Killer in Drag, Death of a Transvestite); angora and other fur (cf. "Hitchhike to Hell," many other stories); marabou (cf. Bride and the Beast); sheer nylon and lingerie (cf. Glen or Glenda); the color pink (cf. "2 X Double"); "dork" as slang for penis (cf. "To Kill a Saturday Night," "The Autograph," "Come Inn"); booze/whiskey (cf. nearly all of Blood Splatters Quickly).

Excerpt: “Yeah! I can just see us getting married and settling down and having a flock of kids…. What do you do for a living, daddy…? I kill people, young son or daughter… that’s what I do, and I make a lot of money, that’s why you can go to all these fine private schools…. And soon I’ll teach you my business.”

Reflections: Ed Wood wrote a lot about prostitutes and hitmen. These are occupations that recur in his fiction, both short-form and long-form, with surprising regularity. In reviewing the stories in Blood Splatters Quickly, I drew a comparison between prostitution and Ed's own writing career. It's not difficult to imagine Ed seeing himself as a literary prostitute of sorts, churning out page after page of sleazy pornographic text just so he could buy booze and pay his rent.

But if Ed was a whore, perhaps he also thought of himself as a contract killer, too. His occupation may not have been overly respectable, but he was good at it. He was a professional who kept getting hired because his bosses knew he got results. He was the right man for the job, in other words. This very story, for instance, was written for a garter-themed magazine, and you'd better believe Ed includes numerous references to garters and stockings here.

Whether you're killing people, selling your body, or writing smut, it's important to enjoy what you're doing so you can take pride in your work. That's a very consistent theme in Wood's fiction. Our main characters in this story both love what they do. Even Sandra, the traumatized streetwalker from "Gore in the Alley," enjoys some aspects of her scandalous profession. Whatever the job is, you make it yours somehow. That's how you get through the day.

It's clear that Ed was thinking about his own writing career when he wrote "The Hazards of the Game." Georgia explicitly compares Pete to a writer and says he should consider that line of work. But Pete says it'd never work. For one thing, he can't type. We all know that wasn't a problem for Ed.

Next: "The Hooker" (1972)

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Ed Wood's ANGORA FEVER: "Gore in the Alley" (1972)

Once again, Ed Wood finds inspiration in the gutter.

NOTE: This article continues my coverage of Angora Fever: The Collected Short Stories of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (BearManor Bare, 2019).
Prowling the lonely streets.
The story: "Gore in the Alley," originally published in the Horror Sex Tales insert of Pendulum's The Jumbo Book (1972). Credited to "Shirlee Lane."

Synopsis: Sandra is a battle-hardened prostitute who walks the streets of an unnamed city filled with porno theaters and strip clubs. She flashes back to a traumatic incident two years ago, when she was left almost naked on the street by a client and then raped by a "scabby" man with syphilis. Now, she stalks the alleys of the city with a four-inch blade, waiting for bums to approach her so she can exact some revenge. One does, and Sandra quickly cuts off his penis and slashes his throat. She has obviously done this before and just as obviously plans to do so again.

Wood trademarks: Alleys (cf. "Hitchhike to Hell"); prostitutes (cf. Orgy of the Dead, "The Whorehouse Horror," "Private Girl"); maggots (cf. "Hitchhike to Hell"); bums (cf. "To Kill a Saturday Night"); blades and slashing (cf. "The Gory Details," "Hitchhike to Hell"); angora sweaters (cf. "Hellfire," "Taking Off," many other stories).

Excerpt: "As she had always done before, she snapped forward and the four inch blade came free into her hand and in the same instant she spun around and what the creep from the shadows was holding in his hand came off from his lower quarters and was held like a bleeding, dead worm in his hand. But that was all he was permitted to see. "

Reflections: If Ed Wood has a particular specialty as a short story writer, it's his ability to convey the mindset of his characters, especially those who are consumed with fear, rage, paranoia, madness, or some combination of those emotions. Some of the stories from Blood Splatters Quickly were written in the first person ("I, Warlock"), but even when his stories are in the third person, Wood makes sure to describe the innermost thoughts and feelings of his main characters. In "Gore in the Alley," for instance, we really get to know Sandra. Whatever we may think of her actions, we understand what motivates and guides her. In story after story, Wood is able to channel violent psychopaths with almost chilling ease.

This aspect of Ed's writing is something rarely seen in his movies. There aren't too many introspective character studies in his film scripts, with the possible exceptions of Glen (played by Wood himself) in Glen or Glenda (1953) and Peggy (Angela Carnon) in Drop Out Wife (1972). It's significant that both of these characters get to narrate parts of their respective movies. With Glen, we're not only treated to his internal monologue, we also get a glimpse at his dreams. The same can't be said of, for instance, Bob (William Bates) in Orgy of the Dead (1965) or Jeff (Gregory Walcott) in Plan 9 from Outer Space. In The Sinister Urge (1960), Dirk (Dino Fantini) is a mad slasher with a psychosexual bent, but we never really get into his headspace.

One wonders, incidentally, if any readers were actually aroused by Ed Wood's erotic stories. This one appeared in a volume called Horror Sex Tales, and we're given a few sexually explicit passages about Sandra's sessions with clients, as well as numerous updates on the condition of her pubic hair. Was this anyone's idea of a hot read?

Next: "The Hazards of the Game" (1972)

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Ed Wood's ANGORA FEVER: "Hitchhike to Hell" (1971)

Don't accept a ride from Harry Vincent, that's for sure.

NOTE: This article begins my coverage of Angora Fever: The Collected Short Stories of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (BearManor Bare, 2019).
Hitchin' a ride.
The story: "Hitchhike to Hell," originally published in One Plus One, vol. 4, no. 1, January/February 1971.

Synopsis: Harry Vincent is a serial killer whose death toll is up to seven. He prefers killing pretty young girls—they scream better—but he'll settle for men, including those he meets in gay bars. He's also obsessed with "wolfmen" and insists the moon is guiding his actions. One night, he kills an old wino he finds in an alley, slicing the poor, bewildered man to pieces with a surgical knife.

Harry decides his next victim must be a young female hitchhiker, since he's convinced those "tramps" are always out to victimize men like him. He sets out on the road, but his car soon breaks down, forcing him to walk back home. Just when it seems like his night is ruined, he himself is offered a ride by a young woman in an angora sweater. But this temptress has plans of her own for Harry.

Wood trademarks: Werewolves (cf. "Howl of the Werewolf," Orgy of the Dead); cocktail bar (The Cocktail Hostesses); maggots (cf. "Scream Your Bloody Head Off," "Hellfire," "I, Warlock," "In the Stony Lonesome," "Into My Grave," "The Whorehouse Horror"); newspapers having "a field day" (cf. Glen or Glenda); angora sweaters (cf. Glenda); winos ("To Kill a Saturday Night").

Excerpt: "He spun around, and after he got out of the headlights he saw her. She was luscious. More than he had hoped for. She was wearing a tight red angora sweater and a matching red miniskirt. She was beautiful and she was blonde. No good girl would stop for a man on the side of the road like that. She had to be one of those kind."

Reflections: Well, here we are again, folks. Five years after the publication of Blood Splatters Quickly: The Collected Stories of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (2014), we finally have a second collection of short stories by Ed Wood. As usual, this volume is the passion project of Bob Blackburn, friend of the late Kathy Wood and co-heir to the Wood estate. Bob spends his time and money scouring Ebay for back issues of the magazines—generally pornographic in nature—where Eddie's stories originally appeared in the 1960s and 1970s. And we lucky fans get to enjoy Bob's findings in these lovingly compiled books.

Angora Fever kicks off with a gruesome horror tale from 1971. Readers of Blood Splatters Quickly will find themselves right at home here, because "Hitchhike to Hell" seems like a first cousin to such Wood splatter-fests as "The Gory Details" and "Breasts of the Chicken." The similarity to "Chicken" is especially striking, as a chauvinist sicko again gets his well-deserved comeuppance. However, here is no denying that Wood seems to take gleeful pleasure in describing the man's crimes in nauseating detail. Maybe Eddie was working through some aggression.

It's worth noting that Ed wrote for both gay and straight publications, as well as specialty magazines catering to particular fetishes. This story has a little something for everyone, as Harry kills both gay and straight victims, all while wearing "rubber panties." But there are limits to his depravity. During the scene with the decrepit wino, Ed points out that Harry Vaughn "didn’t have any homosexual inclinations connected to his slasher thoughts at that moment as he had had with the boy those months before."

I guess even homicidal maniacs have some standards.

P.S. This story also offers a snapshot of America's changing views of hitchhiking. The risky practice was beloved by free-living hippies, as documented in the 1969 million seller "Hitchin' a Ride" by Vanity Fare. Ed Wood famously detested the counter-culture, though, and his feelings about the younger generation are clear in this story as he describes them with undisguised contempt. "The dirty ones," he calls them. "Broads" with "bearded boyfriends."

Next: "Gore in the Alley" (1972)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Ed Wood Wednesdays, week 80: A new edition of 'Married Too Young' (1962)

Artwork from the new DVD release of Married Too Young.
The new DVD release.
Married Too Young (1962) has long been one of the more neglected titles in Ed Wood's filmography, especially among his early, pre-porn movies. And, to be fair, it's not difficult to see why. Wood didn't actually direct the film, for example. That duty was performed by Ukrainian journeyman George Moskov. Ed doesn't receive screen credit for coauthoring the script either. Nathaniel  Tanchuck is the film's only official screenwriter, as confirmed by his daughter Heather. Some Wood fans may doubt that their hapless hero had anything to do with this production, even though Married Too Young is duly covered in Rob Craig's Ed Wood, Mad Genius (2009) and Andrew Rausch and Charles Pratt's The Cinematic Misadventures of Ed Wood (2015).

Back in 2014, I gave the film an exhaustive 4,800-word review, calling it "lugubrious" and "sluggish." I guess I wasn't much of a fan at the time. Maybe I was just disgruntled about overpaying for a grainy bootleg from The Video Beat. I already did a rundown of the film's plot and characters in that article, so if you have never seen Married Too Young, I suggest you start there instead of here.

Filmmaker Fred Olen Ray, who attempted to work with Ed Wood very late in the doomed director's life, obviously wants to bring new attention to Married Too Young and elevate this overlooked film to its rightful place in the Wood canon, alongside Plan 9 and Glen or Glenda. His company, Retromedia, has just issued a splashy new DVD release of Married Too Young, paired with The Violent Years on a disc called The Forgotten Ed Wood. In addition to a "23.98 progressive scan" of a widescreen 35mm print of the film, it also contains: trailers for both Married Too Young and The Sinister Urge; a complete copy of The Violent Years; and a pair of extremely brief but informative featurettes, "A Tale of Two Endings" and "Ed Wood and Married Too Young." (I'm guessing Ray himself narrates the former.)

This is a disc long in the making. Fred Olen Ray has been promising a Retromedia edition of Married Too Young since at least 2014, and there were supposedly plans for an official release of this film back in the 1990s, in the wake of Tim Burton's Ed Wood. But now, it's easily available on Amazon for a mere $9.66. If you're an Ed Wood fan with $10 burning a hole in your pocket, you could do worse.

Let's talk about those special features first. "Ed Wood and Married Too Young" lasts 30 seconds and consists of a letter dated August 25, 1994 from Dale Gasteiger of Headliner Entertainment Group to Greg Luce of Sinister Cinema. Gasteiger says that he and Roy Reid bought Ed Wood in "to finish writing [Married Too Young] for us." He contends that Wood's "contribution probably amounted to roughly 25% of the finished script." In their book, Rausch and Pratt quote Fred Olen Ray as saying he has even more documentation of Wood's authorship.

A letter from Dale Gasteiger concerning Ed Wood.

As for "A Tale of Two Endings," it's even more interesting. Previous to this, I had no idea there were alternate endings for Married Too Young. The narrator of the featurette explains:
"In the original 35mm cut negative of the movie, Tommy and his girlfriend go over the cliff in a stock shot. As you can see, the car turns over and shows its underside and then explodes. And it goes directly to the courtroom scene, where I'm sure everyone was amazed to find out that Tommy only hurt his arm and his girlfriend didn't get a scratch. Maybe because of TV or some complaints, later, another sequence was put in with a different stock shot. 
This time, the car does not flip over. It goes straight down, and it fades out before you can see it, and it's followed by a series of newspapers coming off of the presses explaining that somehow or another Tommy and actress Jana Lund somehow miraculously weren't killed in this crash. I'm not exactly sure why they did this, but I suspect it may have been for a television sale where they thought that perhaps there was no way that those kids could've lived through that and that people watching the movie would be upset and then incredibly surprised."
In terms of picture quality, this DVD is a major improvement from the previous edition. To illustrate that, I'll give you a few selected images from the Retromedia disc, and I'll intersperse those with corresponding screen grabs from the previous Video Beat version that I purchased in 2014.

Here's a moment from the opening race, for instance. In the new DVD, you lose a little visual information at the top and bottom of the screen, like the ankles of the actors in the front row, but you gain some ground on the left and right sides. And details are much clearer now, too. Note, for instance, the girl in the plaid dress at the left side of the frame. Can you even tell her outfit is plaid in the second picture? The facial expressions of the spectators are distinct in the Retromedia version but not in the Video Beat version.

Here are the main characters, Tommy and Helen, on a date. This gives you an idea of what the film's night scenes are like. Notice the fanciful details on Helen's sweater. You can even make out Harold Lloyd, Jr.'s individual front teeth.

For contrast, here's an indoor scene involving Helen and her parents. The Retromedia version offers far greater detail: the clock, the father's jacket, the purse, etc. You can see there is extra visual information on the left and right sides of the screen as well. Check out the banister behind the father for an example. But the grainy Video Beat version has some extra headroom and legroom. Look at the gap between the purse and the bottom of the frame.

Finally, I'd like to show a moment from the dream sequence, since this is the part of the movie that so impressed author Rob Craig and is the most blatantly Wood-ian in tone. With its layering of images, this might be the scene that benefits the most from a crisp transfer.

There is at least one more significant difference between these two versions. In the Video Beat DVD, the opening credits declare that the film was "produced by Headliner Productions." That's it. No human producer is listed, just the company. In the Retromedia DVD, the credits say that Married Too Young was "produced by Nathaniel Tanchuck." Both versions credit Nat Tanchuck with the story and screenplay. So, while my bootleg copy of the film has largely been supplanted by this new disc, the Video Beat edition is not exactly obsolete.

It remains to be seen whether Retrovision's Forgotten Ed Wood disc will revive interest in Married Too Young. I certainly haven't seen much publicity for this release yet. I only found it by accident while searching for other Ed Wood releases on Amazon. The cleaner, sharper transfer certainly makes the movie more enjoyable to watch, and the letter from Headliner Entertainment should satisfy those who have questioned the film's authenticity.

But, still, I can't imagine this turgid, preachy movie ever becoming another cult classic on the order of Glen or Glenda or Plan 9 from Outer Space, and it lacks the inspired lunacy of such Wood-written films as Bride and the Beast and Orgy of the Dead. Those looking for an Ed Wood "youth in crisis" movie will probably gravitate to The Violent Years or The Sinister Urge instead. Ultimately, this is one for the completists out there. If that's you, this DVD is ready when you are.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Magazine Odyssey, Part 18 by Greg Dziawer

Things are getting dirty this week.

This series has previously ventured into unsavory territory, discussing Ed Wood's possible involvement writing for pornographic Swedish Erotica magazines in the latter half of the 1970s. This week, it's time to analyze another clipping from such a publication.

Rather than repeating the gory details about this final, sordid phase of Eddie's career, let's allow this text—which accompanied a photo feature in Swedish Erotica Film Review Magazine #2, circa 1977—to do all the talking.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Loop Odyssey, Part 11 by Greg Dziawer

Who's that portraying a Mexican jailer in a '70s porn loop? You know who.

Ed in a sombrero.
Rudolph Grey's 1992 book Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood, Jr.  alerted the world to Eddie's participation in a 1970s pornographic loop in which he played a Mexican jailer, complete with "a dildo and a big sombrero." That intriguing film, identified by Grey only as The Jailer, seemed to have been lost to time. But readers of this column will remember that I screened and reviewed a copy of the obscure loop under the title Prisoners Lovemaking (aka Prisoner Love Making) back in August of 2017. The video was blurry and black-and-white, but it was an important part of Ed Wood history nevertheless.

If you'd asked me, even a week ago, if an original, full-color 16mm master of Prisoners Lovemaking would ever show up, I would likely have waived my hand at you and scoffed. Not that I am an asshole by nature, but such an event would have seemed immensely unlikely to me.

But then, last Friday night after work, I sat down at my computer, cracked open a beer, and relaxed. No sooner was my butt warm than I went to one of my favorite places, a private Ed Wood forum on Facebook, and saw that a miracle had occurred earlier that afternoon. A new member to the group, a movie fan and collector from Oregon, announced that he'd come into possession of a high-quality 16mm print of Prisoners Lovemaking. But how?

This collector graciously allowed me to share his incredible story here:
I bought this years ago for $1. I watched it once, set it on a shelf, and didn't make the Ed Wood connection until reading a piece by Will Sloan a few months back. Even then, I thought it was such a long shot that I didn't take the film out and give it another look until today. It's fate, I tells ya!

I'd actually already read your article today and loved it. I was a wee bit sad to find that the film had [already] surfaced online, but I felt better when I saw the other print. The copy I have is 16mm, in color and super-crisp. It looks great.

I bought this with a bunch of other films and was really looking more for more tame burlesque things, cheesecake reels, etc. I'd always wondered about the very remote possibility that Ed Wood might have been involved in some of these things, mainly because I believe one of them was put out by [Ed Wood's employer] Pendulum. It was set on an airplane, if I remember correctly. Mainly, I'm blown away by the weirdness of this happening. I mean, this thing had to be found by someone who had some interest in Ed Wood, had to live in Portland, had to have read articles by folks like you, etc., etc. The stars lined up or something.

I live in Portland, OR where we've always had our fair share of strip joints and adult bookstores. The place where I found this has since been demolished, but for most of my time in Portland, there was an especially terrifying porn shop downtown called Cindy's—The Adult Bookstore. So, years ago, maybe in the late '90s or early 2000s, I began to wonder if there was any chance that a store such as Cindy's would have any of its old 8mm stag films lying around. It didn't seem likely, but I was buying/selling a lot on Ebay at the time, and I was up for finding any type of collectible. 
The infamous Cindy's, once a landmark in Portland.
Also, I had bought a few 8mm films from an older gentleman who used to show up at antique shows in town. I'd picked up some older cheesecake/burlesque films from him: one by Russ Meyer, a Bettie Page film. Good stuff at amazing prices. So I knew that some of this stuff was out there.

So I convinced a friend to go with me to Cindy's but really expected nothing more than a sketchy experience. We walked in one night to find a crummy, low-rent joint with a grubby floor, too much light, and a scary biker-type guy working the counter. It smelled like Pine-Sol. Completely old school. But to my absolute amazement, sitting on the racks among the modern sex mags and DVDs were rows and rows of 8mm and Super 8 films. And they were priced at $1 each. 
A familiar smell.
I tried to play it cool and not come off as too excited, and I asked the scary biker guy if they were really a dollar each. He said they were. This was mostly your basic stuff—plenty of Swedish Erotica and lesser-known series. The biker guy was actually friendly enough, and when I asked him if they had any more, he said, "We got boxes of 'em in the back. You can look if you want." So why not? If you're invited to go to the back room of a terrifying porn shop, you can't really say no.

He took me and my pal to the back room where there were indeed boxes of old films. I began to go through them and spent maybe 10 minutes digging through and choosing things that looked interesting. I snapped up any burlesque stuff I found—not much—but really grabbed anything that looked interesting or collectible. The cheaply packaged films in white boxes with just a color photo glued onto the front. Super 8 films with sound. One from Pendulum specifically because I knew of the Ed Wood connection. There were just a few 16mm films, so I grabbed some of those, too.

So I took home my big box of films and began screening them, one by one. Nothing against the full-on porn stuff, but I was a little uncomfortable selling it on Ebay. I did sell quite a few of these things, but I just stashed several away and figured I'd sell them or toss them eventually. But one film that stood out just a little was the one set in a prison with a jailer wearing a very tall sombrero. I thought about selling it but just never got around to it, honestly. It sat in a box for years.

Then, just a few months ago, I was reading a little about Ed Wood online. I'd always wondered if he'd directed the Pendulum film I'd found. I didn't find any reference to that, but I did learn how involved he'd been with Swedish Erotica. I'd probably owned and sold films he made without even knowing it. But the bit I read that really caught my attention had to do with a lost film in which Ed played a Mexican jailer. I wondered if there was any chance that it could be the film I had, but considered it an extreme long shot. I figured I'd give it a look at some point, but it was months before I even bothered to take it out and screen it.

So that's the story! As I mentioned before, it's a miracle that this thing didn't end up in a dumpster by the early '80s, and I have no idea why it made its way to an adult bookstore in Portland. I'd bet that companies that made these films just didn't know what to do with their masters after a while other than to sell them off or throw them away.

I did go back to Cindy's a few times, so I made a fairly good haul. But the majority of the films I found were really just the sleazy version of white elephants. There are plenty to go around for collectors, and there seem to be very few of any real historical or monetary value. I knew that some of these were good finds but that most weren't. I also wasn't keen on having boxes of this stuff sitting around my house. And honestly, I did feel a bit unclean about going into Cindy's. Even by scuzzy old porn store standards, it was a scary hellhole of a place.

One of the last times I went there, the terrifying biker guy behind the counter informed me that someone had died there that day—some junkie shooting up in one of the booths. Note that I said it was "one of the last times." A really good find keeps you coming back well beyond the point of reason.
Quite a saga, don't you agree?

Interestingly, this rare loop is extant in two versions, both sourced from 8mm. One is in color, the opening loop in a VHS compilation from 1985, a treasure-trove of Cinema Classics loops very likely directed by Ed Wood. The other was drained of color, almost sepia-toned, and likely from a B&W source, also on a VHS-era comp. The loops were commonly sold in both color—fifty bucks, no drop in the bucket in the early '70s—and a more affordable B&W version. They were originally shot in color 16mm.

The discovery of this 16mm master of Prisoners Lovemaking promises to shine a new light on Woodology, and I'm confident my new friend from Oregon will diligently shepherd the film into accessibility at the highest quality by today's standards. The color and detail we'll see will finally and firmly ensconce Ed Wood in the world of early '70s West Coast porn loops, more vividly than I ever imagined.

Next: We'll delve into the VHS compilations in which Prisoners Lovemaking previously appeared and detail the Pendulum magazine photo feature with text accompaniment by Ed Wood that ran concurrent to the loop's original release. Yes, you read that right.