The Garden of Evil (1998) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

aka The Gardener, aka Silent Screams. 

Two thumbs down, for a bad film that showed some promise but failed to deliver.

Scoop's notes in white:

This is pretty much of a Vincent Price movie, updated to the 90's, with Malcolm McDowell in the Price role.

Angie Everhart plays a police detective whose partner disappeared one weekend. They found the missing partner's car parked outside of a private botanical garden with a retail outlet. Turns out that the gardener is a very strange fellow with one of those accelerated aging syndromes, a 35 year old genius who appears to be 65. Angie is convinced that he is responsible for her partner's disappearance, but she can't prove anything, and her captain is really upset that she is harassing a sweet little old florist who only wants to bring beauty in the world with his prize-winning flowers. 


Angie Everhart is naked underneath a bunch of flowers, with the flowers covering all the fun stuff.

Sara Peterson is bound in the same flower bed gimmick as Angie, but her breasts are almost completely uncovered.

Of course, Angie takes a leave of absence so she can harass the man on her own time, but the brilliant fellow senses what she is up to, and leads her through all sorts of misleading trails. In fact, he finally gets Angie in his confidence long enough to drug her and kidnap her. Once she is in his underground lair, she's strapped up in a flower bed, in which Malcolm plans to use her for mulch or something, so she can be reborn as a flower. Turn out that's what he did with the partner, a woman named Iris who is now a prize winning iris. How convenient. Are you picking up the whole Vincent Price vibe here? If you've been following closely, you'll see that this is the same movie as The House of Wax, except the sculptures are made of flowers instead of wax.

Meanwhile, Angie's captain got back a DNA test which shows that the missing girl's hair was in the florist's sink, so he heads down to the florist's garden in time to save Angie. Yadda, yadda. Of course, if Angie had waited about two hours for the lab report before socializing with the guy, she could simply have arrested him uneventfully, but then there would have been no movie. 

Also, the lab reports came back in the dead of the night, and Grieco was still at his desk. I can buy that he's a workholic, and would still be at his desk, but what's the deal on the lab boys?

It's mostly a grade-b straight-to-vid, saved only by some all too infrequent humor, and an oddly beautiful sense of cinematography, which takes advantage of the beauty of the flowers.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • no widescreen version

  • no significant features

Sorry to see Malcolm McDowell fallen to a depth where he co-stars with Angie and Richard Grieco.

Grieco is cast very strangely here, by the way. I think he can be OK when he's cast as some kind of psycho or lowlife. But here he plays the police lieutenant, and he's scarier than any of the criminals. With his usual spiky haircut, shifty eyes, and Elvis sideburns, he makes one of the oddest policemen ever seen on screen, and every simple action he takes seems to be laden with sleaze, implying that he's corrupt and evil. I actually thought it would turn out that McDowell was innocent and Grieco would turn out to be the killer! Since it did not turn out that way, since there was no hidden evil in his machinations, one wonders why he was cast in this role. 


The plot involves Malcolm McDowell as a highly intelligent man with a rapid aging disorder who has turned to gardening to create beauty. Angie Everhart is a tough police detective whose partner (Sarah Peterson), disappears. Everhart becomes convinced that McDowell had something to do with the disappearance. McDowell is renowned for his green thumb, and will not reveal any secrets. Up to this point, the plot is not doomed.

Everhart stakes out McDowell. First huge mistake. She hasn't really been given much of a character to work with anyway, and minute after minute of her talking into her tape recorder while seeing nothing useful is not entertaining.

There are no other suspects, and what McDowell was up to in his demented but brilliant mind was never well explained. 

I could write the entire film off easily, except that coupling the beauty of flowers and women made for great symbolism and wonderful imagery. More development of both the McDowell and the Everhart characters might have turned this into an interesting yarn. McDowell is certainly capable of doing more with a part, and there is a rumor that Everhart can act if given a real role and direction.

Garden of Evil is decidedly a terrible horror film. The 3.0 rating at IMDB may, in fact, be a little high. There really is nothing here.

But with a little effort, there might have been.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: no reviews online

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 3.0
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a D (Scoop) to D- (Tuna).

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