Garden of the Dead (1972) 1 brainhalf brain

Alternate Titles:

Tomb of the Undead

This movie, called Garden of the Dead for reasons that were never really clear to me, managed to mostly avoid the ludicrousness that befalls so many other low-budget films, but maybe it could have used a few more unintentional laughs. It took itself seriously, but didn't have the talent or production values to pull it off.

The makeup was decent, and there were some genuine creepy moments at various parts of the film. I could also see what the director was aiming at in certain parts, and although I could appreciate the intent, the end result was more often than not a little flat.

The story is about some convicts in a minimum-security (and I do mean minimum) work camp that manufactures formaldehyde. There are two gangs of convicts, the evil formaldehyde-huffing ones and er.. the rest, who they don't get along with. The huffers break out and are shot down by the guards but, presumably because of the formaldehyde, come back from the grave. Arming themselves with picks and shovels (Aha! Perhaps this is the origin of the name of the movie), they return to the work camp to exact revenge on their former captors and fellow prisoners.

These zombies aren't the mindless flesh-eating kind. They retain many of their human qualities, including their formaldehyde addiction and their sex drives. The one person that they don't seem to want to harm is the sole female character in the film (unless you count another that shows up for less than a minute), the wife of one of the "good" convicts. Their motivation does seem to be based on revenge, and not on anything more primal, although at one part, the leader of the zombies can be heard telling his cohorts to "kill the living."

The film is poorly paced, and the credits were rolling almost before I was aware that the climax had come and gone. If you will be satisfied with an honest effort and a few well-done scenes, check this one out; otherwise, it will probably bore you.