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Decades-lost Ed Wood film screened at Fantastic Fest

As a noted enthusiastic fan of bad movies, I of course adore Ed Wood films. They're bad in all the ways bad movies should be: bad acting, inexplicable story choices, shoddy sets and effects...the whole nine yards. While Wood is not the worst director ever (not even of his time period, as anyone who ever watched MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 can attest to), but there's definitely charm to his films. Like THE ROOM or BIRDEMIC or FATEFUL FINDINGS, his films aren't just simply boring, they're mystifying in their odd choices, like the line "And remember, my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future" in PLAN 9 FROM OUTERSPACE, or Bela Lugosi screaming "Pull the string!" in a melodrama about cross-dressing.

Anyway, Fantastic Fest recently screened a decades-lost nudie film Wood directed in 1970 called TAKE IT OUT IN TRADE, about a hapless detective who is hired by a well-to-do couple to find their missing daughter. until he finds the daughter in a "house of ill-repute" working as a prostitute. What's interesting, is that it apparently doesn't demonize sex work, and in fact has pretty progressive sexual politics - especially for the time. There's a trans couple that is just treated like a regular couple by the film, and there's no sexual violence (emblematic of the era), as well as an ending that has the daughter going back to sex work because she enjoys it (which might be its own can of worms, but seemed to come from a genuine place of sex-positivity).

It is worth mentioning that due to the allegations of sexual misconduct from Fantastic Fest mainstays Devin Faraci and Harry Knowles - and the festival's reportedly gross mishandling of the situation - has led to many festival-goers to question the timing of screening a lurid sexploitation film. Which I think can be a valid response, though I personally side with the owner of Something Weird (who held the screening) Lisa Petrucci, who said as a feminist she did not consider Something Weird’s erotic cinema releases incompatible with those beliefs - here's her full, well-written statement. It should also be mentioned that there was also another porno, BATPUSSY - supposedly the first ever "porn parody" - screened without much outcry at the same festival.

But, honestly, despite all that surrounding ugliness, I'm just glad there's more Ed Wood out in the world.

So any fans (or "fans") of Wood's films out there? If so, what's your favorite film of his? Either way, sound off below!

Extra Tidbit: Ed Wood directed over ten feature films over his career.
Source: Fantastic Fest

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