I was in my teens before I ever saw this movie all the way through. I don't remember exactly, but at the time I was more inclined to believe it was a "bad" movie, due in no small part to a certain moronic book by some moronic brothers named Medved.
now that I am older, I love this movie. it's by no means a well made movie, but it's got an energy and a charm that many "good" movie lack. I think it's the love of movies that Ed Wood exhibits, despite his lack of movie making ability. when his craft improved, the surrealness of something like this was diminished. and he did become a better filmmaker, as experience will do that to a person.
I had the fortune of seeing this on the big screen with a crowd of about 200 people. it was so much fun, and there were no "clever" people there trying to make the movie less enjoyable by shouting "funny" lines during the showing. people just watched and enjoyed it. sure, we laughed, but it was honest laughter. there's just nothing like it.