Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Detectives and Private Eyes
- Ed Wood Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary accurately notes that while Ed Wood’s “follow-up to Plan 9 From Outer Space features god-awful acting, direction, music, dialogue, costumes, sets, props, lighting, pacing, and camera work”, this likely “won’t be enough to satisfy hardcore Wood fanatics” (or all purpose bad-movie lovers for that matter) “who have the right to expect much worse”. Often afforded the dubious label of being Wood’s most competent film (for better or for worse), Night of the Ghouls actually possesses an interesting history, not mentioned in Peary’s book: Wood couldn’t afford the lab fees to print the film, so it wasn’t viewed until years later (in 1983), when an aficionado named Wade Williams paid the overdue lab fees and released the film, much to the delight of Wood’s growing cult of fans. At any rate, as Peary notes, the film is full of “typically ludicrous Wood touches”, such as the infamously giggle-worthy scene when one of the detectives “sneaks through a dark house (the film’s prime set) [and] both [the film’s narrator] Criswell and our hero, through voiceovers, discuss in great detail the railing his hand happens to touch” — which is “completely irrelevant to the story”. Unfortunately, however, as Peary notes, “the picture hasn’t the inspired madness of Wood’s classics”, and really isn’t must-see except for his die-hardest fans.
Note: I disagree with Peary that “Jennie Stevens as the Black Ghost can’t hold a candle to Plan 9‘s Vampira”. While Vampira may have been more strikingly dramatic (and unearthly), Stevens is both gorgeous and haunting in her own way. (Besides, it’s not like these “roles” were really meant to offer anything more than ghoulish eye-candy anyway!).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- A few humorously campy moments
No; this one is only for Ed Wood completists.