If it wasn’t for the fact that director Joe D’Amato (Blue Angel Cafe, Heroes In Hell) made a bunch of Ator movies, a bunch of Emanuelle movies, a bunch of dirty movies, Endgame, and even something called Porno Holocaust, one might get the idea from Passion’s Flower that Joe didn’t have a clue what he was doing.
We can only assume then from his otherwise impressive array of credits that in this case he either didn’t care or had some sort of grudge against everyone else involved in the film! Though the problems with Passion’s Flower are legion times about a thousand, the most glaring one is that Joe seems to forget that he is supposed to be telling a story where something actually happens!
In a regular old cruddy movie, you might complain that what happens doesn’t make any sense or is just plain stupid. Passion’s Flower exists on an entirely different plane where the prospect of any action by either stud drifter Jeff or hot slut Linda is only mentioned occasionally by Linda while Jeff simply responds with pained indifference.
In its broadest outlines, Linda wants to kill her husband Gordon, so that she and Jeff can be together. You can’t really call it a scheme though because that would imply that Linda did something besides referring to Gordon as a coward, rat, and pig. In fact, Linda and Jeff are so ineffectual at everything except procrastinating that Gordon manages to put his plan into action to kill Linda and Jeff! And perhaps not surprisingly, his plan is so hideously ill-conceived that Linda and Jeff end up looking like geniuses for doing nothing while Gordon gets kneed in the balls for his trouble!
At the beginning of the film, Jeff is just out of prison and headed to his brother’s motel and bar. The bad opening credits music is interrupted by a news bulletin that the killers of little Suzy are still on the loose! The viewer spends the rest of the movie waiting for these child killers to reappear, though it’s impossible to understand why they would since there aren’t any kids in the movie that need killing.
But once Gordon is tipped off by Jeff’s jealous waitress girlfriend (he’s using her to make Linda jealous while Linda is causing Jeff to lose poker games to piss him off) that Jeff and Linda are kicking around the idea of killing him off, Gordon goes to a nightclub and somehow manages to hire these two killers to do Jeff and Linda.
Things don’t go as planned, but it all works out when the jealous waitress suddenly develops a conscience and calls the cops to save everyone. Trust me when I say that it didn’t make nearly that much sense in the movie.
Though the movie pretty much ends at this point with Jeff leaving Linda and hitting the road again while the radio announces that the two killers have been caught, the D’Amato fans out there are certainly begging to know if there is any redeeming value to the movie.
First of all, if you’re a real D’Amato fan, you don’t even have to ask the question because you damn well know that the cream filling in any titanically terrible D’Amato flick are the excruciatingly awesome details! Like how about Laura Gemser as a hooker who gives Jeff a free BJ after Jeff forgets his wallet? Totally unnecessary to the plot and humiliating for Laura, but perfect in the context of the overall Passion’s Flower experience!
Other moments of perverse enjoyment include the acting done by everyone but Linda and Jeff. While Kristine Rose and Robert LaBrosse are your typically untalented Italian movie actors, the rest of the cast are plainly from the H.G. Lewis school of “civilians somehow wandering onto a movie set and shouting their lines in a stilted monotone”. One guy playing a cop even manages to blow the only line he has!
Then there are the moments when you can’t stop from laughing aloud such as when Jeff tries to set the mood for his waitress friend in his hotel room by playing some music. By putting a cassette tape into a tape recorder! Come on! Let’s huddle up right next to it so we can all enjoy its tinny goodness!
And do you know what Jeff was in prison for? First Degree Murder! That’s right! And he did all five years of his sentence! Even in liberal, pro-criminal states without the death penalty, a guy usually looks at something like life without parole for premeditated murder! I guess Jeff was a first time offender!
Then you had your out of left field developments like when Linda showed up with a bruise on her cheek because Billy went and got drunk again and hit her! Damn that Billy! If I had any idea who he was, I would be so peeved at him!
Billy turns out to be one of Gordon’s poker buddies, but since we’ve never seem him drunk or lay a hand on Linda, it didn’t make a lick of sense! And we know she wasn’t covering for Gordon because he asked her what happened and she came out with some “slipped in the bathtub” story!
My favorite moment though had to be when Gordon was watching football highlights on TV while the announcer first talked about Ole Miss and then Tulane and Memphis State – all the while footage of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Los Angeles Rams played! I love it when Italians try to localize their movies with half-assed sports references! As a bonus, the Notre Dame Victory March is played for some reason during one of the two times the movie decides to show us some Mardi Gras parade footage.
Sadly though, Passion’s Flower is nowhere near as sleazy as you would expect considering its pedigree, but it is saved by being every bit the cinema birth defect you were hoping for as soon as you saw the opening credits.
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