Thursday, May 21, 2009

A masterpiece at 50

Is this a year full of events or what? Darwin was born 200 years ago and The Origin of Species was published 50 years later, in 1929 the stock market crashed big, in 1939 the world was set aflame once more, in 1959 there was the Cuban Revolution, in 1979 the Iranian one, in 1989 Tienanmen Square and the Berlin Wall, in 1969 Neil Armstrong took a small step for him and a giant leap for all of us and on top of it all, Ed Wood, Jr.' masterpiece PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE will have been released 50 years ago, come July.

In order to celebrate that happy event, master-blogger Greg F. convened the first ever official Blogathon at Cinema Styles under the banner The Spirit of Ed Wood Blogathon:

The idea is if you want to write about Plan 9 you can. Or Ed Wood. Or any underground, cheaply made movie that was filled with heart, or just incompetence. It can even be about good movies too. Carnival of Souls was made on the cheap in the can-do spirit of Ed Wood and actually succeeded.

Ed Wood became a cult figure in the final decade of the twentieth century when Tim Burton made his highly successful praise of brash independent film-making in ED WOOD (1994), following the publication of Rudolph Grey's Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (1992). Until that moment Wood was essentially remembered through Harry and Michael Medved's The Turkey Awards (1980), where the then recently deceased director was considered "The Worst Director of All Time", along with PLAN 9, getting labeled "The Worst Film of All Time". But is that all there is to it? I don't think so. As early as 1981, Danny Peary, in the first volume of his Cult Movies recognised Wood as one of the most subversive and radical directors of his time: "Plan 9 is a delirious movie", he wrote, "but perhaps we are missing the point. Could it be that putting up a crazy facade is the only way that Wood can get away with making a subversive movie?"

Won't that be a wonderful question to indulge in this welcome blogathon to be held between July 6th and July 12th? And what about Wood's resurgence in the 90s? Can it be solely attributed to Burton and Grey? Or does it have something to do with an entirely new zeitgeist that moved its creative focus from the 80's strict social climbing ethic of the yuppie generation[manifest in the studio controlled productions following the debacle of Cimino's HEAVEN'S GATE (1980)] towards a new sensitivity that holds personal realization over objective merit? Or am I just babbling nonsense? Be as it may, I'll be there this coming July, when an army of angora sweater-clad film-fan zombies will raise from their celluloid graveyards to pay hommage to the master's spirit.

1 comment:

The Flying Maciste Brothers said...

Nice proposition, João. Articulately postulated as well. The Brothers Maciste will stand proudly by your be-femmed side, buttoning our lacy garters and hoisting up our sheer hose...

We can only hope this blog-a-thon smells as good as it looks.