Monday, October 22, 2007

(Huh Huh) I Got Wood (Huh Huh)

Following up on an earlier post...

Despite my recent resolution to cease buying new books until I make a dent in the hundred plus novels that are littering my basement, I simply had to order a few volumes from Ramble House Press's Edward D. Wood Jr. collection -- the Woodpile. I was worried about ordering through as I didn't know if this "print on demand boutique" would take a few weeks or a few months to fill my order. Forget all that, I placed my order on a Sunday and it was at my door on Thursday of that same week.

Fans of Wood's purple prose can rejoice as Ramble House is presenting them as double dose trade paperbacks. The two that I've read so far are good looking and logical groupings of Wood work. There are a few typos and strange line breaks but these may have been in the original works (along with Wood's STRANGE use of CAPITALIZATION, especially of terms like GAY).

Wood's books don't disappoint. He has no shame in sharing his fetishes (repeatedly). In Suburbian Nightmare (sic), a collection of Suburbia Confidential and Orgy of the Dead, the female characters in each (and some males) clad themselves in angora. Each story also shares a disreputable funeral home owner with a penchant for necrophilia (a precursor to Wood's later film work, NECROMANIA.

Suburban Confidential follows the well-worn pattern of porn presented as psychology. Through a series of "case studies," the reader's taken on several wild rides that each showcase a different lascivious activity from the aforementioned necrophilia to transvestism to swinging and so on.

Via Ramble House, I've finally been able to satiate my curiosity about Orgy of the Dead. A huge fan of Stephen C. Apostolof's film version of the Wood story, it was fascinating to see how much of Wood's book was recycled for the screen. The same framework of Bob and Shirley witnessing the ritual judgment of the dead is here, though the dead here aren't an endless procession of burlesque dancers. Rather, they tell sad stories of their lives -- usually of pasts filled with perversion that are meant to appeal to the reader's prurient interests.

Per the comments posted by one of my blog's few readers, my only complaint about the Woodpile books is the same that I have with most of Ramble House's catalog -- the cover art is borderline atrocious. Rather than being seen in public reading something that looked like a children's coloring book, I had to make a book cover to hide the regrettable illustration. Apart from this, this collection is spot on and a wonderful addition to the canon of overwrought fetish lit.


Anonymous said...

Shit, those covers are horrible. What high school art class did they commision these masterpieces from?

Fender Tucker said...

Since the Woodpile books will never be on view in bookstores, I suppose I could have used a plain brown cover that wouldn't embarrass anyone reading Ed Wood on a bus. Instead I asked Gavin to come up with covers -- all of which I love and find perfectly suitable for the content -- and he did all 20 books cheerfully and for VERY LITTLE pay. If you take to time to look at the 300+ covers Gavin has done for Ramble House over the past 7 years I think you'll see that Gavin always makes the covers fit the content, which is not something that a high school art class would understand. I have no complaint about Mike's dismissal of the artwork -- he bought the books and has the right to his opinion -- but I wonder about an anonymous bozo who looks only at a thumbnail of a book and thinks his opinion carries any water whatsoever.

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