The Venus Flytrap (1970) - The Hunt for Edward D. Wood, Jr.
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Original Poster

(1970)

The Venus Flytrap
a.k.a. The Revenge of Doctor X - VHS, DVD
a.k.a. Body of the Prey
a.k.a. The Devil's Garden
a.k.a. The Double Garden
a.k.a. La Venganza del Doctor X

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Directed by Norman Earl Thomson (possibly as "Earl Norman")
Written by Edward D. Wood, Jr. (and possibly Norman Thomson)
Wood regulars
none

Additional cast
James Craig
James Yagi
Atsuko Rome
John Stanley
Hugh Shannon
Al Ricketts
Tota Kondo
History
This is one of the more obscure films in Ed's filmography. For many years, little was known about it, as the only hard evidence of its existence was a line on Ed's resume. Ultimately, the "Venus Flytrap" listed by Ed was identified as the film released to home video as "The Return of Dr. X". But the true history of the film was shrouded in mystery until the work of several members of a horror film message board revealed many hitherto unknown details. I won't go into all that can be found at the link, but there's no reason to doubt Ed's involvement. The dialogue makes his hand in it obvious.
Plot
Dr. Bragan (Craig) is a mathemetician working for NASA on a very important outer space mission. The stress of this mission is causing Dr. Bragan to start to have a mental breakdown, so his assistant, Paul Nakamura (Yagi), suggests he vacation in Japan to relax and recouperate.

Once there, Dr. Bragan settles into a small hotel with his beautiful assistant to begin experiments on a plant he brought back from the U.S.

It is a venus flytrap, and Dr. Bragan crosses it with a peculiar carnivourous Japanese plant to create a creature that is almost human.

But can the Doctor keep his creation under control? Or will chaos ensue...?
'Wood'-ness
This was filmed in Japan (possibly with the assistant of film company Toei) from a script Ed apparently wrote in the 50s and it shows.

The plot is right out of Ed's 1950's playbook and the dialogue is as convoluted as anything in Bride of the Monster.

Another aspect that shows how important Ed's writing was to the nature of his films is how many actors and directors follow his pattern. This film was made in Japan and yet still features the same hyper-active acting, stock footage and bizarre transitions that featured so prominantly in Ed's own films.

The acting, as stated above, is universally over the top and the actress playing the love interest may give the worst performance of any non-porn Ed film. (Of course, to be fair, she's Japanese and may not have had a lot of experience with English. -ed.)

Also, in an odd, unintentional connection to the work Ed was actually doing at this time, The Venus Flytrap includes some unexpected gratuitous frontal nudity (diving girls and a hospital victim).

In conclusion, despite the fact that Ed didn't direct and the film features none of his regular actors, The Venus Flytrap (or whatever you want to call it) is a must have for Ed fans. Seek it out.
Best Line
"How in the hell can anybody be so utterly stupid as to build a rocket base on the coast of Florida?" - Dr. Bragan
File Under
Horror, Sci-Fi

VIDEO RELEASES

THE VENUS FLYTRAP

The Venus Flytrap is apparently the original title that the script for this film carried. Ed even refers to this film on his resume as Venus Flytrap. Still, I can find no reference for a contemporary release under this name. However, since the other title variants are either blatantly wrong ("Dr. X") or have not had confirmed releases either, I have chosen Venus as the main title for this film.

The Venus FlytrapIn the mid-90s, a small company called Bowlegged Man Media sold copies of The Double Garden under this title. This is the same company responsible for the '90s production of Devil Girls .

I have no information on this version of the film.

PROS: Up until recently, was easily available online.
CONS: No longer available from BMM.


THE REVENGE OF DOCTOR X

This is the most common title for The Venus Flytrap. As stated earlier, I don't list it under this title because it's clearly not correct. The original titles for the film were either lost or never made it to the U.S. and somewhere along the line someone tacked the credits from The Mad Doctor of Blood Island onto the beginning. This means the entire opening credit list (actors, director, etc.) is totally inaccurate.

VHS

The Revenge of Doctor X (a)This is the original edition of this movie, from Regal Video.

As you may imagine, the illustrations on the box, like the credits inside, are unrelated to the movie.

The Revenge of Doctor X (b)This is a 1990 re-release by New Horizon Inc. of the earlier Regal version.

The box repeats the incorrect credits from the opening of the film and the blatantly inaccurate cover illustration also builds on the inaccuracy of the Regal edition.

PROS: May be easier to acquire than other editions.
CONS: Poor image quality. (Though, to be fair, the others probably aren't much better. -ed.)


DVD

Revenge of Dr. X (DVD) Manufacturer: RetroFLICKS
Year of issue: unknown
Video Format: NTSC
Extras: None mentioned.




Revenge of Dr. X (DVD) Manufacturer: Shock Therapy
Year of issue: unknown
Video Format: NTSC
Extras: None mentioned.


Chilling Classics Manufacturer: Mill Creek
Year of issue: 2005
Video Format: NTSC
Extras: Collection of 50 movies, including "The Revenge of Dr. X"



Revenge of Dr. X (Japanese DVD) Manufacturer: unknown
Year of issue: unknown
Video Format: NTSC-J
Extras: None mentioned.



BODY OF THE PREY

The IMDb lists this as the original title and it does seem to have been filmed some time around 1967 with this title attached. Still, there is no evidence of an actual release under this name and most evidence seems to point to a 1970 release, proabably with a different title (most likely The Devil's Garden.

No Image AvailableN/A


THE DEVIL'S GARDEN

This may be the original release title, based on the name used in paperwork at Toei, Akuma no Niwa.

No Image AvailableN/A


THE DOUBLE GARDEN

Once upon a time, the IMDb listed this as the primary name (inferring that it was released originally under this title). There's never been any evidence to support this and it now seems likely that it is a mis-translation of the likely original release title, The Devil's Garden

No Image AvailableN/A


LA VENGANZA DEL DOCTOR X

i.e.: "The Vengeance of Doctor X"

Apparently the title under which The Venus Flytrap was released in Venezuela. Due to the confusion, it's possible this could be The Mad Doctor of Blood Island, however.

No Image AvailableN/A



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