The Sinister Urge
is another Ed Wood
exploitation piece from 1961. This time, the particular vice covered is pornography, and the attendant evils that come from it.
The Cold Open
starts with a girl being chased in the park, and reaching a phone booth to call for the police before being murdered. The clues end up leading a couple of righteous police detectives to a pornography syndicate. Can the syndicate be busted before more girls are killed?
For the Mystery Science Theater 3000
version, please go to the episode recap page
Not to be confused with the Rob Zombie
album which took its name from this movie.
The Sinister Urge contains the following tropes:
- All Crimes Are Equal: Making porn, murder, kidnapping, selling drugs, same thing!
- Author Avatar: Johnny Ride is Ed Wood, with the Reality Subtext that right after The Sinister Urge, Wood's projects were all softcore porn.
- Brawn Hilda / Amazonian Beauty: Mary Smith, the girl Johnny coerces into doing porn (posing fully clothed in partly-diaphanous flowing robes.)
- Break the Cutie: The sequence where Johnny Ride pretends to discover a would-be actress new to the city and tricks her into going so far into debt that he and Gloria can blackmail her into doing porn for them. Inevitably (by the film's logic), Dirk kills her after seeing her pictures, and she ends up as just the latest "Jane Doe" the police have to deal with.
- Break the Haughty: "That's not Dirk. Nuh-uh..."
- Cold Open: The movie dumps us right into a chase scene.
- Conviction by Contradiction: At the end of the film, Gloria shoots Johnny for asking to meet her backers — except that she actually shot Dirk, who'd threatened Johnny earlier and shanked him while Gloria was getting her gun. Gloria then calls the police to report that she'd had to shoot Johnny, and talks herself into a corner by the time they finally show her Dirk's body (and Johnny's body stuffed in the bushes).
- Creator Cameo: Ed Wood is one of the, ahem, "teenagers" fighting at the pizza shop.
- Dawson Casting: The, ahem, "teenagers" at the pizza shop.
- Easy Evangelism: The businessman who comes to complain about the vice squad going after porn instead of "real crimes" is convinced quickly of the evils of pornography with no real evidence and little more than the argument "How would you like it if YOUR daughters were porn stars?"
- Fan Disservice: Gloria and Johnny's kiss.
- Felony Misdemeanor: Apparently, taking pictures of girls in bathing suits is an arrestable offense.
- Knife Nut: Dirk.
- Legacy Character: Kline the cop appeared in other Wood films, including Plan 9 from Outer Space.
- No Indoor Voice: Gloria, about 85% of the time.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Dirk (on foot) beating Johnny (driving) back to Gloria's place.
- Psycho for Hire: Dirk.
- Stock Footage: The pizza shop was footage from Rock and Roll Hell, an unfinished Wood project. Wood spliced in Dirk listening in to an ADR, off-camera conversation between two characters.
- Tempting Fate: Letting someone you know goes Ax-Crazy when they see porn work around a porn racket.