For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.

Accidental Brecht: Best of Ed Wood and Poverty Row

by Erich Kuersten
Accidental Brecht: Best of Ed Wood and Poverty Row by Erich Kuersten
There is genius and there is accidental genius and who dares judge the difference? If the anti-narrative disruption of Godard’s films are based on an exhaustive intellectual knowledge of cinema, couldn’t anti-narrative disruption that is the work of a low budget and cuckoo director be judged as no worse or better? And isn’t ultimately the transcendental awe that sometimes comes from seeing ‘through’ the narrative and into the very fabric of filmmaking just as exhilarating in either case? Of course not! But if you’re old enough to remember UHF TV then you remember seeing PLAN NINE or BRIDE OF THE MONSTER and having your mind blown. Wood… Read more

There is genius and there is accidental genius and who dares judge the difference? If the anti-narrative disruption of Godard’s films are based on an exhaustive intellectual knowledge of cinema, couldn’t anti-narrative disruption that is the work of a low budget and cuckoo director be judged as no worse or better? And isn’t ultimately the transcendental awe that sometimes comes from seeing ‘through’ the narrative and into the very fabric of filmmaking just as exhilarating in either case?

Of course not! But if you’re old enough to remember UHF TV then you remember seeing PLAN NINE or BRIDE OF THE MONSTER and having your mind blown. Wood understood children’s need for disruption of narrative and that need is the same as Godard’s. Nothing bores children like heavy plot-driven adult conversations and mature coded historically accurate subtlety. When green slime drops from a CARRIE bucket onto Kid’s Choice Awards presenters, how different is the laugh derived than the laugh when Tor Johnson bumps into the doorways and shakes the walls in BRIDE?

The following films are all bad in normal senses, but like the best work of Brecht and Godard, can set you free if you’re willing to love fleabitten gorilla suits and ridiculous double exposed stock footage on its own terms.

Read less