Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Loop Odyssey, Part 23 by Greg Dziawer

This week, we explore Ed Wood's "blue" period.

The standard cover for this series.
The color blue triggers calming hormones in the brain, especially conducive to relaxation and study. But that's not how the Blue Film series of adult 8mm loops released in 1974 got its name. In fact, that title is a nod to the history of adult films. The archaic term "blue movie" isn't used much nowadays to describe pornography, but 1970s consumers would have known exactly what to expect from a series with that name. With each 200-foot reel costing $50 (nearly $300 in today's money), they'd better know what they were getting.

Confusingly to modern day aficionados, this series was known as both Blue Film and Blue Movies. The standard front covers of the boxes use the title Blue Movies as a kind of generic descriptor, while the back covers and index numbers use the Blue Film moniker instead. For instance, the short "Joint Connection" is designated as Blue Film No. 4. In August 2017, I deconstructed a loop from this series called "Tammy and the Doctor" (Blue Film No. 5). Back then, I noted the many correspondences between this film and entries from other West Coast loop series produced by Noel Bloom, son of publisher Bernie Bloom. The Blooms were, as you know by now, Ed Wood's most frequent employers during the 1970s.

One common element uniting these films is that they are silent with subtitles. It's my contention that those subtitles were often -- and perhaps always -- penned by Edward D. Wood, Jr. himself. A host of artistic tropes, ranging from editing to camerawork, also mark these series as being the work of the same creative principles. Eddie is generally accepted to have been one of those principles, directing the first 19 loops in the long-running Swedish Erotica series and even cameoing in the 1971 loop Prisoners Lovemaking (aka The Jailer)

Another hallmark of the earliest subtitled loops, including such series as Pussycat and Danish International Films, is that they feature common sets and set decorations. The interiors for these films were largely shot at talent agent/cinematographer Hal Guthu's studio on Santa Monica Blvd. Many interiors in the earliest Swedish Erotica loops, produced in 1972 and possibly into 1973, were shot here as well. But by the time we arrive at the Blue Film series, which carries a 1974 copyright, interiors were being shot on actual locations rather than sets.

It is unknown if Ed Wood was involved in any way on set for the Blue Film series. But these films are subtitled, so it's safe to say Ed was a key contributor. He may have also written the box cover summaries. His textual signatures are at times noticeable across various loop series. This week, we present for your consideration all eleven Blue Film summaries. Eddie or not? You make the call.

Did Ed Wood write these summaries?

You can check out a loop from the series here, and the others are all extant and worth pursuing for the obsessed Woodologist. For the truly curious, I have located the uncensored cover images in a private adult forum. You can view them here. (Obviously NSFW. Proceed with extreme caution.) Special thanks to the kind soul who took the time to scan these 46-year-old images.