The Revenge of Doctor X (1970)

THE REVENGE OF DOCTOR X (1970)
aka The Double Garden, Body of the Prey
Article 2933 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-19-2009
Posting Date: 8-25-2009
Presumably directed by Kenneth G. Crane
Actually directed by Norm Thomson
Featuring James Craig and James Yagi
Country: USA / Japan

A rocket scientist decides to engage in botanical studies while on an extended vacation. He ends up created an ambulatory venus fly-trap monster.

Well, here’s a rare treat (and I use the word “treat” loosely); it’s a movie featuring one of Ed Wood’s latter-day scripts. For me, the most striking thing about the movie is watching actor James Craig channel Lon Chaney Jr.; he looks and sounds like a slightly older version of Chaney from his Inner Sanctum movies. It’s somehow fitting that Craig is channeling one of the Universal stars; Ed Wood seems to be channeling the scripts from the Universal Frankenstein series here, with at least one quote definitely inspired by a similar one from THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN. Still, Ed Wood is Ed Wood, and between his efforts and those of director Kenneth G. Crane, the movie ends up channeling LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, THE NAVY VS. THE NIGHT MONSTERS and especially Crane’s earlier movie THE MANSTER, with the similarities to the last one being particularly striking. Unfortunately, I don’t know who the person in charge of the music was channeling, but I hope they called an exorcist. And when it came time for those who designed the opening credits of this movie to do their stuff, they should have focused on the movie at hand rather than channeling MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND; anyone looking for John Ashley, Angelique Pettyjohn or locations from the Philippines will be sorely disappointed. Did I mention the goofy-looking venus flytrap monster? If not, there’s a goofy-looking venus flytrap monster as well. The end result is bloody awful, but really, what did you expect?

Postscript: I’ve come upon some new information on this movie thanks to doctor kiss on the Classic Horror Film Board. Because the movie was first discovered in a warehouse without any sort of credits whatsoever (which is why credits from another movie were slapped onto it), much of the production info above was based on inspired guesses rather than hard research. Recent research requires an amendment. Despite the similarities to THE MANSTER, we know now that the director is not Crane, but Norm Thomson. The movie was originally titled BODY OF THE PREY, and the script was from Thomson as well rather than Ed Wood. I’ve changed a couple of things in the beginning credits above so as not to confuse anyone who just looks at them and doesn’t read the review, but I’ve left the original review intact and added this postscript for clarification. And a special thanks to doctor kiss and his research!

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