Thursday, April 11, 2013

Drive-In Collection: The Suckers / The Love Garden

The Suckers
Director: Arthur Byrd
Vinegar Syndrome / All Region / Unrated / 1.85:1 widescreen / Mono / 80 minutes

The Love Garden 
Director: Mark Haggard
Vinegar Syndrome / All Region / Unrated / 1.37:1 fullscreen / Mono / 70 minutes


The story of Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game"–written in the mid-1920–has been done and redone many times on film but I venture to say never like filmmaker Arthur Byrd's (aka Stu Segall who went on to be pretty successful in TV) The Suckers. The film takes the basic premise of rich guy hunting humans as big game and inserts rape and lots of sex! My favorite line from the movie that tells you everything you need to know about the plot is delivered by the rich guy as he is explaining that the models and owner of the model agency are going to be his prey, "Rape and slaughter go hand-in-hand when one is hunting human beings." And rape and slaughter he–along with his two henchmen–do. But to make it more fair, he also kidnaps an ex-Green Beret to be on the models' side and be more of a challenge for him.

The movie is a fantastic action/adventure/sexploitation flick that was a hoot to watch. The first 50 minutes of the 80 minute movie sets up the hunt where all of the violence happens, but not all of the action. The arousing action–including a lesbian bubble bath–is very explicit without being hardcore. Lots of sexy stroking and nipple sucking actually make the sex scenes hot, well, except for the fact that the dudes in the scenes were kinda heinous looking. And once the cheesy fight and shooting scenes start, you will be ready to shoot your... uh, load!

The second feature on the DVD is much less exciting and definitely should be the "B-movie" of the two. The Love Garden involves a guy living in an apartment building; he notices a hot, young thing laying by the pool and takes notice. After stalking her for a little while, he finds out that she's living with her female lover and this just makes him want her even more. So he convinces her to work for him typing out his longhand notes (he's a writer) so he can be close to her. Of course, like every romantic melodrama, there forms a love triangle where someone is going to lose out. And that is my problem with The Love Garden; it's a slow, boring, romantic (albeit cheesy) bathos. It takes 26 minutes to get through the talking, you get a pretty good lesbian scene, then another 25 minutes until he gets his turn with her. The girls are hot in a cute '70s sort of way, so their sex scene is pretty steamy but the dude is super creepy looking with his giant 'fro, huge mutton-chop sideburns and creep-o eyes. He's also the ghoulish-sounding narrator of the whole film.

Where The Suckers got me up in every way (*WINK WINK*), The Love Garden shot me right back down. When you buy this DVD (and you should for the first feature), fast-forward to about minute 26 and check out the girl-on-girl. Neither of the films seemed to have been cleaned up or remastered in any way since they both contain significant film damage throughout. It's definitely watchable and really just adds to the retro double-feature feel. The audio track for The Suckers is just okay but The Love Garden's is actually pretty bad. It's very muffled and at some points inaudible and the horrific overdubbing doesn't help, but it is funny at times. It's a bare-bones DVD release with no extras or inserts but at the decent two movie price-point, it's definitely worth picking up.

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