Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Night of the Ghouls -- Classic Ed Wood!

Night of the Ghouls, 1958, B&W, about 68 minutes. Directed by Edward D. Wood, Jr. Starring Kenne Duncan as Dr. Acula. Valda Hansen as the White Ghost, Tor Johnson as Lobo, Duke Moore, Paul Marco, and Criswell. (Also known as Revenge of the Dead) Schlock-Meter rating 7 stars out of 10.

Night of the Ghouls is a lot of fun. It features a bizarre plot, weird characters, ridiculous special effects and actors who -- like all Wood films -- take the convoluted plot very seriously. Narrated by Criswell (in a coffin, of course) It involved a fake medium (Duncan) and his girlfriend (Hansen) who have inhabited the old mansion that Bela Lugosi's mad scientist lived in in Bride of the Monster. The hulkish Lobo (Johnson) is still hanging around as well.

As with any Wood film, plot holes are a mile wide, so it's best to just sit back , don't think much, and enjoy the chaos onscreen. Two cops from Plan 9 From Outer Space, Moore and Marco (who was also in Bride), eventually team to stop the scam artists. It's not very scary stuff, but it's a pleasure to watch if you're a Wood fan, particularly since it's the only horror film Duncan ever made for Wood and the only Wood film the teenage ingenue Hansen starred in.

As with all Wood films, the director was thrifty and used anything he could to add to plot and save cash. Here's an example: Wood used scenes from his completed short, Final Curtain (starring Moore) and inserted it in the middle of Night of the Ghouls. The only problem was Moore is wearing a tuxedo in the Final Curtain clip. No problem for Wood, of course! He just has cop Moore, early in Night of the Ghouls, all dressed up in a tux, ready to leave the station house and go to the theater! Of course, Moore is asked to work overtime and visit Dr. Acula, so he takes right off, still wearing his tux! Sometimes you just have to admire Ed Wood's ingenuity ... or his just plain gall!

---Doug Gibson

No comments: