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Where a Fertile Mind Becomes Insane

Cast
| Classic Lines | DVD | Formats | Notes | Pictures | Quotes | Soundtrack | Summary - Official | My Summary | My Review | Taglines

Cast

Character Actor
Ben Carter Malcolm McDowell
Kelly Jones Angie Everhart
Dean Richard Grieco
Mrs. Carter Olivia Hussey
Joe Kelly Nelson 
Iris Sara Peterson
Betsy Kim Morgan Green
Dr. Nels Frankle Roger Clinton
Larry/Hippy Justin Carroll
Jake Andrew Heclker
Chuck James D.R. Hickox
Mrs. Swenson Pamela Belwood
Dave Danny Nieman
Little Girl Marina Malota
Del Anthony Hickox
Customer Amsa Horton
Hippy Girl Laura Katz
Clerk Alexander Martin
Punk Walter Emanuel Jones
Reporter #1 Nicholas Gunn
Reporter #2 Louahn Lower
Female Patron Sarah Dalton
Male Patron Rand Kingsley
Teacher Luisa Abernathy
Hotel Attendant Eddie Ebell
Waiter Adamo Palladino
Admirer Simone Gad
Flower Shop Reporter Robert Knoop
Singer Christianne Miranda
Bartender Aaron Kuhe

Directed by James D.R. Hickox
Written by Joseph Gunn

Classic Lines

"What are you doing! You mutilated the flower. They feel pain, real pain. It is more sensitive than most human beings."
"I kinda led you down the garden path on that one, didn't I?"

DVD

US Version by Two Left Shoes has no chapters or trailer. It has trailers for "Point of Doom", "Traiter's Heart" and "Last Stand".
Canadian Version by TVA has the trailer and scene selection.

Canada UK
1. In Ben's Garden 1. Opening Titles
2. The Sting 2. Drug Bust
3. A Special Gift 3. I'm the Gardener
4. No Trace of Iris 4. Iris!?!
5. The Search 5. Chat Up Line
6. Deceitful Moments 6. Press Conference
7. Bargaining Chip 7. My Life's Work
8. Watchful Eyes 8. Suspicion
9. Benefit of Doubt 9. High School
10. Dim Rose Petals 10. Reunion
11. The Chase 11. Dinner
12. Credits 12. Lab Tests
  13. Search
  14. Stakeout
  15. Nightmare
  16. Rescue
  17. Drugged
  18. The Next Victim?
  19. Escape
  20. End Credits

Formats

VHS - NTSC + PAL / DVD R1 (US + Canadian Versions) / R2

Notes

Pictures

DVD R2 Cover - Front
DVD R2 Cover - Back

DVD R2 Insert 1

DVD R2 Insert 2

Quotes

"Malcolm kept trying to make me laugh and break me up when I was rehearsing with him and filming. I thought he was really funny! He didn't do it as he was filming though". Simone Gad

Soundtrack

"Saratoga"
Written by Eric Winstone
"Bombed Out"
Written by Julian Elkan/Graeme Pleeth
Produced by Graeme Pleeth
"Drug Chase"
Written by Will Johnstone
Produced by Graeme Pleeth
"Night Skool"
Written by Julian Elkan/Graeme Pleeth
Produced by Graeme Pleeth
"Step into my Garden"
Written and Performed by Christianne Miranda
Produced by Graeme Pleeth

Summary - Official

UK

    When her detective partner vanishes, Kelly discovers that her friend is yet another in a long line of previously unconnected missing women. During her quest for the truth, Kelly interviews Ben, a botanical genius and a lonely misfit in normal society. As she delves deeper into Ben's past, she unravels a sinister and complicated history. Ben slowly draws her into his terrifying and evil game by giving her clues to his deadly fertilizer recipe that is the secret behind his prize winning plant.

US

    When her beautiful partner mysteriously disappears, Detective Kelly Jones, (Angie Everhart) traces her to the Garden of Eden Nursery. There she meets the master gardener (Malcolm McDowell) who is elegant, brilliant and deliciously sinister. Everyone thinks she's crazy to hunt for evil in such a peaceful place, but horticultural horror await for those brave enough to dig beneath the surface. Golden Globe Award winners Olivia Hussey and Richard Grieco also star in this incredible unearthing of a madman's mind.

My Summary

   The credits role with a moth flying by, getting trapped in a spider web and the spider eating it. Old time big band music plays as we see Ben the old gardener dancing, watering and talking to his plants in a huge botanical garden. A dog, Buddy, has gotten into the garden and a little girl is trying to get to him. Ben spots the dog and goes to get it. We hear a yipe and it seems like he killed it.
    A rookie Los Angeles cop, Iris, is getting her bra wired by her partner Kelly in the Lieutenants office. When they come out all the men in the precinct are cheering them on like they had sex in there. Iris goes in alone undercover for a drug buy/bust at a hotel. Kelly, Joe and the others are in the room next door listening in. Lt. Dean doesn't want anything to screw up and is not happy about what is playing out. Three drug dealers show up in a car and two go up to the room which wasn't supposed to happen. Iris hides a briefcase of money under the bed and lets the deal play out. Chuck checks the place out, but they don't have the coke with them. She takes he money out and they plan on ripping her off. One guy goes out the door with the money and Kelly takes him out. She and Joe then break in the door and shoot the guy in the head.
    The driver takes off and Kelly jumps down from the balcony and goes after him firing into the windshield, but he is able to fire back and escape. The whole team goes to a bar afterwards to get drunk since the bust went bad. Iris was scared and doesn't think she can do it anymore. Kelly says she can do it again. Iris says she has completely forgotten that her boyfriend David's birthday is tomorrow and she didn't get him anything. Kelly tells her to take the weekend off and get Dave some flowers. Kelly tells her she is too burnt out for a relationship right now. Dean shows up and chews Kelly out about the deal and wants the paperwork on his desk first thing.
    Iris goes to the Garden of Eden Nursery for flowers like Kelly suggested. A young black punk eyes her up from nearby as Ben works the mulcher inside. She tells Ben about the flowers and they go inside.
    Back at the police station no one has seen Iris and Dean says Jake Marshall is the brother of the dope dealer she killed. He says she better get him before he comes after her and to find Iris and get him the paperwork.
    Kelly goes to Iris' house, but she isn't there. She breaks in as a stoner couple is walking by looking for their dog Doobs. The hippy tells her not to break in since a cop lives there, when she flashes her badge they take off. Iris isn't home, but the only indication of anything is the flowers on the table and a piece of paper with the Garden of Eden phone number on it. She plays the messages and hears David was looking for her so she heads off to the nursery.
    Kelly arrives at the garden and finds Iris' jeep parked in the lot. She goes to a newsstand nearby and a horny black punk is whistles at her. She shows a picture of Iris to the clerk, but he doesn't recognize her. The punk remembers her of course describing her as a "tight ass and little titties". He comes on to Kelly and she tells him to unzip his fly. He does and she sticks a gun in his crotch and pulls the trigger on him. He pisses his pants, but the gun isn't loaded.
    Kelly goes up to the nursery and runs into the little girl there. She tells Kelly the gardener killed her dog. She tries to get in, but the place is closed. She doesn't know Ben is working away in the basement.
    She goes to see Iris' boyfriend Dave at his job which requires him to dress up as a clown and takes pictures in odd settings in a gallery. Dave hasn't seen her and doesn't seem to care and instead flirts with Kelly which disgusts her.
    Kelly returns to the precinct at night and tells Dean that she couldn't find Iris anywhere and explains everything she has seen. Dean isn't impressed because she has no evidence of foul play. He wants her to find the dealer if she can't find her partner.
    The next day Ben is giving an interview for the leading botanical magazine. There is a group of people who are extremely impressed with his work and want to know the secret of his "Women in Spirits" collection. He won't give up his secrets or sell them when the male patron offers him $20,000. He explains that his project is a search for purity. Kelly arrives and overhears all of this. Ben leaves the reporters to talk to her. She doesn't explain that she is a cop, but asks him about Iris. He says he saw her last week and she placed an order, but never came back. He says he has been on vacation for the last five days so he doesn't know if she has come back.
    He takes her around the garden and she is impressed. He shows her the inner sanctum which is his lifes' work. He shows her the flowers he calls 'Woman in Flame' and 'Lady of the Ocean.' He asks what her first impression of the area is. She says very peaceful and he is glad she understands and seems a bit taken with her. Everything goes well until she inexplicably picks a flower to smell it and he freaks out on her.
    Kelly returns to the station to starts investigating disappearances and finds there are five missing women in the area. Joe is there and offers her help. She says to do a rundown on Ben and he agrees. The next day Kelly tells Dean about the five missing girls in the last two years and tries to convince him that they are all missing in the vicinity of the Garden of Eden. He doesn't buy it because she has no evidence of anything. Joe comes back with a run down of Ben and the strange thing is his information comes back to show he is 35 years old, not 60 like he looks.
    Kelly goes to see Ben's old college plant physiology teacher to find out everything about him. She tells Kelly that Ben was her best student ever and explains he was obsessed with work and struggled. He had no friends or girlfriends and lived with his mother, but she didn't think it was his mother. He eventually dropped out right before graduation because he had nothing more to learn.
    Kelly goes to to see Ben's mother, but she hasn't seen him in 13 years. She explains that Ben has an accelerated growth disorder that makes him age two to four times as fast as normal. Kelly asks if there is anything she should know about Ben. She explains she isn't Ben's real mother, but is his aunt. His mother died when he was six. She tells about a girl he loved named Betsy because he thought she was pure and perfect. In a flashback we see them on a field trip one day and Betsy went off with another boy, Danny, to have sex in the woods. Ben follows kicking and beating the boy on the head with a rock because he  thinks Danny is raping her. She tells him it was love and that he killed her. He tells her he loves her, but she isn't interested and calls him a freak. He yells her he hates her and leaves. The boy didn't die and Ben was released when the family agreed to pay for his medical expenses.
    He was cleared of all charges and finished high school privately. Kelly wants to know if he will get violent again. Mrs. Carter gets angry over this and says he has paid his dues. She hasn't seen him again because he is mad for her lying to him that women could be beautiful and pure. He says he can never love again until he finds someone like that.
    Kelly finds Betsy because she is on file for trying to pass a bad check. She wants her to go out with Ben again to see want happens. Betsy wants nothing to do with it and knows she'll get out of jail in six months. Kelly tells her she'll push for five years if she doesn't. Betsy decides to cut a deal for probation.
    Betsy is wired and goes to see Ben, but nothing happens. She orders some plants for her boyfriend to be delivered to her hotel. She doesn't introduce herself and isn't even sure if he recognized her. 
    Kelly waits at the hotel room and has Betsy get into something skimpy for when Ben delivers the flowers. Instead he has the bellboy deliver them. There is a note saying it was good to see her again. He did recognize her, but didn't care. Betsy wants out since she lived up to her part of the bargain. Kelly says no until she gets him.
    Betsy invites Ben out for dinner the next next night, but he isn't interested her. He says he has found someone. Meanwhile Kelly breaks into the nursery so she can take soil samples from the plants in the inner sanctum.
    She takes the samples back to Del to do tests in the police lab. He finds animal and human feces, a red fingernail and type A blood which matches Iris's. This allows her to gets a search warrant for the nursery. The police tear the whole place up and when Kelly shows up Ben realizes that she isn't pure like he thought, but she is cop. The dogs lock onto a scent, but it turns out only to be a dead rat. Dean now wants nothing to do with the harassment of Ben and orders Kelly after the escaped drug dealer. She tells him she wants a vacation and he grants it, but gives her a special phone to call him in case of trouble, because he knows what she is up to. Ben meanwhile is left alone to clean up the mess made by the police.
    Kelly sets up a stakeout in an apartment across from the nursery and watches Bens' every move  night and day. She has all kinds of cameras, binoculars, recorders and night vision equipment.  Nothing out of the ordinary happens and she finds herself getting attracted to him because of his dedication to his work. Ben works, meditates and screws with Kelly's mind because he knows she is watching him. Kelly starts to lose it from sleep depravation and during the fourth night she dreams Iris comes to the stakeout and is OK. Then she gets attacked and eaten by a giant plant. She wakes up that night only to see Ben suddenly leaving in his van. She races down to follow him where he eventually dumps a big bag of trash in a dumpster and walks away. She jumps in the dumpster and finds out the trash is just plants. Someone then punches her in the face and goes to kill her. It is the brother of the dead drug dealer.
    He pulls out two guns to finish her off, but is hit in the side of the head with a brick by Ben. He tells her she must've been interested in what he was throwing out and she realizes what a fool she is. He tells her that he is just smarter than her. She is thankful and Ben then invites her to a plant show where he is exhibiting in a few days and she accepts then cuffs the suspect.
    Back home she showers and goes to read a book when she notices a man down on the street, but he is gone a minute later. Ben goes home and feeds his prize winning Iris, now a couple feet tall. Kelly goes to sleep and has a nightmare where huge vines have her tied to the bed and pull her down where she is eaten by a flower.
    Ben talks to reporters as Kelly arrives at the plant show in a yellow dress decorated with flowers. He tells her how lovely it is to see her and that he was almost done and to see him out back. She agrees. Afterwards she says goodbye and his van doesn't start, so she gives him a ride back to the nursery.
    He shows her in and serves her tea that is drugged. They talk and she questions him about his sex life, but he tells her she has been told lies about him. She realizes she is drugged, but it is too late. She wakes up and is tied naked to a table covered from head to toe in flower petals. She shakes her earring off onto her shoulder and picks it up with her mouth and spits it to her hand. When Ben returns he tells her how he'll make her pure as he was born to do because he was appointed by god. She cries for Iris and Ben explains he gave Iris eternal life as well as preserving her beauty and purity. He goes into how he killed her and made her into his special fertilizer. Ben then shows her a surprise. He opens a locker and shows Kelly that Betsy is frozen in there holding Kelly's phone and gun. He then leaves to get his weapon and she eventually picks the lock. 
    Meanwhile the lab tests have come in and Dean learns the DNA in Ben's dirt came back to Iris. When he swings down to give her the killing blow she stops his hand and kicks him in the face. She is able to pick the last lock as he is recovering and grabs a large piece of plastic sheeting to cover her body and takes off. She asks where she is and he tells her he has taken her down into an old bomb shelter beneath the nursery. He used the dead rat to throw the police off from finding it. He swings at her, but she blocks it and runs off.
    It is a maze of tunnels that are getting smaller and there isn't much light. She is starting to freak out, but keeps moving as he chases her. He catches up to her and she hits him in the stomach. She eventually finds her way upstairs, but the greenhouse is locked. She finds one of his old coats and switches it for the sheeting and has to hide under the plants.
    He figures out where she is when he hears her wailing and goes in and turns the light on. She is able to break the light with a rock. Just as he gets close to her Dean and Joe show up at the front gate. Joe climbs over and then goes to let Dean in, but Ben arrives to deal with them. He kills Joe and then opens the gate and smashes Dean. He goes back to finish Kelly off when she comes out screaming. She goes back in again and hides, but Ben catches her. She breaks through a window, but Ben catches her and starts to put her in the mulcher. Before he can kill her he is shot twice. Dean did not die and Ben's arm gets caught and he goes into the mulcher. She goes over to Dean and breaks down crying.
    The police are called in and take Dean away, he is going to make it. He tells her the DNA results came in and he knew she would be there. She goes back in to Ben's inner sanctum to see Iris one last time. Then all the plants turn into women's faces and start screaming for her to help them. She collapses to the ground in the shape of a rose petal. The End.

My Review

    Let's face it, this is just a low budget horror flick wrapped in a bit of a police drama with a little suspense thrown in for good measure. That being said, this isn't a typical slasher flick. It is well done and quite a bit of fun. This is definitely Malcolm's movie and he has a ton of screen time. It is supposed to be somewhat of a vehicle for Angie Everhart, but it isn't moving her onto anything more than something softcore.
    Angie was OK, but not too believable as a cop. Plus she cut her famous red hair short and it makes her character seem more like an angry lesbian than anything else, so I doubt she won any new fans with this role. Those looking for her to be sexy or appear in some nude scenes are going to be very disappointed as you will get neither. She generally plays the role totally pissed off most of the time and we don't know why. After she is captured she almost reverts to a little girl - very scared and crying all the time - certainly not how a trained cop would act. Her partner was supposed to be the rookie, but handled herself much more professionally.
    Richard Grieco is way over the top here and not in a good way. He is the super angry police lieutenant. Just like Angie, we have no idea why his character is like that. He is totally unlikable and annoying. I can't imagine why he took the role except to annoy people. 
    Olivia Hussey plays Ben's aunt and fills in all the details of his past in one scene. There is nothing else for her to do here. She rounds out the four big name stars of the show. Lots of talent for such a minor low budget film.
    The other characters are pretty minor and don't add much of anything to the story.  It could've been much more interesting if it was just Kelly vs. Ben, something out of Rear Window with him watching her.
    The whole opening scene of the big drug bust didn't add anything to the story and I didn't see what the point of having it was. It was poorly done especially compared to how it was done right on Miami Vice almost 20 years ago. Iris has a suitcase with the money in it - all cheap and messy. Not a nice attaché chase with all the stacks of bills in a row.
    Originally the film was called "The Gardener" which is a much better title. By calling it "The Garden of Evil" we know before we even watch the film that something is wrong there. No matter how much they try to convince us otherwise - we know Ben is the bad guy because of the title. The escaped drug dealer was a complete throwaway. It would've worked a bit better if they made it look like he was responsible for her partners death. Mix it up a bit, make us guess.
    There are some CGI effects in Kelly's dream sequences and at the end. Today these look very cheap, but aren't too bad. It would've been nice if it were possible to clean them up on the DVD release, but nothing was spent on it. There is nothing at all extra on the DVDs except the trailer on the Canadian release which gives the entire film away.
    As you would guess, Malcolm steals the show completely. He plays it very straight, nothing psychotic. He is smart and well respected in the community and because of this he turns out to be a bit above suspicion. He gets off some good lines, plays it cool and even turns Kelly around where she goes from hating him to dating him. Like any good psycho he's always one step ahead of her and plays it to the hilt. He has a great moment of madness when she picks the flower - causing it pain.
    The only weird part was when they died his hair and made him up to be a teenager. It was like looking at him in Britannia Hospital. He could pass for mid 30s, but definitely not a teenager. They were acting like they were just kids here even calling them boys which they certainly were not. It was different to see him like that, but not believable.
    It looks like Malcolm had some fun playing the villain with almost a split personality. I can see him taking the role because of his love of gardening. He would play a very similar role in the movie The Barber - a serial killer with a special talent. Even though they don't explain it enough, it is an interesting premise that the use of ground up humans would make the best fertilizer.
    If you go into this realizing it is just a little film that is well made you will have a good time. Don't go looking for any big budget in any aspect of it. Even the annoying minor characters don't hang around long enough to get under your skin. I liked it and would call it an intelligent low budget horror movie. The main reason why is loses points is because of Angie. She doesn't look good with her short hair, is too thin and her acting is all over the place. I haven't seen her do anything else, but from this performance I have no interest to.

Rating: 7/10

Taglines

UK - Where a Fertile Mind Becomes Insane
US - Thou Shalt Not Kill.

This page © 2002-08 Alex D. Thrawn for www.MalcolmMcDowell.net