Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Garden of the Dead|
Actors: Philip Kenneally, Duncan McLeod, John Dullaghan, John Dennis, Susan Charney
Director: John Hayes
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
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Erich Hoelter | Eau Claire, Wisconsin United States | 06/17/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Any zombie movie I find is snatched up, and this is no exception. Its not old enough to be like "Plague of the Zombies," "I Eat Your Skin," and others where all the zombies do is manual labor, but its not quite new enough to be your Fulci zombies, either. The zombies ARE violent, but too fast and "smart" to be a classic Fulci movie. However, it is still a good movie for the Horror/Zombie movie fan."
J. Kramer | Bronx/Queens , NY | 06/22/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Dont buy , put your money toward something else good. This movie is truly horrible."
The Garden Hoe Horror...
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 05/28/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Every once in awhile, I purchase a movie with absolutely no prior knowledge of the film, not even reading the various reviews that may be posted here. Sometimes I find an unpolished gem, and sometimes I find a road apple...the latter being the case with Garden of the Dead (1972). Directed by John Hayes, who's other credits include The Farmer's Other Daughter (1965), Sweet Trash (1970), All the Lovin' Kinfolk (1970), and Jailbait Babysitter (1978), Garden of the Dead is a no budget zombie movie that failed to evoke nary a scare or a chill in this viewer.
The film takes place in Camp Hoover, a prison/work camp located somewhere in Colorado, or at least that's what the crude sign sez...we see convicts rolling 55 gallon barrels onto a flatbed truck, and based on the stenciled printing on the side of the drums, they all contain formaldehyde. We quickly learn the camp produces the foul smelling stuff, and also that the camp is about to be closed down, with the prisoners and guards to be relocated to different prisons, while the warden will be let go, as, apparently, his style of running things doesn't fit in with the department of corrections idea of how things should be done. I think the thing is the warden is `old school', and the department of corrections, being the progressive institution that they are, is looking towards the future. Anyway, this figures little into the plot of the film, so I am unsure why they wasted time with this point. Anyway, we soon get to hang with the prisoners, as they enjoy a midday break/meal. This prompts a number of prisoners to converge on the formaldehyde distiller, to which they begin huffing the vapors. No, really, they seem to be getting a high off the stuff, and this was pretty funny to watch. The prison guards don't seem to notice the men's absence, which I thought was a little strange as there's about 20 inmates in the prison camp, and about eight of them were hiding behind the shack-like structure housing the distiller. After getting their fill of the vapors, they move a tank next to the structure, which reveals a hole, one that leads to a tunnel. Seems the prisoners have been digging said tunnel in hopes of using it to escape. Later that night, while the prisoners are in the barracks, they begin their escape. I guess they completed the tunnel, and now their plan is to kill a guard, get his gun, follow the tunnel out to a vehicle depot and steal a flatbed truck to aid in their getaway. Everything goes well, that is until the prisoner with the stolen shotgun from the now deceased prison guard trips and fires the shotgun, alerting the other, still-living guards. Well, the jig is up, so to speak, but the escapees proceed with their plans. They pile onto the back of the flatbed, and are soon being pursued by the warden and the guards. The pursuers quickly catch up to the slow flatbed truck, and begin to open fire on the escapees. The truck crashes, and the warden and the guards proceed to shoot all the escape convicts. On returning to the camp, the warden punishes the remaining prisoners for not relating the escape plan, thusly allowing the death of the guard. He the locks these guys up in a makeshift stockade, and tells them that the dead escaped convicts will all be buried in shallow graves. Cut to a scene of the burying of the dead prisoners. Now here's something I didn't know, but apparently inhaling large amounts of formaldehyde vapors causes zombification shortly after the death of the inhaler. As the dead prisoners begin to rise from their graves, they decide the living must die. I guess it's a whole `revenge/the dead hate the living' motif...whatever...soon the once prisoners/now zombies break into the tool locker on the prison truck, steal various garden implements (See the horror of the hoe! See the terror of the trowel! See the barbarity of the bulb planter! Okay, it doesn't always work...) Once the zombies arm, no pun intended, themselves, they begin to make their way back to the prisoner, and the real horror begins...sort of...
Okay, there are zombies in this film, but there is absolutely no consuming of living flesh by these creatures. They basically run around killing various members, mostly prison guards, with axes, hoes, whatever. We really don't get to see any of this clearly, as the last ¾ of the movie takes place at night, and the lighting is poor. The zombies don't actually look half bad, but the level of decomposition displayed through the liberal use of makeup surely doesn't relay the fact that all these men are of the recently deceased. No real scares or horror to be had here, but the one thing I did appreciate was that the makers of the film decided to stick with a short running time (58 minutes), rather than pad out the story with loads of filler and/or stock footage. As far as the actors go, well, there was one recognizable face in character actor Carmen Filpi, whose latter roles mostly consisted of winos, hoboes, and old codgers in general, appearing in films like Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), Wayne's World (1992), and The Wedding Singer (1998), to name a few.
Retromedia Entertainment provides a print of fairly funky quality here, but it is watchable. Special features include an intro bit by Son of Ghoul, a semi-famous creature feature host from Akron, Ohio. Also included is a theatrical trailer for another film titled Grave of the Vampire (1972), a film that was also directed by John Hayes, the same man who directed this film. I guess if I learned anything from this film, it's that formaldehyde, while not only being highly addictive, can actually bring the dead back to life...sort of...whatever...
Formaldehyde junkie zombies in a no-budget disaster of a fil
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 07/26/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Garden of the Dead is the epitome of incredibly low budget drive-thru horror cinema; this film is truly awful, which means I freaking loved it. If you're going to make a stupid movie, I say go all the way, and that is exactly what these guys did (well, except for the nonexistent gore). Of course, you can only do so much with a budget that consists of whatever money you could find in your pants pockets and between the cushions of your couch. (There's only one police car to be seen, and the convicts' numbers are handwritten on their shirts.) Is Garden of the Dead scary? Of course not. Zombies aren't scary to begin with, and who expects to be scared by a 1970s trailer park trash movie, anyway?
The story takes place at one of America's numerous formaldehyde-producing prison camps, somewhere in the middle of nowhere. The warden dresses all in black (even wearing his black gloves to bed) and talks tough, but security is so lax that a bunch of the convicts have plenty of time to sniff tons of formaldehyde vapors and dig an escape tunnel for themselves. Having rotted their brains of whatever smarts they might have had to begin with, the escapees quickly find themselves shot down and planted in shallow graves - but they don't stay there for long. After all, there's more formaldehyde to be had back at the camp. Along the way back, they scare the bejesus out of one "good" prisoner's reasonably hot girlfriend, but all of the axe-wielding, shotgun-blasting action is back at the prison camp. Is it fierce and exciting? No. Is it fun to watch? Absolutely.
You have to love these formaldehyde junky zombies. The whole lot of them can't figure out how to get inside an RV, yet the first thing they do back at the prison camp is to cut the power and phone lines. And get this! Not only is Garden of the Dead loads of fun to watch, it's also educational. Here's just one lesson I learned from watching this film: if you're the clumsy convict who tripped and fired the shot that alerted the guards to your gang's great escape, don't hand the group's only gun over to your buddies when you finally catch up to them.
I do need to inform you that this film lasts only 58 minutes. In this case, though, a short running time is probably a good thing - since the print is so dark and dirty, and formaldehyde junkie zombie action is best taken in measured doses. Here's the bottom line: if you love really stupid, low-budget 70s drive-in horror films, you'll enjoy Garden of the Dead; if you don't, you'll want to shoot yourself in the head about fifteen minutes into the action."