I Woke Up Early The Day I Died (1998) - The Hunt for Edward D. Wood, Jr.
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I Woke Up Early The Day I Died
a.k.a. I Awoke Early The Day I Died
a.k.a. O Último Dia de Minha Vida
a.k.a. Der Tag, an dem ich starb

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Directed by Aris Iliopulos
Written by Edward D. Wood, Jr.
Wood regulars
Conrad Brooks

Additional cast
Billy Zane
Sandra Bernhard
Karen Black
Bud Cort
Tippi Hedren
Eartha Kitt
Ann Magnuson
Andrew McCarthy
Taylor Negron
Will Patton
Ron Perlman
Rain Phoenix
Summer Phoenix
Tara Reid
Christina Ricci
John Ritter
Rick Schroeder
Nicolette Sheridan
Carel Strucken
Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Steven Weber

A thief (Zane) escapes from an insane asylum dressed as a nurse. His first act (apart from acquiring men's clothes) is to rob a loan office. Making his getaway, he eventually finds himself at a cemetary, where he falls asleep in a grave. Waking up early in the morning (duh -ed.) he finds his money missing. This sends him on a hunt for the loot that sees him tracking down all those who attended the funeral he witnessed the night before. This includes the grave digger (Perlman), a stripper (Bernhard), an older woman (Hedren) and a sharp shooter (Ritter). Eventually the trail leads him to his ultimate fate...
I'll admit I was unsure of this one, given that so many 'A' stars (and a fair share of 'B' ones) were associated with it. But it totally won me over. From the psychedelic opening credits to the end, I liked what I saw.

Often described as 'silent' because there's no dialogue, a better word would be 'mute.' There's plenty of noise and grunting, etc., and even the ocassional voice over during dream sequences, just no actual characters talking. It accomplishes the amazing task of really feeling like Ed's work without a stich of dialogue. No mean feat.

The characters are classic Wood, covering many of his favorite types: grave diggers, strippers, cowboys, etc. They all seem cut from Wood's cloth.

Also in this film's favor is the fact that this production, unlike many other 'tributes' to Ed doesn't try to be bad. The actors, director, etc. are obviously trying to make a good movie, if an over-the-top, outrageous one. Cheap props abound, but most are used to good effect (with a few forgivable exceptions). They were really working from Ed's playbook. Shoot it as cheaply as possible so that it works. For the most part, they succeed.

It is a real pity that more people can't see this one. Hopefully it will be available on home video eventually. Until then, seek out whatever copy you can find.
Best Line
none. (Unless you count The Thief's various "Gaaaaa!"s -ed.)
File Under
Crime, Posthumous, Transvestitism



This is the primary title for this movie. It is, however in lawyer's hell. There was never a major theatrical release, and the only home video release was in Germany (and even that's out of print). Kind of poetic, being an Ed Wood film and all. Well, Brenda Starr eventually saw the light of day, maybe this will too.

I Woke Up Early The Day I DiedThis is the German VHS release of I Woke Up Early The Day I Died.

It is the basis for most of the bootlegs sold on eBay and at "specialty video" stores.

It is worth noting that in this edition, the occasional spoken words mentioned above as well as the many superimposed excerpts from the script (one of the highlights of the film's style) are in German and not the original English. Consequently, most bootlegs cannot be considered definitive.

If you are seeking a copy of this movie, try to locate one based on an industry screener instead.


This film has never seen any kind of release under this alternate version of the title. This form is actually the title used most often when the script is mentioned in Nightmare of Ecstasy, which pre-dates the film by a few years, but I have no information as to whether the filmmakers ever intended to use it. It does appear on the IMDb as an alternate, hence its inclusion here, but it may merely be that this title was occasionally used in confusion for the proper title.

This title should not be confused with the fan production I Awoke Early The Day I Died, which is a different movie entirely.

No Image AvailableN/A


i.e.: "The Last Day of My Life"

This is the title I Woke Up Early The Day I Died appeared under on Brazilian television. I have found no mass market release under this title.

No Image AvailableNIA


i.e.: "The day, on which I died"

This is the title I Woke Up Early The Day I Died appeared under on German television. I have found no mass market release under this title and it is not used on the German VHS release.

No Image AvailableNIA

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