DVD Review: Drive-In Collection: The Suckers & The Love Garden



Before the era of mega-releases, it took months for a major movie to work itself down to the outposts of humanity known as drive-ins. This lack of fresh blockbusters made it a perfect market for low budget indie films that prized skin over stars. What could a drive-in theater operator do knowing the summer blockbusters wouldn’t be arriving at his screen until the middle of Fall? That’s when a scrappy unknown movie with a tempting title for the marquee and hot female cast was a great alternative. Drive-In Collection: The Suckers & The Love Garden are two titles that must have bounced around the hinterlands. The double feature promises to deliver two different forbidden carnal desires.

The Suckers
(1972 – 80 minutes) shocks the screen as a big game hunter (Vincent Stevens) plans to sex up his next safari. He hires a photographer and hot models to visit his vast compound. He promises they’ll pose with his catches. The models and crew are a little bit of nervousness about the intent of the hunter. But that’s nearly forgotten in numerous erotic encounters that dominate the second act. Everybody gets a scene including two of the models in a deep tub. There should be a bit of a warning that the creepy looking guy with a combover gets action. The adult action is filmed for the R-rating so there’s nothing on the screen that you won’t see on an episode of Game of Thrones. But unlike Game of Thrones, The Suckers doesn’t have an editor with a quick hand on the splicer. As soon as loving stops, the plot picks up with the dramatic disclosure. Turns out The Suckers is based on “The Most Dangerous Game.” The hunter has models in his rifle sight. They don’t get much of head start before him and his men chase after them. It’s a classic exploitation structure that keeps plot and acting to a minimum. .

The Love Garden (1971 – 70 minutes) isn’t that lush. This is about a magazine writer (Jason Scott) who falls madly in love with a neighbor (Linda York) at his sketchy apartment complex. He spies her at the pool and falls madly in love. She can hold back a little bit since she might be involved with her female roommate (Barbara Mills). How can Linda resist Jason and his Mr. Brady dad perm and massive sideburns? This guy would be a God in Brooklyn today. Does he have any hope of converting her back in the ’70s? The film features a lot of voiceover action. Director Mark Haggard and crew made this film low to the production bone. No need to flub a take with actors remembering their lines. It must have also helped in sneaking this production at the apartment complex when the locals would be clueless to what they’re really shooting. The big plus for the film is Linda York. She’s extremely tempting in her semi-innocent way. The Love Garden is a bit less violent than The Suckers. It’s just the simple joy of a man in lust with a woman that might be wanting it both ways.

Drive-In Collection: The Suckers & The Love Garden is a fine trip back to the early ’70s when indie filmmakers knew how to please their audience. These movies knew the first thing they needed to do was have the actors hooking up on the big screen. The plot gave an excuse to have plenty of undressing moments. The Suckers waits until the end of the adult action before informing us of the real story action. The Love Garden lets Linda remind us why her character is desired by men and women in the bedroom. While the encounters be on the long side, few people at the drive-in were shouting for the plot to start up again.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic for The Suckers. The Love Garden is 1.37.1 full frame. The prints on both films can be rather rough at time with scratches and a frame or two missing. But the image is rather good so you’re getting all the detail in the frame including the wear and tear. The audio is mono. The tracks reflect the roughness of the image.

There are no bonus features.

Drive-In Collection: The Suckers & The Love Garden feature two men with carnal desires. The Suckers has a man intent on hunting women. The Love Garden merely has guy believing he can convert a woman from being a lesbian. Can either come out successful with their plan? This is a strange double feature from the early ’70s that shall impress fans of actors with bad hair.

Vinegar Syndrome presents Drive-In Collection: The Suckers & The Love Garden. Directed by: Arthur Byrd and Mark Haggard. Starring: Jason Scott, Linda York and Vincent Stevens. Boxset Content: 2 movies on 1 DVD. Rated: Unrated. Released: April 9, 2013. Available at Amazon.com.

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