Boll vs. Wood


imageThis week’s The Escapist explains the German tax shelters that fund the career of much-discussed German filmmaker Uwe Boll. Boll is most often compared to American director Ed Wood, Jr. (Plan 9 From Outer Space). One difference, among many: Wood’s long career – documented in Rudolph Grey’s 1992 biography Nightmare of Ecstacy, Tim Burton’s terrific 1994 adaptation Ed Wood and fan website The Hunt for Edward D. Wood, Jr – demonstrates his passionate love of filmmaking. In contrast, Boll’s sincerity is constantly debated.

Furthermore, Ed Wood – bear with me here – is a genuinely interesting filmmaker. True! Though both Wood and Boll are often described as totally inept, Wood is, in fact, selectively inept. Films by truly incompetent directors are hard to follow and boring. Wood’s movies, with their nutty plots and miserable production values, nonetheless flow smoothly from scene to scene; his storytelling is, for the most part, technically decent (that is, you know where you are in the narrative); and his ludicrous lack of taste can be mesmerizing. Show Glen or Glenda to an audience. Their initial stunned disbelief quickly turns to joy. They watch with enthusiasm throughout and rapturously cheer the ending. Boll’s audiences sometimes cheer too; they’re relieved the film is finally over.

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