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Death of a Transvestite Paperback – Apr 21 1999
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About the Author
Ed Wood, Jr., was a director, producer, screenwriter, actor, novelist, and cross-dresser. He died in 1978.
Top Customer Reviews
Patrolman Kelton: "Why do I always get hooked up with these spook details? Monsters, graves, bodies, drag queens. There's a full fledged riot going on and I have to investigate the DEATH OF A TRANSVESTITE, not to mention a KILLER IN DRAG lying wounded next to him, his blood oozing out like whiskey from a broken bottle."
Lieutenant John Harper: "No doubt about it, that's the ugliest drag queen I've ever seen. He's dead...murdered...and somebody's responsible!"
Patrolman Kelton: "The ambulance is on the way but, with the riot going on, the traffic is jammed up tighter than this drag queen's sweater. Do you think the rioters will let the ambulance through? What do you think will be the next obstacle they'll put in our way?"
Lieutenant John Harper: "Well, as long as they can think we'll have our problems. I don't believe what I'm seeing!"
Inspector Daniel Clay, recently shot dead in the line of duty, is approaching them. He is a huge hulk of a man. Although he was buried in his finest suit, he is wearing red high heels, pink capri pants and a pink angora sweater. Atop his huge, bald head is a disheveled blonde wig. He approaches them in a menacing manner and, acting on instinct, they begin shooting at him. They empty several rounds into him at point blank range, but it has no effect on him.
Patrolman Kelton: "Clay is dead, and we buried him. How are we going to kill somebody that's already dead? Dead! And yet there he stands! I don't believe what I'm seeing!"
Just then a flying saucer buzzes them. It projects a beam of blue light on the scene as an ambulance screeches into view.
Ambulance Driver Criswell: "That flying saucer has been following us since we left the hospital. It guided us right to this spot.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Death of a Transvestite picks up directly where Killer in Drag ends and features most of the same character but in style, it is a very different book. Written two years after Killer, Death of a Transvestite has a streak of fear and paranoia running through it as well as several caustic and bitter comments on the state of the Hollywood film industry. Whereas Killer featured a bizarre sincerity to its plea for tolerance, Death is almost a work of nihilism. As such, in tone and style, it is far different from the work that proceeded it. In that way, it resembles the first two Frankenstien films directed by another bitter casualty of Hollywood, James Whale. Whereas the first Frankenstien was almost somber, Whale's Bride of Frankenstien, while obviously continuing the story of the first film, was a deliberately insane, middle finger to the Hollywood establishment. The same analogy can be applied to Wood's two Glen Marker books (though he'd, undoubtly, perfer an analogy involving Bela Lugosi's Dracula as opposed to the classic Karloff films). If Killer was one of Wood's last attempts to turn pulp into art, Death of a Transvestite was his final admission that sometimes, pure trash is preferable to both.
Wood gets far more ambitious in this work, even framing it nicely. The opening chapter finds Glen in a prison cell, on the eve of his execution. Yup, the law has finally caught up with him. He has one final wish, and in exchange for it being granted he will tell his story. The wish ? To die as he lived -- in drag.
The warden thinks about it, and then agrees. And so we get Glen/da's confession, or rather a cobbled together account of what happened to him/her after the close of the last book. A new major character is Pauline, the sorry looking drag hit-person sent out to chase Glen/da down.
The Syndicate gets on Glen/da's trail by getting the information about his/her whereabouts from Rose "Red" Graves, the friendly prostitute Glen/da had packed off to New York. Wood actually does a nice pulp turn here as the Syndicate deals with her. Brutal, but true to the genre, no punches held.
Glen/da settles in in Hollywood, making a nice friend, Cynthia. A kept woman -- hell, a [...], but with a heart of gold, 'course. Touching to watch them get together.
As Pauline closes in on Glen/da, Wood defends his character's transvestite lifestyle. No question, the book is a manifesto of sorts, half earnest, half hilarious. Glen/da's problems are big, and Wood relates them with touching concern. S/he wants that operation (yup, s/he wants to get rid of that bulge in his/her [...]that completely destroys the line of those tight-fitting dresses), but s/he's concerned about his/her sex-life afterwards. S/he never much liked sleeping with men (tried it, but not won over), and s/he can't imagine becoming a lesbian (really) -- but then since his/her only turn-on is the clothes s/he wears, maybe it will work out ..... S/he doesn't like skin against skin -- even when having sex s/he like to have some comfy nightgown or [...] on .....
When Cynthia and Glen/da are finally ready to get it on Cynthia is a bit unnerved by Glen/da's transvestism. Proudly, Glen/da insists that she take him/her as s/he is. "There I stand in my panties," s/he states, unapologetically. It's a stirring moment.
A tragic end is in the coming, though, as the Syndicate hit-man lurks in the background. S/he's a pretty sad hit-thing, the ugliest drag-queen around, and none too impressive in doing his/her job. Glen/da practically falls into his/her lap; we don't see how s/he could have gotten at him/her otherwise. On top of that, s/he gets blasted before going after Glen/da. Not very professional. But still fairly realistic for a Wood-creation
The end comes, as we knew it would, and we're back on execution row. Glenda's all gussied up, and she can die a happy gal. "So the record has spun its measured spin. The story is told," Glenda says. This is a grand finale, and Wood actually manages some poignancy to this absurd scene. It's a sincere and heartfelt effort, and it is, amazingly, not half bad.
The sex in the book is considerably raunchier than in Killer in Drag -- definitely not for the kids. It's decent pulp fiction, though, and perhaps Wood's most accomplished work, whether as book or film. One can't really recommend the book, but it shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.
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