Alt Film Guide
Classic movies. Gay movies. International cinema. Socially conscious & political cinema.
Home Movie GenresSex at the Movies Necromania Unearthed: ‘Lost’ Sexually Explicit Ed Wood Film

Necromania Unearthed: ‘Lost’ Sexually Explicit Ed Wood Film

Ed Wood film Necromania: Shirtless hunk + witchEd Wood film Necromania with unidentified witch and shirtless hunk: Long thought (at least partially) lost, Wood’s 1971 effort featuring witches, coffins, and some hardcore sexually explicit action was a pioneering release in the XXX genre.
  • For years thought lost – and then partially lost – the sexually explicit 1971 Ed Wood film Necromania is currently available for viewing.
  • Was Necromania truly the very last feature directed by the jack-of-all-trades auteur of little-seen, minimalist-budgeted grade-Z fare like Glen or Glenda and Jail Bait?

Long-thought ‘lost’ Ed Wood film Necromania returns from the dead: Pioneering sexually explicit feature was one of cult director’s final efforts

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Fans of cult favorite screenwriter-director-producer Ed Wood, in some quarters labeled The Worst Filmmaker of All Time, now have one more title to check out: Necromania: A Tale of Weird Love!, a long-thought (partially) lost, sexually explicit 1971 release about the erotic awakening of a young couple through the assistance of a witch and her lustful minions. Wood himself wrote the novel, The Only House (1970), that served as the basis for this groundbreaking endeavor in the adult film genre.

Necromania, in fact, holds a special place in American (adult) film history, as it is one of the first U.S.-made “hardcore” features. Back in those pre-Deep Throat, pre-The Devil in Miss Jones days, truly explicit sex acts were a rarity even in “blue movies.”[1]

Following 15 years of detective work, this particular Ed Wood contribution to cinema annals can at last be fully appreciated: In 2001, Wood biographer Rudolph Grey (Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood Jr., 1992) and movie distributor/Wood enthusiast Alexander Kogan discovered a complete Necromania print in a warehouse in the Los Angeles area. They’re making it available on DVD – in softcore and hardcore versions – via the porn site Fleshbot.

Shot in about three days on a budget totaling $7,000 (approximately $33,000 in 2004), the original Necromania went missing shortly after its initial release. In the late 1980s, dupes in varying degrees of completeness resurfaced; up until Grey and Kogan’s discovery, these were the only known prints in existence.

Necromania plot

In accordance with the classic narrative about “regular folk” finding refuge/looking for help in what turns out to be a menacing – at times darkly supernatural – place (e.g., The Old Dark House, The Most Dangerous Game, The Black Cat, The Rocky Horror Picture Show), Necromania features 1970s adult film performers Ric Lutze and Rene Bond as a young (not really) married couple who, in order to find a Southern California-style cure for the (faux) husband’s erectile dysfunction, seek medical aid at the foreboding mansion of a necromancer, Madame Heles.

Maria Arnold – if the IMDb info is accurate, seen in about 50 adult films of the 1970s – plays the necromantic Madame, a curious type who spends her days lying inside a coffin, coming to sex-starved life at the midnight hour.

Anonymous cast & director

At a time when U.S.-made sex-themed features were beginning to transition from soft to hardcore – the epoch-making XXX blockbusters Deep Throat and The Devil in Miss Jones would come out in the ensuing two years – none of the Necromania actors received screen credit: “Our cast wish to remain anonymous,” cautiously explains the movie’s opening title.

Apparently, that wish was shared by the director/producer.

Ed Wood, who is also supposed to have taken on a small role in the film (if so, his cameo ended up on the cutting-room floor), is credited as “Don Miller.”

Final Ed Wood effort?

Several reports assert that Necromania was the very last movie Ed Wood directed. In reality, that honor – officially, at least – belongs to another sexually explicit early 1970s release, The Young Marrieds, which came out in 1972 and was believed lost until a 16mm print was unearthed in Vancouver earlier this year.

The story – no connection with the mid-1960s daytime soap opera of the same name – revolves around the sexual disconnect between an uptight husband and his more liberated wife. In the cast: Louis Wolf, Alice Friedland, George Black, and Cynthia Walker.

Director Wood was credited as “Richard Trent.”

What about Panty Girls?

Making things more confusing, the IMDb lists another 1972 release, Panty Girls / Bloomer Girl, as an Ed Wood movie – even though its auteurship hasn’t been firmly established. Released without directorial credit, Panty Girls stars Necromania’s Ric Lutze and Rene Bond, who, as per the article linked to in the previous sentence, were an off-screen item.

And that’s not all.

Besides Necromania, Ed Wood directed another micro-budget 1971 film based on his novel The Only House: That’s The Only House in Town (billed as “Flint Holloway”), featuring Female Chauvinists and Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens actress Uschi Digard – and no connection, except for the extended movie title, with George Stevens’ 1970 psychological gambling drama The Only Game in Town, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Warren Beatty.

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

March 2019 update: Another supposedly long-thought-lost Ed Wood film, The Only House in Town is now available on DVD.

This seemingly incomplete version of the movie lacks both graphic sex and graphic witchcraft, but features lots of hippies and a behind-the-scenes voice (Ed Wood’s?) demanding that actors in an orgy scene get out of the way of star Uschi Digard.

Necromania Unearthed: ‘Lost’ Sexually Explicit Ed Wood Film” notes

Adult film trailblazers

[1] Other groundbreaking examples of the period include Michael Benveniste’s Mona: The Virgin Nymph (1970) and Gerard Damiano’s Sex USA (1971).

Released in 1969 and featuring an endless sex scene between Louis Waldon and Viva, Andy Warhol’s notorious Blue Movie comes across as quite straitlaced when compared to Necromania and similar no-body-parts-barred fare.

See also: Adult film star John Leslie reached the height of his fame during the Boogie Nights era.

Image featuring two unidentified Necromania cast members: Alpha Blue Archives.

Necromania Unearthed: ‘Lost’ Sexually Explicit Ed Wood Film” last updated in May 2023.

Recommended for You

Leave a Comment

*IMPORTANT*: By using this form you agree with Alt Film Guide's storage and handling of your data (e.g., your IP address). Make sure your comment adds something relevant to the discussion: Feel free to disagree with us and write your own movie commentaries, but *thoughtfulness* and *at least a modicum of sanity* are imperative. Abusive, inflammatory, spammy/self-promotional, baseless (spreading mis- or disinformation), and just plain deranged comments will be zapped. Lastly, links found in submitted comments will generally be deleted.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. If you continue browsing, that means you've accepted our Terms of Use/use of cookies. You may also click on the Accept button on the right to make this notice disappear. Accept Read More