Revenge of Dr. X

Director: Kenneth G. Crane

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

An overworked rocket scientist has just seen his latest project lifted off & it will be a few months on its way to its point of destination. In the meantime there's just nothing to do & as he's been short-tempered lately, his only friend & colleague (James Yagi) suggests he take a vacation in Japan.

Revenge of Dr. XOn his way to the airport he stops off at a roadside gas station reptile exhibit & goes out back behind the place to dig up a Venus flytrap to take with him to Japan.

The Revenge of Dr. X (1970) has some of the most laughably bad acting in any film ever. Such acting is perfectly suited to one of the most ridiculous screenplays. The wonderful stupidity of the film is explained by the famous name attached to the script: Ed Wood of Plan Nine from Outer Space (1959) fame wrote this obscure but fabulous turd; not many folks seem to know he wrote more films than he directed.

In Japan the rocket scientist goes to stay in a failing hotel with the friend of a friend who becomes his lab assistant near an active volcano. The hunchback hotel handyman plays a phantom of the opera pipe organ. Nothing that happens relates to anything else that happens, like there's no reason for the pipe organ, no reason for the mad scientist to know stuff about rockets, no expectation that his lab assistant has any qualifications whatsoever; no reason for going to Japan to conduct his ad hoc botanical experiments.

There's not even a reason for the title calling him Dr X nor is he seeking revenge against anyone. The Revenge of Dr. X is actually about one Dr. Bragen (James Craig). The film is alternatively known as The Double Garden, though there is only one garden, or Venus Flytrap or The Devil Garden, these latter two actually applying.

The reason it became best known as Revenge of Dr. X was through an American distributor's mistake; this was supposed to be a poster slogan or subtitle for Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1968).

Dr. X also gets listed as "a Japanese monster movie" but it looks like not more than one street scene was shot in Japan & there's nothing Japanese about the production.

Dr. Bragen believes his little Venus flytrap can think & reason. Indeed, he believes humankind is descended from plants & other Darwinists have gotten it all wrong.

He begins performing experiments on the flytrap to prove it is the ancestor of humankind, which involves grafting some seaweed into it inducing the flytrap to grow quite enormous.

James Craig's loony acting "style" causes him to come off as a guy suffering mood swings from manic to angry to horny to completely off his nut. Eventually he announces that his flytrap is finally a type of human & promises the plant that it will become the most powerful thing on earth even though for the moment, "You are weak like all humans."

After feeding it vitamins & hooking up electrodes & lifting it to the top of the greenhouse on a little platform where it can be struck by lightning as in Frankenstein, he is at long last certain his flytrap is "as human as anything human."

Because the plant scratched him, he might be in telepathic communication with it, & he may be transforming into a plant, a transformation that never gets far enough along to require make-up FX or anything entertaining. The plant itself grows arms & legs but continues to stand in a flower pot.

Frankenplant originally wah-wahs like a baby. It has flytrap feet & flytrap hands & can now capture & eat puppies.

When Frankenplant leaves his flowerpot to rampage at night, villagers get torch brands & try to track it down. The mad scientist at long last realizes he's made a terrible booboo & baits the flytrap to the edge of the volcano where they both fall in.

At first the film seems too stupidly boring to watch, but if you stick with it, it becomes so fantastically moronic that it's actually loads of fun. And honest to god, it looks like the talentless dweebs who created this Z shlocker didn't make it this absurd on purpose. It was the best they could do.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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