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The Sinister Urge Reviews

Ed Wood, reputedly the worst director who ever lived, rips the lid off the pornography racket and comes up with what must be the least erotic sexploitation film of all time. After three girls who posed for dirty pictures are slain, two virtually immobile cops (Kenne Duncan and James Moore) try to flush out porn queen Gloria (Jean Fontaine) by arresting women in bathing suits and lecturing citizens on the evils of pornography: "You show me a crime, and I'll show you a picture that might have caused it." Naive movie hopeful Mary Smith (Jeanne Willardson) is tricked by Gloria's filmmaking flunky, Johnny Ryde (Carl Anthony), into becoming a (heavily clad) pin-up girl, and sex-crazed psycho Dirk (Dino Fantini) attacks her in a duck pond, leaving his fingerprints behind, presumably on a duck. Wanted by the cops and set up by Ryde, Dirk comes to Gloria's place to kill her. He kills Ryde instead; Gloria kills Dirk, thinking he's Ryde; finally, the cops haul her away because everyone else is dead. Although it never sinks to the level of Wood's PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, this film is a treasure trove of unintended hilarity. Moore appears to be drunk, Anthony redefines "wooden," and you could shave with Fontaine's voice. Her costumes are a hysterical parade of fashion felonies. The scenes depicting the dirty movie business are irredeemably stupid, as elderly schoolgirls in chastely opaque lingerie strike graceless poses for the elf-like Jaffe (Harry Keatan). Then there's the dialogue, seasoned with fruity, vaguely reasoned speeches decrying pornography as the greatest of threats to modern civilization. To top it off, Wood himself makes an uncredited cameo as a cop in drag, out to lure the psycho sex-killer with the duck fetish. THE SINISTER URGE was filmed in four days and written between shots, and its lunatic energy keeps it from sinking into dullness or ordinary ineptitude. Generally considered the last of Ed Wood's films (he made a few abysmal skin flicks in the 1960s before succumbing to alcoholism), this is a perfect summation of his career, characterized by mind-boggling technical incompetence; a ludicrous, almost plotless script; uniformly terrible acting; and a zany, lovable sincerity that somehow makes it all worth while.