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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Psychotronic Movie of the Week: Orgy of the Dead (1965, A. C. Stephen)


Orgy of the Dead (1965)
Arsta Productions/SCA Distributors
D/P: A.C. Stephen (Stephen C. Apostolof)
S: Ed Wood

Starring Criswell, Fawn Silver, Pat Barrington (as Pat Barringer), William Bates, Bunny Glaser, John Andrews, Louis Ojena, Texas Starr, Nadejda Dobrev, Stephanie Jones,  Barbara Nordin, 
Dene Starnes, Rene De Beau

Michael J. Weldon's review in Psychotronic Video #1, 1989:
Back in Cleveland, there used to be an unbelievable three story used book store called Kay's. I was about 16 when I bought a heavily illustrated paperback book (with no cover) called ORGY OF THE DEAD and liked it so much that I cut the pictures out (bad move). I had to wait years to see the "adults only" movie based on the obscure book by the prolific Ed Wood Jr. - but that wait was worth it. Some people (O.K., lots of people) don't like ORGY OF THE DEAD, but to me this is surreal, it's art - or at least the ultimate ambient tape. Who wants a burning fireplace or a fish in a tank, when you can have sexy professional strippers, dancing in a graveyard?? Perfect for any party or watching alone. 
The "star" is Criswell, who rises from his coffin and rants about "monsters to be pittied, monsters to be despised," a line lifted from Wood's NIGHT OF THE GHOULS. A horror novelist and his red haired girlfriend drive and have a typical awkward autobiographical Wood conversation. Outside it changes from night to day to night to day,... After the car crashes, they find themselves captives of the undead Criswell and Fawn Silver as the Black Ghoul (the real inspiration for Elvira?), a mummy and a howling werewolf. For the record, the eternally damned women who have to perform, each have their own bizarre musical theme and are, in order: The Indian ("she died in flames"), Streetwalker, Gold Girl (she dances to Martin Denny style music while two men in striped skirts watch, they pour gold coins on her, then dip her in gold), Cat Woman (she wears a great leopard costume with holes for her breasts, dances to really silly music, claws at tombstones and is whipped by an indifferent man), Slave (she gets whipped too, and rolls around on the ground in her G string), Mexican (dances around, fondles, and kisses a skull), Hawaiian (does a bump and grind to bongo music and is interrupted by grainy stock footage of a snake), "Skeleton" (a woman takes off her wedding dress and does the swim and the jerk to rock music in front of the skeleton of the husband she killed), and Zombie (does a very slow zombie dance). Criswell warns, "You may join us soon!"
In-between each inspirational performance, the other characters read dialogue worthy of your favorite Ed Wood directed movie. By this time, Wood's feature directing days were over, but he wrote one more filmed screenplay, THE FUGITIVE GIRLS ('73), also directed by nudie specialist Apostoloff (A.K.A. A.C. Stephen). Details on that one next issue. 

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