Orgy of the Dead (1965)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Sexploitation, Supernatural Horror  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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While people love to declare Edward D. Wood the worst director who ever lived, it's instructive to watch Orgy of the Dead and discover that when someone else got his hands on one of Wood's scripts, the results were actually a good bit clunkier than when Wood himself was at the helm. While Wood's best (or at least most memorable) works, such as Plan 9 From Outer Space or Glen or Glenda, have a real charm and a palpable energy despite the often absurd dialogue and haywire production values, Orgy of the Dead moves like molasses on a cold morning, and director Stephen C. Apostolof (aka A.C. Stephen) draws little brio from his cast, not to mention his rather stodgy visual style (though Robert Caramico's color camerawork is a lot glossier than one might expect from the circumstances). The film's only real sign of life is a teeth-gnashing performance from Wood's longtime drinking buddy Criswell as the leader of "the twilight people"; his gloriously odd reading of "Torture! It pleasures me! Ha ha!!" may well be the most enjoyable moment in the film. And while the film's parade of second-string topless dancers is amusing, they're not captured with the obsessive glee a true sensualist such as Wood could have brought to them. In short, Orgy of the Dead is that rare film that would have been improved if Ed Wood had directed it, and how often can you say that these days?