I Woke Up Early the Day I Died (1998) - Rotten Tomatoes

I Woke Up Early the Day I Died (1998)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Aris Iliopulos directed this campy comedy utilizing schlock filmmaker Ed Wood's last unproduced screenplay. Stock footage and old hygiene films are intercut with this near-silent story following a cross-dresser (Billy Zane), who escapes from the Casa de la Loco Sanitarium, manages to acquire some money, and then loses it at a funeral attended by eccentric mourners. He then seeks them out, killing them one by one. Some script instructions appear as titles. Bud Cort makes an uncredited appearance, and Wood aficionados can spot Kathy Wood (the filmmaker's daughter) in a walk-on, while Maila Nurmi re-creates her famed Vampira characterization. Larry Groupe's punk score alternates with standards by Nat "King" Cole and others. Shown at the Toronto Film Festival.


Billy Zane
as The Thief
Tippi Hedren
as Maylinda Austed
Ron Perlman
as Cemetery Caretaker
Michael Greene
as Tom Harris
Roberta Hanley
as Housewife
Christina Ricci
as Teenage Hooker
Andrew McCarthy
as Cemetery Cop
Ann Magnuson
as Loan Secretary
Robert Musselman
as Eartha Kitt's Escort
Marvin Lawrence
as Eartha Kitt's Piano Player
Taylor Negron
as Loan Office Cop
Sandra Bernhard
as Sandy Sands
Karen Black
as Whip Lady
Eartha Kitt
as Cult Leader
Will Patton
as Preacher
Max Perlich
as Assistant Undertaker
Summer Phoenix
as Bartender #2/Girl at the Beach
John Ritter
as Robert Forrest
Rick Schroder
as Cruiser Cop #2
Conrad Brooks
as Cruiser Cop #3
Nicollette Sheridan
as Ballroom Woman
Carel Struycken
as Undertaker
Vampira (Maila Nurmi)
as Woman in Hotel Lobby
Steven Weber
as Policeman in Alley
View All

Critic Reviews for I Woke Up Early the Day I Died

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (4)

Wood's bargain-basement aesthetic is impossible to parody. That this mime show works better than it should is, in a sense, the ultimate dis.

April 3, 2001

It's sad and misguided and boring. Pretending to make a pathetically amateurish movie isn't nearly as effective as accidentally making one because you don't know any better.

April 3, 2001 | Rating: 1.5/5 | Full Review…

I can recommend three more enjoyable alternatives: counting the number of hairs on the back of your forearm, practicing breaking a cinder block in half with your bare hand, or submitting to a colonoscopy.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 0.5/4 | Full Review…

The budgets of [Wood's] own efforts would have been splurged within the first minute of DIED's title credits

November 14, 2007

As funny as a funeral.

December 4, 2003 | Rating: 1/5

Nothing could be more lethal to a Wood script than actors who not only think they're hipper than what they're trying to do, but who also make sure that the audience knows it.

April 3, 2001 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for I Woke Up Early the Day I Died

I've never seen a filmmaker so proud of himself for making crap as when I saw this at TIFF. The wonderful thing about Ed Wood was he was genuinely trying to make a good film whenever he made a turkey, and it really showed and made his films really endearing, almost sweet. This turkey is made by a bunch of people who think they're better than the material... guess what, they're not.

Christopher  Brown
Christopher Brown

Super Reviewer

I Woke Up Early the Day I Died Quotes

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