• Drive In Collection: The Suckers/The Love Garden

    Released by:
    Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: April 9, 2013.

    Director: Arthur Byrd/Mark Haggard

    Cast: Richard Smedly, Lori Rose, Vincent Stevens, Sandy Dempsey, Barbara Mills/
    Linda York, Jason Scott
    Year: 1972/1971

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    The Movie:

    Another drive-in double feature from upstart label Vinegar Syndrome, this time teaming up the legitimately rare roughie The Suckers with the more commons softcore picture The Love Garden. Let’s take a look…

    The Suckers (1972):

    Directed by ‘Arthur Byrd,’ 1972’s The Suckers begins when a man named George Stone and his wife/business partner Cindy (Barbara Mills) hop in their Jeep and drive a pair of $50 an hour fashion models - Joanne (Sandy Dempsey) and Barbara (Lori Rose) – out to a lavish estate in the middle of nowhere. See, George and Cindy run an agency of some sort and they’ve been contacted by a wealthy client named Mr. Vandermeer (Vincent Stevens) to supply some talent for a little shindig he’s hosting. Details are scarce but the gig pays well, but what we do know is that Vandermeer was once one of the top hunters in the entire world.

    When the group arrives they’re treated well – Vandermeer puts out a spread and everyone is treated to a pretty good time and the models are stoked to meet hunky guest Jeff Baxter (Richard Smedly), another one of Vandermeer’s guests. As the evening progresses George and Cindy get it on, Baxter and Joanne get it on, then finally Barbara and Joanne get it on in a series of three, lengthy, padded softcore set pieces. This next morning, Vandermeer takes every one of his guests out into the wild, two henchmen in tow, and then announces that he’s basically going to let them loose and then he and his henchmen are going to chase them down like animals.

    Long thought to be lost but recently discovered by Vinegar Syndrome, The Suckers is really just a remake of The Most Dangerous Game with one added twist – rape! That’s right, Vandermeer basically comes right out and says that he’s not only going to hunt the ladies down but he and his dudes are going to rape them too, and that’s more or less what happens. It should be noted that while the three early sex scenes are played for titillation (to an extent – it’s unlikely anyone is going to get too excited when George sheds his clothes) the rape scene that takes later in the picture is surprisingly brutal and convincing. In fact, while the film plays out exactly as you’d expect it and offers no twists whatsoever, once the hunt is on the heretofore light hearted sex film turns into some seriously dark territory.

    Performance wise, things are fairly goofy here though the lovely ladies that make up the female cast at least provide for some appealing eye candy, if not a whole lot more. It’s cool to see Barbara Mills and Sandy Dempsey pop up here but the obvious appeal of naked ladies notwithstanding, the real scene stealer is Vincent Stevens as the sinister Vandermeer. Chewing through the scenery and delivering some ridiculously over the top dialogue (even noting straight up how much he enjoys hunting ‘the most dangerous game!’) he’s totally watchable. This one was produced by David Friedman and it makes its home video debut through this release.

    The Love Garden (1971):

    The second feature on the disc begins with a scene in which Barbara Mills struts her stuff in the shower, soaping herself up nice and slow like while the opening credits play over top. From here we meet a magazine writer named Mike (Jason Scott) who is hanging out doing some reading poolside when a foxy lady named Clare (Linda York) catches his leering eye. As luck would have it, Clare has just moved into the apartment complex that Mike calls home and he’s figuring, hey, hot neighbor, I bet I can bone her pretty easily.

    Mike’s plan gets complicated when it turns out that Clare already has a significant other, which brings us back to Barbara Mills, who plays her lesbian lover, Inez. When Clare gets canned from her job, however, Mike is there to offer her a new position as his secretary. He figures this will allow him to get close enough to her that it’ll be a cinch to convince to love dudes more than chicks. And wouldn’t you know it, it seems that Mike is on to something. A little alone time helps them to get to know one another better and once her guard starts to drop, Mike is coy enough to take advantage of the situation.Clare soon gives in and lets Mike hop on top of her for a ride – in fact, they really hit the ground running in a scene that comes perilously close to hardcore. Once it’s all over though, Clare’s really still not completely sure who or what she wants…

    This one is fairly hot stuff – not only do Mike and Clare go at it with serious passion but before those two get their shot, we’re treated to an even steamier scene in which we are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Clare and Inez have definitely got their own thing going. These scenes are lengthy and you could make the case that they pad an movie otherwise short on plot but there’s enough passion and commitment that, coupled with the surprisingly solid camerawork employed to capture all the details, they actually work quite well. The fact that the movie is essentially performed with only three cast members makes it interesting, if a little stagey at times, but the real reason you’re going to be interested in this one is to see Barbara Mills and Linda York doing their thing. There’s some cool music here and some funky seventies décor on display throughout the movie, but the ladies take it this time out.


    The Suckers is presented in 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen in a transfer culled from elements that were obviously in pretty rough shape. There’s no shortage of print damage, a frame jump or two and lots of grit and scratches. The colors don’t look half bad but the elements here, likely the only ones around, have been beaten up pretty bad. The Love Garden is in better shape and it looks good in 1.33.1 fullframe here. The colors are a little faded in some spots but overall things look pretty decent.

    Both movies are presented in Dolby Digital Mono, no alternate language or subtitles provided. Again, The Suckers is in rougher shape than The Love Garden, there’s hiss and scratches and pops throughout but with that said, you’ll have no trouble following things. The Love Garden sounds better, with only a little bit of hiss here and there.

    Aside from a static menu offering chapter selection, there are no extras on this release.

    The Final Word:

    Pairing up one seriously obscure roughie with a well-made seventies softcore feature makes this one a pretty interesting release. The Suckers is in rough shape but it’s great to be able to see it at all given it’s rarity. The Love Garden definitely fares better in terms of presentation and is quite an interesting little sex film. A pretty great release overall given that you don’t get too worked up about the presentation and that you’ve got an interest in this type of material.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Randy G's Avatar
      Randy G -
      Love Garden is a real gem.