by Rich Moreland, November 2014
Once again, Girlfriends Films renowned director, B Skow, has created another intriguing tale that examines modern society’s foibles and abberations. His latest film, The Gardener, is worth a long and penetrating (no pun intended) look. No doubt it will join other Skow productions as an adult film classic.
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An unkempt garden with an algae-infested pool is the backdrop for a naked young woman and an older man. She is primeval and Eve-like with a distant defeated stare, eyes locked forward as if to block out pain. He cajoles her to perform oral sex, capturing his seed for a creepy impregnation ritual involving a short section of garden hose.
The Gardener is a perverse tale of a psychopath who abducts a little girl through his minions who snatch her off the street. And she is not the only victim. The film will introduce others whose stay in the garden is much shorter.
Amanda Trask (Jessie Andrews) is remembered as a sweet eight year old who left for school one day never to return. Charlotte Trask (Darla Crane) remembers the last time she saw her daughter “skipping down the driveway with a bright, pink backpack full of love.”
That was over a decade ago, but Charlotte remains convinced Amanda is still alive. And so she is, though emotionally numb and obedient to her captors.
The family, as Richard Alan Goetz (Kurt Lockwood) calls his brood, runs a business called the ‘Goetz’ Organic Farm. It grows vegetables of all sorts and uses fresh fertilizer, the garden’s focal point. New topsoil is always available to scatter memories and cover evidence.
Richard renames his prize human flower, “Rose,” hoping to erase the kidnapping that plays out in flashbacks. Richard has a system: brother Neil (Alec Knight) drives the truck while Piper (AJ Applegate) and Sally (Karla Kush) lure the victims. In the first flashback Amanda and her pink backpack are seduced with evil sweetness, all shown with characteristic Skow cinematography.
Three is Not a Crowd
The sex scenes revolve around the unaware prey who are used for entertainment then quieted by Neil’s shovel. The garden grows with each new meal.
Among the unfortunates is Betsy (Maddy O’Reilly) who consoles a frightened Amanda with “Don’t be scared little girl, they’re not going to hurt you, they need you to replace me.”
But first a little fun as Betsy is enjoyed by Piper and Sally. In the film’s first three-way, there’s a good deal of spanking, oral, and fingers with an abbreviated three-girl daisy chain. A true porn superstar, Maddy is sultry and always a pleasure to see on screen, though her time in The Gardener is brief.
Incidentally, careful scrutiny of the setting reveals a small Teddy Bear face down under the party lights. Amanda perhaps, unwilling to look?
Later, an impromptu party celebrates the complicating issue of the film, “Rose’s” pregnancy. Keep in mind nothing is what it seems in The Gardener. The reluctant Amanda will get a special gift from Richard, the “opportunity” to have sex with strangers. The scavenger team baits two unsuspecting hayseeds from Kansas, Clarence (Bruce Venture) and Leroy (Clover) to “do” a reluctant Amanda for everyone’s entertainment. Jessie Andrews’ oral work is showcased and her body is fully on display in this version of a three-way. In a recent interview, Jessie explained that her ability to suck “like her life depended on it” has lifted her industry success. Skow’s camera work reinforces that carnal truth.
The scene is shot in a catch-all rec room where the girls did a number on Betsy. This time, everyone is present to watch “Rose.” (She lives in a tent on the property where another mattress will later accommodate Jessie Andrews’ anal action). An ever-present lava lamp, a bowl of dog food, long-handled tools (very Freudian), and a box filled with plants are scattered about. Again, Skow sends the message that the lesser sorts (he has a delightful penchant for the redneck element in his films) and their sexual frolics are never far away. It does make for raw sex and Jessie Andrews’ eager sluttiness drives this scene.
When the pop shots do their gonzo best to decorate Jessie’s back and face, Neil moves in with his shovel and the flowers get another treat.
Incidentally, Skow’s version of gonzo is subtle and engrossing. He shoots bodies in their entirety and occasionally moves in for genital close-ups, but never lets them intrude on showcasing his girl du jour. He has a talent for capturing female oral work with angles that minimize the all-sex expectation of eyes focused upward toward the camera. Skow takes pages from the cinematographer’s gonzo manual, but uses an artistic vision to push porn’s standard fare to a higher level.
By the way, special kudos is offered for Kurt Lockwood’s performance as the demented Richard. He is worthy of a best actor nomination for 2014. Porn has its award shows, AVN, XBIZ, XRCO to mention three, and Kurt acting talent in this film demands serious consideration.
Furthermore, to suggest that B Skow be heavily favored for director of the year is an understatement. The real problem is selecting the movie that would best present his talent. The Gardener, along with the dynamic These Things We Do, should be on the list.
Sharing a Toy
Not until the second half of the film does Amanda’s character come alive and speak at length. She reveals her pregnancy to Neil and has a request, she wants to be pleasured and because of the baby, it’s got to be anal. This episode is the film’s marketing highlight—Jessie Andrews’ first backdoor shoot. The scene is another quality performance from an actress who spends much of her professional time away from adult film, a disappointment for porn fans but a boon for Jessie’s career. Sometimes, less is more.
The pregnancy urges Richard to propose marriage (“Rose” really has no choice) and a move to put his special flower in the family house. A replacement must be found for the garden tent so Neil and the girls are sent out again. Karla Kush as Sally is worthy of comment in her scene with Neil inside the truck. They’re passing time waiting for Piper to reel in the new catch, Erica (Nadia Styles). Neil chokes Sally while she gets herself off and taunts him with “imagine if we were getting her for you, imagine what you could do to her.” They’ve played this game before. Abetting the humiliation Neil feels at the hands of his brother, Sally then moves her head into his crotch. Among all the trashy girls in the film, Karla’s portrayal here tops everyone because its sexy without being that explicit, she does it with attitude.
Erica is enticed to take a ride in the truck, setting up the final sex scene and the film’s denouement. At this moment, Skow summarizes this perverted bunch with five flowers. Blooming in separate pots on the ledge in front of the bed, three are female (full foliage) and two are male (long-stemmed). Now an outsider enters the group and the question arises, will Erica be a potted addition or fated fertilizer? Interestingly, she is renamed “Magnolia,” a flower southern “hospitality” associates with terror and lynchings.
Nadia Styles is returning to porn after a lengthy hiatus, but she has not lost her touch. The Latina is hot and intense in taking on Richard and Neil in the film’s third three-way. Like brothers do, they are sharing a toy. Complications, however, are in the wind because another flower has already been shared, not to mention there is collective guilt sprouting in every garden bloom.
The end of the film is fast-paced and action packed. Before she rescues her pink backpack, Amanda dispenses with “Rose” and confronts Richard who claims were it not for him, all the family would be dead by now.
“I am dead,” she screams. “I’ve been dead since I was eight and you killed me!”
Not far away, an unaware Charlotte Trask says, “I just know she’s somewhere out there.”
So do we.
Here is the trailer for the film courtesy of Adult Video News. Be advised it contains pornographic images.