Garden of the Dead (1974)

Directed by: John Hayes

Written by: John Jones

Produced & Story by:
Daniel Cady


.... Paul Johnson
Duncan McLeod .... Dr. Saunders
Lee Frost .... McGee
John Dennis .... Jablonski
Susan Charney .... Carol Johnson

Release Date: Theatrical: January, 1974

*Images courtesy at:






A group of prisoners at an isolated prison camp intoxicates themselves by sniffing expermental formaldehyde fumes and then plan to escape the prison camp only to be shot down and buried by the prison guards.
Later on, the dead bodies rise from the ground and kills some of the prison guards there and the rest must find a way to protect themselves from these zombies as they plan to destroy humankind.


There's many interesting takes on prisoners doing work in an open area of a gardening spot which is supposed to draw you in as to what will happen here along with an attention grabber when some of the prisoners sneak away and start to sniff the formaldehyde as there's great close up shots on this which draws you in and looking like they're getting high on this as this looked mysterious making you wonder if they will turn into zombie's while doing all of this.
We spot a mildly effective moment with the main character Paul Johnson arguing with his wife Carol when he's behind a fence and then for a minute letting him out to see her which looked good and emotionally dramatic when they embrace one another as this seemed to work in well.
There's some nice powerful moments with Paul confronting some of the prisoners and then a still moment as well as one of the nasty prisoners beating him up which looked brutally intense and catching you by surprise big time.
Cheesy moments with prisoners trying to escape as well as trying to fight back and the prison guards shooting at them as this needed a bit of improvements on how this was all done but yet does leave a mysterious feel as to what will happen later on.
We spot shots on the dead prisoners rising from the ground as this looked lacking in which it was supposed to look dark on what's happening here but it seemed to look mildly amateurish. It looked fake and rushed.
Some neat shots though on the zombies invading the front of a mobile with their faces in the window and Carol inside freaking out as well as her driving the vehicle trying to get away from them as I will give a good pointer to this scene.
A good misty shot in the distance with the zombie's coming to attack as well as original moments on these zombie's using weapons or other things to destroy stuff in which you don't really see in a typical living dead type of film as well as them talking too. I will give some good pointers on this but at the same time things seemed corny too especially when they're battling against the prison guards.
Yet a nice near ending when some zombie's are standing in front of a home and asking for Carol which looked creepy as well as her coming out as it draws you in wonder as to what will happen next and how she will defend herself.
Bottom line is that this drive in grindhouse film dedicated to the 50's & 60's zombie flicks looks almost promising but it really falls flat during the middle of it's run as the story goes nowhere as it's just zombie's terrorising prison camp officers and nothing much more. I rated this above a bomb for a good performance.

Most of these actors remained virtual unknowns but however they pull their weight well in the movie and deserve good credit too. But there are only few that are worth mentioning so let's try to dig in what we find here..... (Paul Johnson) seemed to do the trick quite well as one of the good guy prisoners as he stands out fairly strong within what he does. Also does well with his odd aggressions when getting into an argument as well as he sobbing emotions as this looked convincing. Plus does well reacting to being beat up or speaking strongly later on when the terror starts to happen. His presence looked good too.
Lee Frost (McGee) seemed to be powerful as a prison guard and had the right burly looks to be this way as well as showing good action skills within all of this. Does a good job with his words and actions and really getting into what he does. He was a ball of force and energy and was a right choice to play this type of role.
John Dennis (Jablonski) also had a nice appeal as one of the good guy prisoners in which he does well by telling someone off showing good emotions and energy as well as showing it off strongly while trying to break free from being chained up or going into action whenever the terror starts to happen here.
Susan Charney (Carol Johnson) seemed to have the right beautiful looks and appeal that draws attention fully into this flick as she does well showing her frustrations with nice energy as well as her emotional attitude. Also seemed to do okay freaking out when she is in her mobile when the terror strikes her but at times overdoes this. Yet does a nice job concentrating on planning to go in for the kill with zombies when she stands in front of them as she delivers a strong presence within this without trying to lose it.

Slime oozes out of some of the zombies.

Jaime Mendoza-Nava has some nice echoey sounds to the film with the synthesizer's along with some classical playing as he makes it sound similar to the short-lived series The Veil also there's some interesting classical jazz composing with a xylophone as well as some bass strings too in other areas that has some pleasant surroundings as well as deep playing for the zombie invasion.