Wednesday, June 29, 2011




Narrated by Gary Owens

(1994 - VHS)  

When we slightly twisted fans of Ed Wood discuss the merits of his work, we must bear in mind that the very nature of it wreaks havoc on our grading scale. How does one actually assess anything having to do with Ed when "best" is "worst" and "good" is "bad"?

This very funny 50-minute documentary, cleverly written and directed by Ted Newsom and featuring the narration of Gary Owens, is excellent in that it fully achieves its goal. What is that goal? To take an irreverent snapshot of the life and "achievements" of Ed Wood, “Hollywood's Horrible Hack”. And that's good!

See? Now yer catchin' on.

The instantly recognizable voice of Gary Owens with his mock seriousness is a dog 'n' flea collar fit for 'LOOK BACK IN ANGORA.' (The title alone tells you what to expect.) The slapdash style of this documentary mimics the slipshod ineptitude of our hero's best (meaning "worst") work.

Is Owens disrespecting his subject? Well, yeah, of course he is - sort of. (But not in an overtly demeaning manner.) What do you want? A serious documentary about Ed Wood? Serious? About ED WOOD?!!! C'mon, get serious (meaning "loosen up").

We who appreciate Ed for the right reasons admire him because (as Owens says...) "Wood's films have become true cult classics; they triumph over all obstacles, including his own singular lack of ability." Ed Wood refused to quit; he did what he loved doing. Ed followed his dream: a ridiculous nightmare of inadvertent bad filmmaking which was "Stupid! Stupid!" (meaning, "Funny! Funny!") "His stream-of-consciousness dialogue," Owens tells us, "was like a ransom note pasted together from words randomly cut out of a Korean electronics manual." Now that's funny and accurate!

How Much Film Would Ed Wood Chuck If Ed Wood Would Chuck Film? He'd Chuck All The Film That Ed Wood Could If Ed Wood Would Chuck Film.

Fortunately for us, however, Ed Wood would chuck no film - he used it all! And this little biography pastes bits 'n' pieces of it together to give us a hilarious overview.

Sure, I liked Tim Burton's 'Ed Wood' treatment, but a movie by Ed is always going to be "worse" (meaning "superior") to a movie about Ed. So, for me, this goofy collection of clips and brief interviews is the perfect companion tape to my pink, faux angora-covered Ed Wood boxed set.

How's this for an amusing evening? . . . You invite your friends over, serve them hot sake in those authentic little Japanese sake cups, and show them ‘PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE’ and ‘LOOK BACK IN ANGORA’ in that order. You'll be immensely entertained and you'll find out just who your real friends are - because your real friends will love ya for it . . . (or they'll forgive you and love ya anyway).

‘LOOK BACK IN ANGORA': Yeah, it's "pretty bad"
(and that's "very good!")

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.


  1. I'm gonna purchase this. I love Ed Wood! Thanks for the rec!

  2. I'm curious-why is this on FFFF's and not STUFF's?

    EW wuz a wierd dude....

  3. AlliAllo ~
    Well, OF COURSE you love Ed Wood! Only a deranged person WOODN'T. And if you were a non-Ed Wood-lovin' deranged person I couldn't maintain a friendship wif ya.

    Be aware, however, that as far as I know, this documentary has never been released on DVD - it's in the VHS format only. Do you still have the capability to watch VHS tapes?

    If so, inexpensive copies of it are probably readily available on the Internet. If you can find it for a few dollars, I guarantee it will be so worth it! I've actually watched 'Look Back In Angora' more times than I have any of Ed's movies other than "Plan 9", "Glen Or Glenda" and perhaps "Bride Of The Monster".

    If you buy it, please get back to me and tell me what ya thought of it.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    It's on F-FFF because this blog was conceived as a forum for POLITICS and PRODUCT REVIEWS. Which is why you will also find at F-FFF blog bits about books (political and non-politcal), shampoo, a hair detangler spray, and Mackie Women's Perfume, etc.

    And let's not hear here any reference to Ed Wood's movie "Glen Or Glenda" and allusions about any secret clothing preferences I might have; those were written solely for their (hopefully) comedic value.

    Occasionally, a PRODUCT REVIEW has found its way to "STUFFS" as well (Gary Hoey's soundtrack to "The Endless Summer II" and a DVD biography about Howlin' Wolf come immediately to mind), but that's because I know that for me to have any realistic chance of someone reading something I wrote, I pretty much have to post it at STUFFS rather than F-FFF. (And also, MUSIC product reviews seem to fit naturally at STUFFS since there is so much other music related material I have posted there.)

    But... you ARE right, I ez a weird dude - even if, in this instance, I was able to reasonably explain why Ed Wood is here and not there.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  5. It's been years since I've seen this doc and it is a good bad one. I'm due for another rewatch if I can locate a copy.

    Tossing It Out

  6. BOID ~
    Well, credit to you for having EVER seen this movie. I'd always figured that I and perhaps five other weird Wood fans were the only warped wankers to watch this worthless Woodumentary.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'


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