Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Gardener (1974)

Director: James H. Kay

Writer: James H. Kay

Composer: Marc Fredericks

Starring: Katherine Houghton, Joe Dallesandro, Rita Gam, James Congdon, Anne Meacham, Teodorina Bello, Ivan Rodriguez, Esther mari, Roberto Negron

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Garden of LOVE... Garden of DEATH, He Plants the Seeds of Evil

Plot:  Ellen (Houghton) and her husband John (Congdon) enjoy the good life in their lovely Costa Rica home-all that's missing is a nice garden. Enter the mysterious and dangerously handsome Carl (Dallesandro), who creates a botanical paradise while casting a spell on Ellen and her woman friends. Things take a turn for the worse when Ellen discovers that her Gardener may be planting his own "seeds of evil".

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Here's a strange little horror picture.  The story is pretty interesting and except for the horrible performance of Dallesandro, everyone does a pretty good job.  The score sounds like it's from a 70s TV movie of the week (aka it's cheesy).  As I mentioned, Dallesandro is horrible but he's not there to speak eloquently, he's there to show off his body (he's shirtless from start to finish and sometimes pantsless).  I was going along with the first hour where Ellen (Houghton, Katherine Hepburn's niece, by the way) is oblivious to the mysterious goings on at the house but everyone around her, including the audience, knows there's something weird about this dude and it's not going to end well.  Then she's sleuthing for herself to find out about his past employers only to discover they all died mysteriously.  Sur-PRISE!!!  Then there's a big showdown with bullets and branches and shit.  It's not a bad picture but because we the audience know something's up with this dude, when Ellen does her detective bit, the picture slows down way too much.   That's what hurts the picture; that and Dallesandro's cardboard acting. It's worth a rental if you can find it.

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