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Vinegar Syndrome’s Orgy of the Dead Blu-ray Release
90 minutes of graveyard striptease shenanigans!
Published on October 11, 2017 | Filed under Review
Orgy of the Dead

It’s hard to not enter a film titled Orgy of the Dead with certain expectations. And if you’re aren’t sitting down to view based on the title alone, you’re likely doing so on the merits (or lack thereof) of its writer Ed Wood. Depending on what you’re hoping for from a film titled Orgy of the Dead, written by Ed Wood you’ll either come away fulfilled or confounded – but you’ll be hard pressed to find anything else like it.

First things first – there’s no orgy in this film. This is more like Striptease of the Dead. It’s firmly in nudie cutie territory throughout its runtime, with a bevy of gorgeous women disrobing in a cemetery for the majority of its duration. This is also only written by Ed Wood, despite usually being credited solely to him; the director is erotic filmmaker Stephen C. Apostolof (Drop-Out Wife, Five Loose Women) though what’s on screen feels much more in line with Wood’s work and interests than Apostolof’s.

Orgy of the Dead

Orgy of the Dead boils down to about 90 minutes of graveyard striptease shenanigans with rampant fog machine use, absurd dialogue and classic monsters cracking jokes. It’s all supremely goofy but utterly sincere and charming. Some may be hoping for a more offensive film from something bearing its title, but the final product is unabashedly Ed Wood and is a fascinating relic into mid 60s erotic cinema.

Vinegar Syndrome bring Orgy of the Dead to Blu-ray in a 2K restoration from the 35mm negative. This is jaw droppingly gorgeous stuff, with the film never looking this good on video before. The colors are vibrant, damage is non-existent, grain is intact. This is demo worthy work for a film that most have never heard of. Audio fares similarly, with a DTS HD MA 1.0 track that faithfully recreates its theatrical audio. There’s a lot of music here in the dancing sequences and it comes through clearly and with no noticeable issues.

Orgy of the Dead

Supplements start with one of the best commentary tracks of the year so far, with filmmaker Frank Henenlotter and Ed Wood biographer Randolph Grey joining for a fun, exhaustive track about all things Ed Wood and the erotic cinema of its time. The two are talkative and provide many anecdotes, clearly being fond of the film they’re watching. If you’re an Ed Wood fan at all, this is a must. After that we get the 17 minute “Impressions of Nadejda” which is a strange, animated interview with one of the dancers in the film, Nadejda Klein. She covers a lot of ground in little time, focusing on her career in general as well as working on the film itself. Following that we get “Orgy of the Ted” which is a all too brief 2 minute interview with legendary exploitation filmmaker, and Orgy of the Dead assistant director, Ted V. Mikels. It’s a great talk, but would have loved more with him. Lastly, stills and a theatrical trailer are included.

Orgy of the Dead may not be the film that its title and/or reputation may suggest. But anyone going in with an affinity for the nudie cutie genre or the work of Ed Wood should be charmed and entertained. Vinegar Syndrome have pulled out all the stops in bringing this one to Blu-ray and it should be embraced. Highly Recommended.

Justin LaLiberty holds degrees in film preservation from the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation and film studies from Keene State College. He is the Creative Manager at Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers and is an itinerant projectionist, ready to run reels if you've got 'em.
Justin LaLiberty

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