Alpha Blue Archives does an excellent job salvaging, preserving and reissuing early porn films that would otherwise be lost to history. No one knows more about the obscure stars, filmmakers and industry trends from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The quality of surviving prints varies, but ABA produces fine digital transfers.
One of their most recent projects is near and dear to my heart: a five-disc collection of sex films written and/or directed by Ed Wood Jr between 1969 and 1972.
Ed Wood is best known for making a series of very low-budget and technically incompetent films in the 1950s, notably Glen or Glenda? (1953) and Plan 9 From Outer Space (1956), which frequently show up on “worst films of all time” lists. Wood continued making films into the 1970s, and he also wrote dozens of novels and screenplays, gradually shifting genre focus from sci-fi and horror toward sexploitation. Whatever he lacked in talent and resources, he more than made up for in persistence, hustle and chutzpah.
The late 1960s and early 1970s were a transitional period for porn, with softcore nudity and simulated sex giving way to full-blown hardcore. The five Ed Wood films released by Alpha Blue run the gamut.
Each ABA disc is filled out with other non-Wood films featuring a particular female starlet, so that each release packs around four hours of content. All five releases are available on DVD, streaming or download from GameLink.
Wood wrote the screenplay for this 1969 sex comedy (using the pen name “Akdon Telmig”) set in prehistoric times, a spoof of sorts on the Raquel Welch flick One Million BC. From the ABA blurb: “Cavemen and (more importantly) cavewomen can’t keep their loincloths on in this savage skinflick which climaxes with the least terrifying rubber dinosaur ever seen on the big screen!” This film is pure softcore and, by all accounts, terrible.
Wood wrote, directed and acted in this 1971 blending of the biker and sexploitation genres. The ABA blurb reads: “A young motorcycle-riding wife (Casey Larrain) hits the road to escape her old, cross-dressing husband (Edward D. Wood, Jr.) when she tires of him pimping her out. On the road she encounters lesbian drug addicts and wild biker parties while attempting to evade a violent gang of thugs sent by her husband to rape her.”
Wood was a cross-dresser in real life, and he frequently incorporated this theme in his films and novels. Glen or Glenda?, for all its laughable technical flaws, was a sincere, impassioned plea for tolerance. In the opening scene of Nympho Cycler, Wood appears in drag before ripping off his wig and clothes and jumping in a hot tub. If that sounds like something you’d like to see at least once in your life, don’t miss this one.
Wood got a screenplay credit here, but little of his personality comes across. This 1971 film was a followup to The Postgraduate Course in Sexual Love from the previous year. Both were prime examples of the faux sex-ed documentary subgenre, which presented erotic vignettes in the guise of sociological exploration of modern sexual mores. John Dugan played “Professor Collins” in both films, introducing and providing voiceover commentary for various sex loops.
This 1971 film blended sexploitation and occult horror. A married couple having bedroom problems decide to visit a necromancer for counseling. Why? Why not! ABA notes that Necromania was “released in both a soft and a hardcore version with different sex scenes shot for each. This DVD contains a new digital transfer of the complete softcore version as well all of the alternate explicit scenes.” Ed Wood wrote and directed the film, and also wrote a novel version entitled The Only House.
This was the last film Wood directed, and his only full-on hardcore feature (complete with “money shots”). Different sources date its original release as 1971 or 1972. ABA notes, “Lost for over 40 years and saturated with Wood’s low-budget eccentricity and excess, the film triumphs as an explicit sex flick due to the frisky innocence of Alice Friedland in one of her few hardcore roles.”