Orgy of the Dead
Reviewed by Ken M. Wilson
Rating: 6.5 Beans
rom eternally bad director Ed Wood comes yet another script of his brought to the big screen via another director. This time around, it's A.C. Stephen who, apparently, went to the same film school as Wood. Hell, he even has Criswell starring! Top that, my friends.
Two young lovers -- one a horror book writer, the other a buxom redhead -- are on their way to the cemetery for inspiration. Straight from the Ed Wood Manual of Film Making comes scenes of daylight showing the car and night shots of the two within the vehicle... it's to die for, baby. When the car crashes (listen to the incredible intensity displayed by the woman), the two find themselves smack dab in the middle of the cemetary where Criswell, the hokey King of the Underworld, is watching twelve strip acts alongside his Vampira/Elvira clone, Ghoulita (billed on the box as "The ghoulish goddess of the Dancing Dead"). With the help of comedy relief (!?!?!) assistants, TheMummy and The Wolfman, the boyfriend and the girlfriend are brought in to watch the strip-acts before meeting their supposed demise.
Let's sum this film up in three words -- saggy, swinging breasts. That's it. Some of these girls were fairly attractive but most were of the ilk of the older sister of the girl next door. Two of them actually made me squirm (the snake dancer and the redheaded hooker), but other than that you're in for seventy fives minutes (out of the film's 92 total runtime) of mid-60s night club topless dancers. The thing that is apparent from the exotic dancers of the '90s and the dancers from the '60s is in the use of the hips. The "Make Love Not War" babes knew that by merely jiggling her breasts that she was guaranteed tips... a woman doing that today in a strip club would most assuredly be laughed off the stage and replaced by Long Legs Lenore who grinds the bar like a good woman should -- just ask "Showgirls" alum Elizabeth Berkeley. Aside from snickering at the dancers' laughable moves, pay attention to Criswell who appears to be about as pleased as a small child on Christmas morning with the film at hand. His sheepish grins and cheesy gawkings are of the same calibre of spectators at a car show.
It's quite easy to see how Ed Wood made his slow move from his campy '50s sci-fi flicks to his hard-core porn flicks of the 1970s. I, too, would have gotten bored with the lifeless dancers he showcased in his screenplay "Orgy of the Dead."
The only thing that saves this film from the utter boredom of the dozen dancing dames is, as mentioned above, The Incredible Criswell. With that incredible airy voice of his, he manages to expound on the most ridiculous items before him -- particularly his exchanges with Ghoulita. My favorite reaction from anyone within the film, however, comes from the red-headed girlfriend when she is spoken to by His Horrific Highness. You'll just have to see it to believe how this little exchange is beautifully acted by both Criswell and Red.
Fun things to watch for during the film: the "erotic" shakings of the dancers comes not from her sly moves but mainly from the momentum brought about due to the shaking of her floppy breasts hither and tither; the Wolfman can't speak a word but manages to whisper something to Ghoulita; the apparent cardboard tombstones in the cemetary; the classic stock footage insertions (rattlesnake tails!); the Mummy's awful attempts at jokes; the tied-up redhead's eternally buttoning and unbuttoning blouse; and, last but certainly not least, Criswell's awful nods to the camera.
This film isn't enjoyable at all... and I'm a big fan of the female body. You would think that a box that promises "A bizarre bouillabaisse, blending beautiful naked ZOMBIE GIRLS, VAMPIRES, VIXENS, WANTON WEREWOLVES, TORTURED TEENS in bondage..." would bring about more than 12 strippers, a Vampira-clone (whom I was dying to see strut her stuff!), one fake-as-PamLee werewolf, and two loosely-tied twentysomethings strapped to cardboard cutouts. Oh wait, I almost forgot... this is an Ed Wood inspired film.
"Orgy of the Dead" ranks only 6.5 Beans from this reviewer. Had they spent more time with Snake Lady, the Heavenly Hooker, and Ghoulita... I may have actually enjoyed this film for real.
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