AUGUST 14, 2007
Well it had to happen sooner or later… Ladies and Gentlemen, an Ed Wood movie!
Technically. Revenge Of Dr. X not REALLY one of his, as it was merely written by the lad and directed by someone slightly more competent. But the title makes up for it. You see kids, the name of this movie is actually The Double Garden, or sometimes Venus Flytrap. But for whatever reason, the credits on the film (which are presented out of order and timed erratically) are from another movie all together. But really, would you expect any less from the unholy alliance of Ed Wood and Mill Creek? It’s amazing there’s anything on the disc at all.
So for obvious reasons, there’s no Doctor X, nor is there any Revenge. I'm not even sure if there's an “Of”. But I can’t understand why the description basically gives away the climax of the film. The Creek includes this in their synopsis: “Using radical techniques and falling into madness, the scientist eventually (note – that’s a key word: EVENTUALLY) creates a plant creature that feeds on flesh and blood, which then sets off to find food in the form of the people of a nearby community.” It’s a flurry of prepositional phrases that describes something that occurs far past the halfway mark of the film. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: anything that occurs past the halfway mark should NOT be included in the synopsis. But this is a new benchmark in what I call “Capritis”*, as the plant doesn’t even come alive until past the two-thirds mark and doesn’t “set off” until the final reel.
Until then, we are stuck with our hero, a man so grouchy looking and just plain assholish that he makes Walter Matthau look like Santa Claus. The film begins with him literally yelling at clouds, only to then order a shuttle launch based on the assumption that the wind will continue blowing in a favorable direction (good to know they leave it up to chance). He then spends 5 minutes or so screaming and yelling at two guys who made a miscalculation (we never even know the nature of the error, for all we know they just split the lunch check wrong). Thus, he is ordered to go to Japan to ‘relax’, but he pretty much yells at everyone there too. In his least charming moment, when the plant has come to life, he orders his assistant to get him some chickens and goats to feed it. Then he grabs a small puppy and goes “In the meantime…”, fully prepared to toss the poor thing into the monster’s claws. Our hero.
I’m not sure if Ed Wood could have done a better job directing the film either. Kenneth Crane emulates him well, with stock footage, confusing editing, and the occasional image like this:
There’s also an endless scene of the two leads driving around a mountain, with lots of shots seemingly taken from a camera loosely strapped to the roof. All set to what could best be described as Japanese circus music.
Still, I can’t call the movie crap, because the design of the plant is just so goddamn amazing I wanted to kiss my monitor:
That’s pretty much exactly what I imagine the baby would look like if all of the Super Mario Bros 2 enemies gang-raped a radish.
What say you?
*So named for Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life, a film everyone will describe as being about a guy who sees what life would be like without him, an event that occurs in the film’s final act. It’s really about how you shouldn’t trust fat men with your money if they’re finished reading their newspaper.