THE GREENSKEEPER (DVD)

2.5 Stars
Year Released: 2003
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 90 minutes
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This is a languished DVD title that just sang to be plucked when found abandoned on the video shelf. Sure, it has most of the traditional elements that are incorporated by rote in the slasher formula: A homicidal loon, repugnant characters serving as abattoir fodder, blood served by the gross, and breasts put on display when the plot begins to lag. But this title offered so much more.
For starters, who could resist that tag on the DVD box lauding that the soundtrack was the work of ‘80’s hairspray band leader Kip Winger? How about the promise of a plot where rich socialites get creatively carved at a private golf club? How about the fact that the film is a gleeful satire on the slasher genre? All viable temptations sure, but there was one phrase that hooked me and would not let go:
With John Rocker as The Greenskeeper!
I was helpless to resist. The mere thought of a stone-headed sports fixture that was run out of baseball for expressing social opinions which would be offensive to an agoraphobic white-supremacist was too delicious to pass. Winger was just the gravy. To call this movie a mess would be redundant, (no less that three director were used, none who seem to know what to do) but there is fun to be had. It is lighthearted and cruel, as well as skewering and reverent to the conventions of bloody killer films.
The focus of the story is on Allen–played by “Dead Poets Society” member Allelon Ruggiero–a porky groundskeeper who toils at the country club owned by his step-father. Allen aspires to be a screenwriter but often finds his creativity stunted by living in a tie-dye bedecked household with roommates who are fused to their bongs. He does have a girlfriend who is blonde and busty–and five class steps above his loser strata–but Allen mopes around oblivious to the fleshy windfall while he pines for one of the Spanish waitresses in the club’s bar. At the club we meet a crowd of rich youths who are as detestable as they are pretty, and their sole focus in life is to party. When the plans of a coke-fueled bash fall through Allen’s girlfriend and her cohorts convince him to get the keys to the club so they can partake in an after-hours round of hedonism.
Of course there is a legend that the club is stalked by a former maintenance worker who lives in a shack in the woods and kills anyone at the club at night, but drugs and naked blondes are much more important. Part of the allure here is the original modes of death at the hands of the psychopath. The tennis pro is dispatched when roofing nails are tossed in his ball machine. One guy gets his personal 3-wood bloodied in a ball washer, and one couple gets the treatment by a putting green cup corer sent through both of them as the guy was sinking his put in the 19th hole. This gives the rather pleasant picture of the two nude bodies laying on the green with the flag sticking out of their final union.
As for Rocker, the directors decided wisely not to give the brutish athlete any speaking parts, as any of his lines would not be as scary as those he had uttered in his infamous Sports Illustrated article. There was the humorously ironic scene where Rocker gathers up Allen’s immigrant love interest to take her back to his shed. Prior to that moment he wastes all the pretty white people with aplomb, but then the infamous xenophobe elects to show compassion for the Mexican lovely. Time will tell if this open minded display towards foreigners erases his previous controversial opinions.
Shot for just $80K in the Atlanta area this movie bears all the warts of a cheapo horror effort. By every measure this film is far from great—it is barely close to watchable—but there are those moments where you cannot resist, and overall it becomes a worthwhile excursion. And, you can be the first on your block to be able to tell everyone that you witnessed the acting debut of deposed baseball pitcher John Rocker.
You know…if that’s the sort of thing to impress those around you.



Posted on April 5, 2004 in Reviews by
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