Madman, genius, hack, auteur?: Intertextuality, extratextuality, and intention in `Ed Wood films? after Plan 9 From Outer Space

Bartlett, B. (2019) Madman, genius, hack, auteur?: Intertextuality, extratextuality, and intention in `Ed Wood films? after Plan 9 From Outer Space. Continuum, (doi: 10.1080/10304312.2019.1677979) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

Edward D. Wood, Jr is widely described as both the ‘worst director of all time’ and a cult auteur with a unique vision and a tendency to draw inspiration from his own life. This reputation, however, is primarily based on three of his best known badfilms from the 1950s, with the subsequent two decades – the most productive of his career – largely ignored. This article examines a selection of what have become known as ‘Ed Wood films’ after Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959) and interrogates Wood’s status as a cult auteur. Wood’s haphazard approach to filmmaking means that auteurist signatures, if they are to be located at all, often emerge accidentally – despite his intentions, rather than because of them. Finding a single analytical approach to his films as a unified body of work is difficult. Looking beyond Plan 9, therefore, allows for a more complete, though not necessarily coherent, understanding of the filmmaker than the constructed cult ‘character’ of Ed Wood can provide. Furthermore, the tendency towards biographical and intertextual interpretations of Wood’s films are inconsistently encouraged by the films themselves, therefore representing an example of the ways bad movies are read in both unintended and intended ways.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bartlett, Dr Becky
Authors: Bartlett, B.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Journal Name:Continuum
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1030-4312
ISSN (Online):1469-3666
Published Online:21 October 2019
Copyright Holders:© 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor and Francis Group
First Published:First published in Continuum 2019
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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