Sunday, April 21, 2019

Ed Wood's ANGORA FEVER: "The Devil and the Deep Blue-Eyed Blonde" (1971)

Kinda makes you want to keep reading, doesn't it?

NOTE: This article continues my coverage of Angora Fever: The Collected Short Stories of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (BearManor Bare, 2019).
An issue of Switch Hitters.

The story: "The Devil and the Deep Blue-Eyed Blonde," originally published in Switch Hitter, vol. 2, no. 2, June/July 1971. No author listed.

Synopsis: On a small island nation somewhere in the world, fighting rages on between revolutionaries and the government. Into the fighting strides Victoria Karzon, a stunning (fake) blonde who is secretly working for the government. Her mission is to seduce high-ranking revolutionaries and extract information from them. She is immediately arrested and taken to revolutionary headquarters, where she demands to speak to someone in charge. She meets with Mario Cantrell, Field Marshal of tactical operations. She claims to be a mere visitor who only wants to leave the island. Mario says he can arrange it... in exchange for sex. She agrees, and they make love. Mario gives Victoria some drugged wine, and when she wakes up, she is tied to the bow of a ship. And that's not the last surprise Mario has in store for Victoria!

Wood trademarks: Warfare (cf. Glen or Glenda, Plan 9 from Outer Space, "No Atheists in the Grave"); maggots (cf. "Hitchhike to Hell"); the stench of death (cf. Plan 9); "bedroom scene" (cf. "Where Did Charlie Get on the Train?"); "companion" as euphemism for "lover" (cf. "Unfriendly Persuasion," "Like a Hole in the Head"); tight sweater (cf. "The Fright Wigs," "Like a Hole in the Head"); miniskirt (cf. "Unfriendly Persuasion," "Florence of Arabia," "Super Who?"); obsession with blondes (cf. "Hitchhike to Hell," "The Hooker," "So Soon to be An Angel," "The Responsibility Game," "The Fright Wigs"); torture (cf. "Blood Drains Easily"), "ma-an" (a variant spelling of Ed's usual "ma'an").

Excerpt: "Victoria hadn't always been a blonde, as several of the government officials could testify to, but it was thought that her assignment called for the hair color change. Most of the women around the revolutionaries were the dark haired, olive skinned variety and her beauty and pink skin, virgin appearance would stand her in excellent stead. Her tight sweater and hip revealing mini-skirt would do the rest."

Reflections: Ed Wood does not strike me as a careful writer, the kind who would spend hours slaving over a manuscript and second-guessing himself about every word choice. I think he wrote like he typed, i.e. furiously and with total abandon. I'm probably taking longer to review Ed's story than Ed took to write it. There's a little joke in Ed Wood (1994), when Ed cheerfully remarks to Kathy, "You know, hon, when you rewrite a script it just gets better and better!" as if that thought had never occurred to him -- or to anyone -- before this moment.

The title of this anthology, Angora Fever, is doubly appropriate. Eddie mentions angora an awful lot, albeit not in today's story, and there is something distinctly feverish about his prose. What did Ed Wood know about third world revolutions? Probably nothing or next to nothing, but he thought he'd write about one anyway. This must be one of the few stories of this type in which the revolutionaries are not the heroes. But Ed doesn't side with the government either. "Neither side were the bad guys or the good guys," Ed explains. "They were simply men hastened into weak formation so they could fight each other."

Mario Cantrell is another one of Eddie's ultra-manly super studs, the kind of guy who would be right at home in a Dewar's ad. Ed lavishes attention on Mario's rippling muscles and commanding voice, and he makes sure to tell us how tall and handsome this guy is. Even Victoria, who has sex with him in exchange for transportation off the island, has to compliment Mario's sexual prowess at length:
Sometime later as they lay naked, side by side on the soiled cot, she wished Mario wasn’t one of the enemy. He had been a tremendous lover. He was tender, not rough like so many of the governmental higher ups she had serviced during the past few months. He knew what he was doing with his tongue and his hands were as tender as his endearing words. He took a long, long time in his foreplay and every move rose up body heats and soft moans of true feeling from deep within her being. She had performed a military duty, but she had enjoyed herself throughout the entire affair, and when it was over and they were both exhausted she wished the morning was a long way off. She wanted to try the man on for size again, and again and again. But it was not to be. 
Now that's what I'd call a rave review. Only the words "soiled cot" spoil the mood.

Next: "Wanted: Belle Starr" (1973)