IN THE DEVIL’S GARDEN (1971)
Article 4496 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Sidney Hayers
Featuring Suzy Kendall, Frank Finlay, Freddie Jones
What it is: British giallo
The police attempt to find the identity of a killer/rapist who has been terrorizing girls in a wooded area known as Devil’s End near a girl’s school.
At about the halfway point in the movie, I saw a scene that I vividly remember catching on the local Creature Feature at one point in my life. It’s about all I remembered from the movie, but that’s not surprising; given the movie as a whole, it must have been heavily cut for airing on television, and that may well have left the movie a confused mess. In fact, I’m wondering if the print I just saw was cut as well; it runs four minutes shorter than the given time on IMDB. The main fantastic content seems to be that an eyewitness who saw the killer claims that he looked “exactly like the devil”, a fanciful description that we know is metaphorical, but the fuss that’s made by everyone about it as if it was a literal description is one of the biggest weaknesses of the movie. Once you get past that point, you end up with a not-bad little mystery/thriller, and if you’re like me, you’ll figure out the identity of the killer just at the time that the movie wants you to find out. Freddie Jones has a memorable role as a pushy reporter who ends up helping with an attempt to catch the killer, and the cast also features Lesley-Anne Down, and future “Doctor Who” villain Anthony Ainley.