GLEN OR GLENDA? vs. MANIAC
“Comparing and contrasting the Devil imagery in Ed Wood’s GLEN OR GLENDA? and Dwain Esper’s MANIAC” would have made for a more accurate title for this article, but it was a tad too long, I thought.
Last week I watched the latter film, impressed by the depths of inadequacy it managed to plumb. Something I couldn’t help noting was the use of demonic imagery superimposed over several scenes in the film. I thought this footage looked familiar, so I checked. Yep, all the devilish scenes came from the 1922 Swedish-Danish silent film HAXAN, aka THE WITCHES, aka WITCHCRAFT THROUGH THE AGES. (Nowadays HAXAN is in the public domain. When MANIAC was made in 1934, I doubt this was the case. Did the producers of MANIAC acquire the rights to use the footage from HAXAN? I find this hard to believe.) HAXAN deserves study in its own right. I’ll have to revisit it in a future article. Ostensibly a documentary about the European witch craze and the dangers of superstition, the phantasmagorical sequences featuring “real” witches and demons proved so disturbing that HAXAN was banned in the US and heavily censored elsewhere.
Ed Wood completed GLEN OR GLENDA? in 1953. This film is, like HAXAN, offered in documentary-style, and, like MANIAC, features some dreamy devil-cavorting scenes. Wood uses them far more effectively, though (yes, I’m serious), and they are far longer than the snippets found in MANIAC. The sadomasochistic scenes, however, were tacked-on by the film’s producer, George Weiss, to make it longer. The imagery in the film is so bizarre at times that the sequences added by Weiss don’t seem altogether out of place, no moreso than the excerpts from HAXAN used in MANIAC.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!