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Face it, if you're at all interested in looking up a movie like "Seeds of
Evil" in the first place, you ought to see it. IF you can find it...our
video store had a Unicorn Video print, in the dustiest corner of the
The music on the soundtrack is disconcertingly cheery...some of the acting is horrendous...some isn't bad and a couple of the actors have a curious appeal. For instance, James Congdon is like a poor man's Burt Reynolds.
Not as bad as some other viewers have indicated...again, if you are interested in looking at ratings for this one, just go watch it.
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.
this movie looks, sounds and plays like an industrial travelogue from the 70s. possibly as innocuous as a horror film could be. if that isn't recommendation enough, it also features joe dallesandro with a dazzling verbal prowess not seen since the warhol films (it's a little scary when he is just as zonked when out of a drug context). almost completely devoid of horror, it consists mainly of bored, rich people having stilted dialogue while they lounge about their tropical island homes. the score helps this along with swell cocktail themes running throughout, with the occasional diversion into cheesy horror. it's actually quite an enjoyable score. there is a great deal of suspense in place of horror, as you are kept on the edge of your seat wondering what the point to all this is. you needn't wonder, because there is none. the climax, while not elucidating, adds to the ridiculousness of the whole story. i mean, really adds. why does joe take jobs as a gardener just to ensure the randomly disconnected deaths of the ladies of the house? um...because he is a tree? i'm not spoiling anything here; this is detailed lovingly on the video box. if you rent horror movies to see women raped or brutalized, skip this (and skip your next 200 meals too). but if you enjoy old 70s horror films for their artifact quality, with their distinctive film stock and wide range of charms, go ahead and rent this. it will get a little boring by the end, but it's worth it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Katherine Hepburn's niece, Andy Warhol's biggest superstar, and a plot right out of Dario Argento...sounds great? It's not. Unfortunately SEEDS OF EVIL aka GARDEN OF EVIL aka THE GARDENER is extremely boring. While well mounted and with dialog that's not altogether horrendous, the movie never gets going. Katherine Houghton is a well to do American living in the tropics with her wealthy husband. She hires mysterious gardener Joe Dallesandro and soon has the most envied garden imaginable. It turns out that Dallesandro, who wears skin-tight hip-huggers and no shirt, has a history of working for employers who are now dead. We never see any of their deaths, instead we get Houghton uncovering them via phone calls and visits to the dead's survivors. For some reason, the writer/director of this botched horror film forgot to include any horror at all! Houghton is pretty good and seems to be taking the film very seriously and Dallesandro, who has virtually no lines, manages to remain as enigmatic as he's been in his Warhol/Morrisey films. Rita Gam plays Houghton's catty and ultimately unlucky jet-setting best friend.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Worth seeing for the unique, catatonic performance of Joe Dallesandro, the strange Warhol poster boy whose fascinating credits include "Black Moon", "Trash", "Heat", "Blood for Dracula" and "Flesh for Frankenstein". Joe, well cast, is The Gardener, a peculiar, often shirtless, infantile fellow who comes to work in Katherine Houghton's garden, a garden so large Joe is able to hang out in it without being seen. Although the trailers suggest a horror film, the actual horror is that there really is none. Aside from one scene of a limb being hacked, nothing horrific happens. The lighting is flat, the performances are forgettable, and the direction is awkward. A plus, however, is the film's wonderful poster art, faithfully reproduced on the new DVD cover and all old VHS's. The film's conclusion confirms The Gardener's supernatural credentials, so it is all the more disappointing that the filmmakers were too chicken to exploit the premise's potential and make a real horror film. The 'Lost in Space' episode 'Attack of the Monster Plants' is a much more memorable attempt to demonize the creatures at the bottom of our gardens.
Last night I saw this film, which missed the possibilities of developing an interesting story, with endless dialogs and bad performances. But I wouldn't put the blame on Joe Dallesandro. After all he plays a tree or something like that, so he delivers his line as plant-like as possible. He is a beautiful tree to look at, though, and I believe this is what this film is all about, including his legendary derrière. Poor Katharine Houghton tries to deliver a dramatic performance in the line of a giallo fatal heroine to no avail; James Congdon as her husband is rather boring (especially with Little Joe around), and Rita Gam is simply having a good time. I lived in Puerto Rico when this film was shot, but I did not hear anything about it being made. It was fun to watch a few theater people that were my friends, playing minor roles (Esther Mari, the cook; or Orlando Rodríguez and Janet Gómez as the couple Houghton visits).
Warhol entourage beefcake Joe Dallessandro portrays Karl, a gardener in
the employment of a wealthy but neglected housewife(Katharine Houghton,
miles downstream from her earlier success in GUESS WHO'S COMING TO
DINNER). His command of the botanical arts is impressive, but his
references are tough to check considering most of his previous
employers have died. Suspiciously.
Houghton's garden is soon the envy of her upper-crust clique, and her reserved and perpetually bare-chested gardener becomes the object of much lustful flutter among her female friends. The rest of the household staff(natives to the South American environs where this is set and filmed) are less enthusiastic about Karl's presence, and they warn their housemistress of his evil wizardry. Shrugging off this superstitious cautioning, she becomes increasingly drawn to Karl...but when people around her begin to die mysteriously, she comes to suspect a tenebrous connection to the flora cultivated by her brooding and sexually Svengali-like greenskeeper. The bizarre eventuality of this mystery is the manifestation of Karl's true nature. It seems he is...quite literally...a tree.
While THE GARDENER is a semi-creditable example of an under-the-radar horror film ethos, it's not likely to have strong appeal to the mainstream viewing integer. Sluggishly paced and lacking 'comme il faut' shocks and bloodshed, it does otherwise manage to build an obfuscous atmosphere of weblike mystique.
A mellow horror high for some, probably a harsh toke for others...5/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Where to begin? I bought this in a double feature with the cheesy but
entertaining Freakmaker, with Donald Pleasance, and wasn't expecting
too much. Even though I went into this film with very low expectations
- they weren't met. This flick plays like a housewife's fantasy with a
Fabio looking dude (Dallesandro) tending to Houghton's garden. He
spends the entire film topless while the visiting females of the area
gawk at the stud.
The movie is poorly directed - the scenes do not effectively blend with one another. The scenes seem to be cut and pasted, like a sketch show, with no continuity. And the dialog! Lord have mercy! When Houghton's husband laments to his pal at the golf course about the stud gardener at his house, his friend tells him, "as long as your garden looks fine and your wife is happy, why worry?" Yeah, his wife is happy alright! With the flowers and with the strapping hunk mulching her flowerbed.
STORY: $$ (This has an interesting plot, with a mysterious gardener who brings flowers to bloom out of season. Houghton's Hispanic maid warns her that Dallesandro might be a witch - or warlock for you perfectionists out there - but she believes her maid to be crazy. However, the back story for Dallesandro's character isn't well developed and there isn't any character building before we plunge right into the plot).
ACTING: $ (Terrible on most accounts. Rita Gam and Congdon do fine in supporting roles but the leads aren't very talented. Houghton's naive housewife character is a test in endurance. She is a poor lead. As for Dallesandro, he does little beyond flexing for the ladies. He makes Ah'nold seem like Cary Grant).
VIOLENCE: $$ (Houghton hacks Rita Gam's hand with a gardening blade when Rita is engulfed in vines. Dallesandro also gets shot and we have a semi-mutilated cat in the garden. Quite a bit a violence for what is essentially a Lifetime Channel female fantasy).
NUDITY: $$ (You get Dallesandro's bare backside on a few occasions).
Gardener is a 70s Horror Film starring Joe Dallesandro as the title
character, a gardener with evil powers. More importantly, gardener who
never wears a shirt with evil powers. Excited yet? The movie is very
pretty, filmed in Puerto Rico. Very gorgeous shots of various flowers
and our title character fill the movie. It's not very believable that
Carl - The Gardener - can manipulate the flowers to drive his employers
and friends crazy, and that's mostly because it isn't really explained.
It just happens, and they expect us to believe it because the evidence
is there. He comes, he goes, they go crazy. I want to say that this
movie was made to exploit the young actor (at least young at the time),
but he's never really explored. He has some exploitive scenes, like
when he skinny dips and seduces various female characters, but he's
really not "fleshed" out. LoL. Flesh. Our main character Ellen (played
by Katherine Hepburn's niece Katharine Houghton) gets most of the
screen time and she falls prey to Carl's powers of manipulation. The
flowers in the house start to affect her other servants, her husband,
and her best friend, who just wants to bed him. (Rita Glam, stealing
every scene she's in) I obviously wanted to watch the movie for some
eye candy, and I kinda' get it. Joe Dallesandro as Carl struts around
the movie in nothing but a pair of tight camel skin pants. We get a
butt shot and some ab shots, but nothing that I can't see on an episode
of Desperate Housewives or Weeds. Still, the acting of our two main
actresses, (playing the typical main character and main character's
horny friend that pollutes so many other films) rises above B movie
status and they take the ridiculous script so seriously that it elicits
some unnecessary laughter throughout. Worth a watch for cult movie
fans, and gay people, but don't expect too much. Just some flesh,
flowers and HORROR!!!! heheh.
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I picked this movie up in the USED section at my local Record shop and
I have to say, by the cover artwork and synopsis on the back, I was
excited to take it home and pop it in. The whole project is really
well-done in that way. But that's about it. The film was very 70's,
which for me, is a good thing. For most viewers though, this would
prove to be a cheesy example of an era that might be better off
forgotten. The music is pretty bad and so are the clothes. It's not
stylish, its like the Brady Bunch.
There is no good gore in this movie. The acting is decent and the guy who plays "The Gardener" is semi-creepy, but the plot just fails. It's not scary in the least bit and the only good scene in the film is the very last one.
I had high hopes, I really did. I wanted to like it more, and I still do. I've watched it three times now and I still fail to see how this is a horror movie. It's more like an off-beat romantic drama with a twist. If I had to compare it to something else, I'd say a mix between "Rosemary's Baby," "Play Misty for Me," and "Alice in Wonderland" (the live one) but not as good as any of those films.
4 out of 10, kids.
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