|An excerpt from the Plan 9 from Outer Space screenplay.|
|Pure, uncut Ed Wood.|
Moreover, when making a film, Ed was always at the mercy of his actors. A performer might flub or forget a line, and Eddie would just have to leave it in because he couldn't afford to waste any scrap of footage. Operating on the fringe of show business for his entire career, Eddie had to take whatever actors he could get, skilled or otherwise. If his actors gave monotonous, inept, or unintelligible line readings, what was Eddie to do?
When you delve into Eddie's literary work, you can leave aside many of the limitations that plagued his motion pictures. There are no actors or technicians standing between you and Ed. I doubt if Eddie's manuscripts were even edited to any great extent. Publishers like Bernie Bloom simply ran whatever text he supplied without question. This was the pure stuff -- uncut.
To be sure, Eddie's novels, stories, and articles possess the same curious magic (or anti-magic) that infuses his films. The plots lurch forward nonsensically like dreams, the characters converse in a strangely stilted fashion, and the author seems obsessed with certain topics, especially angora, beyond all reason. Several years ago, I said that "if you give [Ed Wood] a million-dollar budget, his films would still be strange. They have a weirdness that a low budget or inexperienced actors can’t explain away." That's the same feeling I got from his text-only work. The oddness is marrow-deep.
I have long wondered about the screenplays Ed wrote over the years, both the ones that were produced and the ones that never made it that far. Would reading these films be a drastically different experience than watching them? Would the films and scripts differ drastically? Were there things Ed wanted to do but couldn't afford to film?