Carl the Gardner (Joe Dallesandro), grows odd plants for a rich Yankee woman Ellen Bennett (Katharine Houghton) living in South America while exercising a mental hold over her. All his previous employers died mysteriously. Some of his plants emit deadly fumes. Houghton previously starred with her aunt Katharine Hepburn in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." Written by
SEEDS OF EVIL is one obscure film and the better for it. I love watching films that have been, for whatever reasons, forgotten or simply dismissed with time. Watching them always brings a special kind of feeling: that your watching something few people have seen. On rare occasions I "discovered" a couple of hidden gems by doing this. But most of the time there's a good reason why so many films are forgotten: they're just not good on any level.
SEEDS OF EVIL is one of those obscure films people have forgotten and though it's not a true hidden gem, it's a real find nonetheless. There's something unique about it which I've rarely seen in any film I've seen up to now: it basically creates a new genre, of the psychic connections between plants and humans and the potential for evil. It's forward thinking enough to be seen as contemporary and yet the film has a quaint charm to it which reminds me of movies of the past.
Though made in 1975, SEEDS OF EVIL is decidedly straddled between the films of sex and gore of the 1970s and the spooky, non-violent horror films made just a decade ago (like THE HAUNTING or THE INNOCENTS). The sex is provided in the form of Joe Dallesandro, who's shirtless and wearing barely there hip-huggers, or just plain naked throughout the movie. And the quaintness is mainly due to the fact that there's little violence in SOE and the soundtrack is very flowery and has that "whoo-hoo-hooo" kinda of feel to it, which is probably more suited for a horror film of the 1950s or 60s than one from the 1970s.
The direction is not bad. The camera glides around smoothly. The film is never boring even though nothing much really happens in the movie. The 1970s fashion and interiors are a sight to behold. The acting is surprisingly good for this kind of film, with Rita Gam stealing the show. The exception being Joe Dallesandro. Joe is one bad actor. So much so that the director consciously avoided having Dallesandro acting on screen for extended periods of time. Dallesandro, with his compact and sculptured body, was simply used as "special effects" for the film. And the genre (psychic attachment to plants, also explored in THE KIRLIAN WITNESS in 1978) is an interesting one and though not 100% successful here, it does bring a fresh outlook to where evil might lurk.
Anyone looking for gore or violence, or female nudity will be sorely disappointed with SOE. But for fans of obscure films, even though there's nothing earth-shattering about it, SEEDS OF EVIL is a nifty little find.
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