This is actually more of a movie warning than a movie review. For the proverbial love of god, no matter how dark times may seem or how self-abusive you might be feeling, DO NOT watch Evil Lives or Garden of Evil.
I remember it like it was yesterday…because, well, it was. PULP mastermind Ash and myself had a free evening, and what better way to spend it, we thought, than watching a couple of DVDs. We contemplated the latest Lou Diamond Phillips stalker masterpiece, or maybe MVP (a skating monkey!), but ended up settling on two movies with "evil" in their titles. Evil had never lead us astray before in our motion picture watching (Evil Dead, Evil Dead II) or in real life. It seemed like a safe and logical bet. Boy oh boy were we wrong. Admittedly, I've already started to erase the evening from my mind much like an abused red-headed step-child blanking out memories of his childhood…but they went a lil' something like this:
So there's this Australian Stephen King writer guy who's some kind of immortal demon vampire. His one true love is a ghost. In order to be together, he has to kill women so that she can posses their soulless corpses. But the problem is, the bodies don't last very long. Hence he has to kill a woman every day or two. I don't know, that seems like a hell of a lot of work to me. Plus the fact that the demon girl that the poor mass murdering guy is doing all of this work for is very demanding and prone to angered bouts of jealousy…well, it doesn't seem the healthiest of relationships. I really think he could do better. The hero of the movie is American silver medallist figure skating cry-baby Nancy Kerrigan. OK, it's not REALLY her, but they bear a striking resemblance. Supposedly, Heavy Metal magazine/bad movie icon Julie Strain was also in the movie, but I didn't see her. Like I said, I've repressed much of the evening. There's a truckload of gratuitous nudity in the midst of this "movie", which is usually a plus. But even that cannot save this train-wreck from its overwhelming stench and awfulness. The creative vision behind it all, director Thunder Levin (an Alan Smithee-esque pseudonym to hide a person's shame and embarrassment if I've ever heard one) helms the movie. And in a similar vein, the movie has two other titles: Blood Love & Soulmates. Some kind of witness relocation type thing I guess…changing the name of the movie to protect the innocent. I don't know. I don't care.
Garden of Evil
Next up in the double-bill is a movie about a gardener gone bad. Ooohhh…scary. Malcom McDowell (best known as that Clockwork Orange guy who killed Captain Kirk) stars as said gardener. And, in the strangest reasoning for horror movie villainy ever, the reason that he's mad at the world is that he's got that disease that makes you get old really quick (like Robin Williams in Francis Ford Coppola's classic film Jack). He's also got some parental issues with his mother (like that there Psycho movie starring Vince "Swingers" Vaughn and Anne "changed my mind again" Heche). So he takes solace in gardening. What, you say, that doesn't sound so bad? So the guy likes planting flowers…everyone needs a hobby. But, what if I told you that these fancy-shmancy flowers were made from (dramatic pause) WOMEN!!! That's right. Don't think he's such a nice guy anymore now do you? Everything's going along fine for our murdering botanist friend, until a lady cop disappears and he gets onto the cops' shortlist of suspects. The police officers include Angie Everheart (who in my humble opinion is attractive enough to be in real movies), Richard "I was on 21 Jumpstreet…how come I ain't all famous like that Johnny Depp bastard" Grieco, and a guy who kind of looked like the lead singer of Cake. The only real highlight of the movie for me was an appearance from former Mighty Morphin' Power Ranger, Zack. And, well, with all due respects to Zack…when he's the highlight of a movie, you know that things have gone horribly horribly wrong. A Mr. James Hickox directed this little ditty. After looking him up on IMDb.com, I've come the conclusion that the highlight of his career was when he was apprentice editor on Masters of the Universe. And strangely enough, this movie too has multiple titles: Silent Screams & The Gardener. On numerous occasions it made Ash loudly wish that he were dead.
There you go folks. I have thrown myself in front of not one, but two bullets so you can go on living full and happy lives. Take this Ebola/mad-cow-disease-like warning in all seriousness. If you ever find yourself standing in the video store with either of these movies in hand, drop it and run. Spend your evening banging your head against the wall or pulling out your fingernails instead. Either of those options would be much more entertaining and much less painful.