I had the opportunity to submit a few questions to Keith Crocker, founder/owner of CINEFEAR video releasing, about his release of a rarely seen group of early 1970s 8mm porno loops directed for SWEDISH EROTICA by the legendary Edward D. Wood, Jr. He also kindly supplied a review copy of his disc compilation of Ed Wood rarities. His answers and a review of the disc release follow:

Q: I first read about these loops in NIGHTMARE OF ECSTASY: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood, Jr. by Rudolph Grey. It says they were shot in the San Fernando Valley area.

A: Correct, he did. Most of the ones from 73/74 were shot indoors, with initial outdoor introductions. The '75 Holmes films have more scope, more outdoor scenes but are shot in a similar manner. I had these films for years in a box of collectibles from another collector but did not know they were the Ed Wood Swedish Erotica loops.

Q: Can you ID Holmes for me in the loops. I'm not sure. Also were they released with music or silent?

A: Silent, with subtitles. The music was added later.

Q: We're these ever released before onVHS or DVD?
A: Highly unlikely. Perhaps one or two showed up on a Swedish Erotica compilation tape, but as far as I go I never recall seeing these. I know some of the later Erotica's shot in sound ended up on video cassette. The ones I have were released silent with subtitles, 8mm only. When they re-released them in Super 8mm, the subtitles were gone. Holmes is the star in Virgin Next Door, Behind the Ate Ball, Hollywood Starlet. The actress in Virgin was Linda McDowell, the actress in Ate Ball was Barbara Barton.

Q: I have a French softcore porn film on Halopark DVD, [THE EROTIC DAUGHTERS OF EMANUELLE, Jean-Marie Pallardy] which is supposed to feature Holmes but I'm not sure it's him.
A: Holmes made the rounds, that's for sure.....

Q: In the first loops, Holmes is the male lead peeping at the woman next door through the owl eyes prop from another room. I immediately recognized that prop from NECROMANIA! Was this the very  first loop SWEDISH EROTICA financed?

A: Yes! You can also tell from the furniture. This compilation I compiled and sell myself. In the past SWEDISH EROTICA released their own films via there own label or Caballaro Control Corporation. Yes, this was their first short loop...

The eyes of John Holmes as a voyeur in Ed Wood's 8mm SWEDISH EROTICA loog THE VIRGIN NEXT DOOR. Note that the owl eyes prop played a significant role in Wood's 1971 feature, NECROMANIA.

SWEDISH EROTICA cover art....

The 19 short 8mm porn loops Edward D. Wood Jr. directed for Swedish Erotica have been on Adult Film collectors want lists for decades, including my own list.

Having finally seen his last features, NECROMANIA (1971) and THE YOUNG MARRIEDS (1972) satisfied my own sinister urge to witness the last feature work of the legend and it was not really a disappointing experience, they are both filled with amusing, touching, recognizable Ed Woodisms. Then there's the MIA THE ONLY HOUSE, another shot in 2 day wonderment supposedly a rehash of NECROMANIA tropes.

Post 1973 Wood wrote dozens of Adult novels, sex manuals, and screenplays for other directors, including FUGITIVE GIRLS (1974), directed by A.C. Stephens (Steven Apostolof). Ed also plays two supporting roles in that one and really hams it up. He also wrote and directed a reported [on his own resume] 700 plus porn shorts for various unknown companies. As all of this writing and filming was proceeding, so was Ed Wood's progressive alcoholism. But that's another story.

The SWEDISH EROTICA 8mm short loops Ed made for that company were probably done in 1973/74, and apparently Wood's were the very first of that series which would last until 1978, and briefly resumed in 1984, long after Wood's sad demise. It should be noted that these films were shot on 16mm, reduced to 8mm and then sold by catalog to collectors at rather hefty prices. A 10/12 minute short could run as much as $50USD in the late 1970s.

 Some of the 19 Ed Wood porno loops have appeared on various Adult sites where they could be streamed. Now, Keith Crocker has compiled and sells 10 of them, including 2 two-parters through his CINEFEAR DVD releasing company. These films were also once released thorough the Caballaro Control Corporation. The shorts were shot silent, with large subtitles added. This compilation adds some appropriately vintage 1970s

An 8mm reel containing Ed Wood's SWEDISH EROTICA loops.

Before we examine the first of these, the 2 part THE VIRGIN NEXT DOOR featuring Linda McDowell and the legendary John Holmes aka Johnny Wadd, I can't help but loop back to the origins of my own personal obsession with everything Ed Wood.

Long before I heard the name Edward D. Wood, Jr. there was PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE on my 10 year old radar as an early 1960's late night television regular. I remember a local station advertising the 11:30 PM Saturday Night showing with a crude graphic of the planet Earth drifting through space as a group of flying saucers flew menacingly toward it. The advert looked like it was drawn by a child or an untalented artist. But I knew even at that age that I HAD to see the film. But I wouldn't be able to until the dawn of the VHS/VCR era in the mid 1980s when I finally rented out a blurry VHS of the epic. I found it a very entertaining, a highly entertaining good "Bad" movie which generated a lot of healthy laughs due to its dire sets, wooden acting, absurd dialogue and the image of busty, black clad Vampira (Maila Nurmi -1921-2008, who became a late night horror movie host in the mid 1950s after being hired by KABC program director Hunt Stromberg, Jr.) stalking through misty graveyards. Then there were the final film images of a cadaverous Bela Lugosi, already dead when the film was released. He looked truly ghastly as the Ghoul Man. The aliens, led by Dudley Manlove [that name!] as Eros, commandeering the residents of the Hollywood graveyard to become living dead slaves. Not to mention Tor Johnson as the ultra hefty Inspector Clay, who drops dead and revives as part of.... Plan 9 from outer space! I loved every minute of the 1hr. 18m feature and purchased it on VHS when a good copy came out.

Then I discovered earlier Wood productions, including the 1953 surrealist trans-gender epic, GLEN OR GLENDA, Bela Lugosi as a mad scientist in BRIDE OF THE MONSTER and the nudie not-so-cutie THE SINISTER URGE (1960), the last a really grimy looking sex-crime adventure involving the making of porn films by a secret studio financed by criminals. The best of Wood's features may be the 1959 suburban Gothic NIGHT OF THE GHOULS, which has a kind of Ingmar Bergman meets poverty row quality, a comparison which would have the Swedish maestro spinning in his grave, no doubt. It was Ed's final non-sex production and featured the late Valda Hansen as The White Ghost. Shortly after Rudolph Grey's NIGHTMARE OF ECSTASY, The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood, Jr. was published in 1992 I managed to contact Valda Hansen by mail and began a correspondence with her and spoke with her several times by telephone. I put together an interview and review of that book which was published in a local newspaper several years later. Valda was a very nice, approachable person who loved talking about her friendship with Wood and her work on NIGHT OF THE GHOULS. One of the things she stressed was that Ed became increasingly despondent as he drifted into writing and directing hardcore pornography and felt disappointed and let down by many in Hollywood. This was before the late 1970s resurgence of interest in his work, following his death in 1978. Ed didn't live to see that resurgence as his alcoholism progressed and his working options became nil. One of the fascinating things about these loops from that period is that they illustrate that Wood was capable of immersing these no-budget, shot in one day efforts with his special aesthetic and ambiance.  Sadly, I fell out of touch with Valda and she died in Hollywood in 1993 at the too young age of 60 of complications from skin cancer. But she confirmed that he knew he was on a downward spiral, fueled by his alcoholism, poverty and lack of recognition in Hollywood. He was considered a down and out loser and played that role in real life. Nonetheless, these hardcore loops illustrate his quirky vision at a time when his other direction options had become nonexistent. Another resurgence in all things Ed Wood would come with the release of Tim Burton's delightful ED WOOD (1994), which culminates with a more hopeful ending for the legend.

The first two loops in this compilation contain Part 1 and 2 of THE VIRGIN NEXT DOOR, a two part encounter between two residents occupying adjacent rooms in what appears to be a sleazy no-tell motel. These feature none other than hardcore superstar John 13inches Holmes aka Johnny Wadd, who would go on to appear in what some estimate as over 2000 Adult loops, shorts and features. Holmes appears a Howie, who spies on his neighbor, played by Linda McDowell. Holmes had already appeared in dozens of Adult films, starting in 1969, although he was still far from his peak period where he could command a several thousand dollars a day salary. He also appears in the two part BEHIND THE ATE BALL and HOLLYWOOD STARLET.
John Holmes with porno goatee in THE VIRGIN NEXT DOOR....
THE VIRGIN NEXT DOOR opens with a shot which immediately nails it as an Ed Wood product. A tight fetishistic close-up of McDowell applying make up in from of one of those pop-up mirrors on top of a portable make up case. The camera slowly zooms back to reveal the tacky room and the plastic looking furniture featuring tables and lamps on either side of the woman. Brightly colored covers for the chairs. When working in color Wood always preferred a candy colored mise en scene, as opposed to his noirish black and white titles, and it's already here in his first 8mm loop. The films which preceded this, TAKE IT OUT IN TRADE (1970) and NECROMANIA (1971), also feature popping colors lit by the reliable Hal Guthu. Cut to... Howie sitting in his adjacent room bored. He goes over to his wall peephole and peers into it. Cut to... a shot of Howie's eyes framed by the infamous Owl Eyes cut-out which adorned the flats in NECROMANIA. The use of this prop seals the deal. Ed Wood is definitely the auteur here. The viewer becomes the voyeur as we cut to a long shot of Howie peering through the Owl Eyes. The cycle of voyeurism illustrated for the buyer of one an 8mm reel to consider in the privacy of his personal viewing.

Holmes is also featured in HOLLYWOOD STARLET, which opens with a slow telephoto zoom into a villa type house somewhere in the Hollywood hills. Inside Holmes encounters and performs a personal "audition" of a hopeful starlet. BEHIND THE ATE BALL, another two parter, opens with a telephoto pan across a mountain valley and then a slow zoom shot into an shuttered, upscale residence. The camera settles on a neatly framed rectangle of the large front window flanked by trees and then cuts to a perfectly framed close-up of a triangular set-up of pool balls on a pool table inside. There's kind of a (unconscious?) geometrical precision here on the margins of the non-stop hardcore action which might not have interested another director. A game of pool ensues with Holmes challenged by a young lady (Barbara Barton_ who knows how to distract and conquer her competitor.

Other loops include WET AND WILD, which opens on a close-up of one of those white digital 1970s telephones which replaced the rotary dial. The kind of specific cultural artifact which Wood consistently insists upon strategically placing in his no-budget mise-en-scene, along with occasional peripherally place human skull, even though he probably realized on some level that no-one at the time would notice or care. LUSTY NEIGHBOR is an amusing break featuring a good-time guy with an impressive early 70s home bar stocked to the gills with vintage booze with which he plies his female guests. Things get forceable in WESTERN LUST, in which a cowgirl adorned with heavy ammo belts encounters a predator in the sagebrush who disarms and forces himself on her back at his shed. The lady gets revenge, though, by conking him on the head at a crucial moment. This one opens with a rather impressive tracking shot through the tangled foliage of a remote section of the San Fernando valley and reminds us of Wood's early western projects, including the Yakima Canutt directed feature  THE LAWLESS RIDER (1952), which Ed wrote, and CROSSROAD AVENGER: THE ADVENTURES OF THE TUSCON KID (1953), a short which he wrote and directed. DEVIL CULT opens with a male demoniac preparing for a human sacrifice to Satan of a woman placed between some strategically placed candles. The sacrifice is a more of a sexual than blood sacrifice but an occult ambiance is invoked in the manner of NECROMANIA. The vintage 1970s bargain basement furniture, women with Big hair, along with the requisite gynecological close ups and come shots provide a blast of nostalgia within the hardcore requirements.

All this and more... This release of these hard to find short films is a must-have package for Ed Wood and erotica collectors. Highly recommended

* Other unreleased Ed Wood loops include MASSAGE PARLOUR and GIRL FRIDAY, which await discovery along with his final acts as director, THE SEX EDUCATION CORRESPONDENCE SCHOOL, 8mm short films from SECS Productions. These ultra obscure productions are, according to the Grey book, "A series of super 8mm films, apox. 20 min. each, written and directed by Ed Wood and Charles Anderson.
(C) Robert Monell, 2016

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Edited 19 times by bobmonel Sep 20 16 3:23 PM.