|Hellborn is like a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces.|
One of the many mysteries of Ed Wood's Night of the Ghouls (1959) occurs just four and a half minutes into the film. Ostensibly a follow-up to Bride of the Monster (1955), Ghouls is another of Wood's supernatural horror thrillers. The plot revolves around a phony medium, Dr. Acula (Kenne Duncan), who inadvertently manages to summon the dead while performing fraudulent seances in a spooky mansion. For some reason, though, narrator Criswell takes a few minutes to talk to us about juvenile delinquency:
Your daily newspapers, radio, and television dares to relate the latest in juvenile delinquency. At times, it seems juvenile delinquency is a major problem of our law enforcement officers. But is this the major horror of our time? Is this violence and terror a small few perpetrate the most horrible, terrifying of all crimes our civil servants must investigate? The National Safety Council keeps accurate records on highway fatalities. They can even predict how many deaths will come on a drunken holiday weekend. But what records are kept? What information is there? How many of you know the horror, the terror I will now reveal to you?
As we hear this voice-over monologue, accompanied by hot jazz drumming and a wailing siren, Wood shows us flashes of seemingly unrelated footage: a police car whizzing from somewhere to somewhere else; young people dancing and eating at a pizzeria called Jake's Pizza Joint; two men (Ed Wood and Conrad Brooks) fighting in a pit as a crowd watches; a gang of three men beating the tar out of a fourth man as a girl stands off to the side; a car going off the road and tumbling down a cliff before crashing into a tree, etc. Apart from the shots of the police car -- this is another of Ed's many police procedurals -- none of this footage belongs in Night of the Ghouls. So what's it doing there?