The Suckers / The Love Garden

Production Year: 1971/1972
Release Date: 04/09/2013
Label: Vinegar Syndrome
Collection Number: 1319

Last week I talked a bit about the company Vinegar Syndrome and reviewed their release of Massage Parlor Murders.  The Blu-ray is officially out as of today along with two "Drive-In" Double Features gracing us with a handful of seldom seen sexploitation flicks.  Today we'll be taking a look at the set featuring The Suckers and The Love Garden.

I kicked off this afternoon's matinee with The Suckers.  With the promise of a good hunt a group of well-to-do people along with a few hired models make their way to a very fancy mansion out in the middle of no where.  The mansion is home to none other than a very established big game hunter by the name of Vandermeer (Vincent Stevens) whom also seems to be a bit on the eccentric side.  During the evening's festivities a few of the couples manage to engage in some near explicit softcore sex while others discuss Vandermeer and how something "just isn't right about this whole set up."  The next morning Vandermeer and his armed lackeys take the group out into the wild and announces that this hunt does not involve lions, tigers, or bears but the guests themselves.  Yes, this is a sleazy take on the classic "The Most dangerous Game."

The film is certainly a slow burner, but I would strongly advise viewers to stick around because things eventually do pick up and lead to a good payoff within the last half hour or so.  The softcore sets can get a bit tedious and the way they were edited  makes me wounder if this was meant to have a few hardcore insert shots mixed in.  While the first hour might have you checking your watch a few times, this certainly isn't the worst take on the hunting humans idea.  For fans of the subgenre there's a lot to chew on.  Lot's of nudity tied together with violence, there's also a rape scene in this flick that has to hold some sort of record for the length of it.

The PQ/AQ of this one is so-so, the print definitely has some damage and even a few jumps.  The audio also suffers a bit, but neither are enough to make this unwatchable.  While there are scratches and damage present throughout most of the film it is presented with a new anamorphic transfer so it's evident that time was certainly put in and the print damage is merely an issue of the elements that were available.

Next up is The Love Garden.  Right off the bat this one is completely different in tone when compared to The Suckers.  It's about an odd obsession Mike (Jason Scott) has with his new neighbor Claire (Linda York).  Claire turns down the poor guy at every turn  and once Mike discovers her preference for females he makes it his goal to bed the lovely lady.  While he does manage to succeed things do not turn out like he would have expected.

The Love Garden also suffers from some similar PQ issues as the previous film but to a lesser degree.  I've heard some complaints of a slight hissing with the audio but I didn't notice much, just the occasional crackling sound that one would expect with some of these older films.  The film is mostly softcore with the exception of a few scenes where it dances around hardcore territory, it's brief but worth mentioning.  I really enjoyed the mellow score and Mike's narrating worked well with the overall feel of the film.

In the end I found myself enjoying The Love Garden more, I thought Scott gave an innocent yet creepy performance which really drew me in, I was waiting for him to just snap but the story took us in a different direction.  It's a somewhat perverted look at sexuality and the idea that someone's preference can be deterred.  I dug it.

As a double feature it works.  These two films clash on paper, but the bright hectic ending of The Suckers leading into the cool easy going climate of The Love Garden made for a nice double bill.  They both also share a small connection in featuring lesbians tempted by the male sex organ.  So there is some methodology in play here.

This double bill is making it's official debut today so be sure to secure your copy by clicking here!

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