UP FROM THE DEPTHS is a weekly look at the some of the most obscure cinema trash around. Every week, we’ll cover something that (cue hipster whine) you probably never heard of. From 1950s B-movies to Grindhouse Exploitation, we’re scavenging the bottom of the cinema ocean for you.
by Madison Carter
By now, we’re all familiar to some degree with Edward D. Wood, Jr., considered by many to be the worst director ever to work in Hollywood (at least until Uwe Boll arrived, but that’s neither here nor there). His legendary ineptitude has taken on grand proportions in later years, partly in due to the entertaining but grossly-inaccurate Tim Burton “biopic” ED WOOD. But Ed didn’t pump out a few cheapie sci-fi films like PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE and then completely disappear. Throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s before he died, an increasingly boozy Wood was reduced to writing screenplays and occasionally directing softcore skin flicks. And by the end, full-on porn.
Yes, by 1971, the man who gave the world Bela Lugosi’s “I have no home” monologue was making movies where “Stick it in me” was the most thought-provoking dialogue. For example, here’s NECROMANIA: A TALE OF WEIRD LOVE!, written and directed under the pseudonym Don Miller.
We start off with a young couple named Danny and Shirley (Rene Bond, who would go on to star in dozens more skin flicks) who arrive at an unassuming California home to see about helping Danny’s problem “rising” to the occasion. Apparently, this home serves as some sort of mystic retreat for people who can’t order Canadian Viagra online. They’re met by…uhm, crap, I’ve already forgotten her name, so let’s just call her Witchy-Poo.
Witchy-Poo shows the couple to their room and points out the wonderful and vast array of items they have on hand to help work on a cure for Danny. And by “vast array of items” I mean a single dildo.
Because as we all well know, when a guy has a hard time getting it up, the one thing that helps is a Ron Jeremy’s schlong sitting on the bedpost.
So we’re in for our first sex scenes of the film, and like any ’70s skin flick, there’s a lot of paunch, pubic hair jungles and bruises on the leg for everyone!
While Danny and Shirley are busy (wait, so his impotence only lasted until he got horny again?), Witchy-Poo starts performing satanic rituals that involve letting a fake skull motorboat her.
Of course, she has to have some sweet lovin’ too, so Random Guy shows up and they have a go.
We’re now well over halfway through this dump, and the story has thus far consisted of…yeah, I got nothing. Even by early porn standards, this one has had the structure of a cat’s hairball. Back to the plot:
After finishing up with Danny, Shirely explores the house, and comes across another woman, who proceeds to explain she’s a permanent in-patient case (I’m guessing the front door that Danny and Shirley just let themselves in through at the beginning has some sort of high-tech lock on it that only allows it to be opened from the outside by any random passerby) before seducing Shirley. After that, Witchy-Poo has some lesbian “fun” with Hallway Girl and then with Danny.
To wrap up this not-even-an-hour-long bump n’ grind, we end up with all participants holding a vigil in front of a coffin (Trivia time: That’s the actual coffin Criswell used in previous Ed Wood films!) which opens up to reveal the lady of the house, Madame Heles, who has laid patiently in the coffin for however long all this sex took.
The…wait, what are these people exactly? Satanists? Cultists? Amway Salesepeople? I don’t think it was every actually explained. Anyway, they strip Danny down and force him into the coffin with Heles, against his will. Soon after, he is making out with her against his will before the film ends with Heles giving him a blowjob…against his will, he’ll probably say to Shirley later on.
And that’s NECROMANIA, the very last known film actually directed by Mr. Plan 9. Honestly, outside of this being part of Wood’s filmography, it really has very little going for it. Sure, it has Rene Bond in it, and that’s always a plus, but there’s very little story, the acting is crap and the dialogue is pure Wood. But since it’s all set in one house, there’s no chance of typical Ed Woodisms like mismatching day and night scenes, and surprisingly, I never caught sight of one single boom mike. Otherwise, it’s very typical for an early 70s porn film, when they really still didn’t know what they were doing.