The infamous cult film film-maker, who remained in obscurity throughout his life. Only in 1980 when he was described as The Worst Film Director Of All Time, and his now cult classic Plan 9 From Outer Space the Worst Movie Ever Made. The movie famously featured the last performance of Bela Lugosi, made from test footage Wood had shot of the actor before his death.
From his childhood in Poughkeepsie, New York, Ed Wood Jr., had a love affair with cinema. It was to become the obsession of his life, alongside his love of wearing women's clothes. And the infamous angora sweaters. In 1947 he followed his dream and moved to Los Angeles. Initially writing scripts and directing TV pilots and now lost low budget westerns. It was in 1952 that Wood met Bela, and the two struck-up a friendship. Lugosi was by this time a faded screen-star and morphine addict. It's claimed that Wood helped and supported him through bouts of depression and addiction problems, up until his death in 1956.
Wood went on the make a film a year Jail Bait (1954), Bride Of The Monster (originally entitled Bride Of The Atom) (1955) and in 1956 the cult classic Plan 9 From Outer Space (originally entitled Grave Robbers from Outer Space). Plan 9, featured not only Lugosi, but Tor Johnson the Swedish wrestler who has first appeared in Bride Of The Monster, and TV horror host Vampira. All narrated by the flamboyant radio and TV personality famous for his wildly inaccurate predictions, The Amazing Criswell. Criswell and Johnson would go on to appear in Wood's 1958 movie Night Of The Ghouls. A movie considered lost to cinema history, until it was rediscovered in 1984.
In the 1960s Wood's movie career spiralled downwards, as he started to make at first nudies and sexploitation movies, and eventually hardcore porn in the early 70s. Of the films he was involved in during this period there are two stand-out for different reasons. Orgy Of The Dead (1965) is classed as a nudie cutie, but that simply description doesn't do this movie justice. What is little more than an excuse for 10 striptease set pieces, there is a loose story weaved in there, but it is Criswell's opening speech that nails it. A recreation of his speech from the released Night Of The Ghoul, it has become well known and oft sampled piece of audio. At the other end of the scale is Necromania (1971), credited as being one of the earliest examples of the hardcore porn genre that became popular in the 70s. Necromania was believed to one of Wood's lost movies, until an edited version turned up in a yard sale in 1992. Later in 2001 an unedited version was found.
After many years of alcohol abuse and bouts of depression, in December 1978 after he and his wife had been evicted from their Hollywood apartment, they moved in with a friend. A few days later on December the 10th Wood was found dead of a heart attack, he was 54 years old.
Weird Retro Fact: Recently more of Wood's lost movies have appeared. In September 2014, two 'lost movies' were shown, the 1972 The Undergraduate and 1970's Take It Out In Trade. Adding to the Wood canon. Also in 2014 The Young Marrieds, a porn film Wood made in 1971 was released, which was rediscovered in 2004.