When I first heard of it, it was too good to be true.
An Ed Wood script? Shot in Japan? No way!
An american rocket scientist (James Craig in his transitional years between B-movie star and real-estate agent) needing a break from Cape Canaveral, makes his way to Japan where he takes up gardening and ends up creating a horrible puppy and peasant eating mutation (which makes the whole screen turn red when it kills).
Apparently, sometimes in the late 60s between writing seriously off-kilter adult paperbacks (Heterosexual transvestite porn? Really?) and directing shorts for Swedish Erotica, Ed made a quick sale of this script which he had originally written in the 50s. It changed hands until it found itself being shot -in english- in the Land of the Rising Sun (Some sources claim it’s Toei Studios. It’s doubtful as Toei had much better sets than what seen here. Also, one of the only dudes I will not argue anything Japanese Fantasy Cinema with, August Ragone, made enquiries into the matter during his many visits to Toei studios.
There is no record nor recollection of this shoot having taken place there.)
The director was not Ed but Kenneth G. Crane whose other credits include The Manster and Monster from Green Hell. It reportedly landed as the second feature to Horror of Blood Island, a Philipino horror film starring John Ashley.
Although it recently surfaced on a few Mill Creek compilations (those 50-movies-for-a-dollar DVD sets that pop up on Wal-Mart shelves), this movie was a hard little bugger to track down a few years back. It’s appearance on eBay had a habit of starting bidding wars that pushed the film’s price above the $100 mark.
For one thing, the title has had more changes than Ed had angora sweaters: The Devil Garden, The Double Garden, Venus Flytrap and , finally, The Revenge of Dr. X– which is usually how you’ll find the sucker listed as.
Oh, and if you’re looking for it on IMDB.com, the title is Body of the Prey. Go figure.
It’s very hard to figure out the genesis of this film as the actual credits have been lost. The one print doing the rounds since its clamshelled “video-nasty” debut sports the credits from Horror of Blood Island as well as some totally unrelated artwork.
One video company was so cheap, it even released it on 90 minute tapes- which meant the tape ran out before the movie reached the end! It serves as a testament to the awfulness of the film that no one seemed to have noticed.
This is too bad because the ending is truly a moment of intense Painjoyment™ as the scientist pathetically -and I mean pathetically- tries to lure the ridiculous man-plant into a volcano (Director Crane’s signature as death-by-lava are how menaces are dealt with in both Monster from Green Hell and The Manster) by enticing it with a goat (hence the title of this piece). Oops! Was that a spoiler? Nah! It’s how I’m going to convince you to watch this craptastic movie to the very end.
As a true Cinémasochistic pleasure, The Revenge of Dr. X’s Venus Flytrap from the Secret double Devil Garden truly doesn’t disappoint. However, one has to wonder what those who bought the 50-movie DVD sets are thinking.
Here’s the whole thing. Goat bit included.
Pain Level: 10/10
Quality of Pain: Compounded. Wood’s dialogue + Crane’s directing+ Cheeseball production values= Baaaaaaaaaaad (worse than this pun)
Painjoyment™: Maximum! Especially when you spring this one on other people.