Unintentional Absurdity In Andy Milligan’s Movie “Seeds”

4 min readFeb 25, 2024


I may be wrong, but I think “Seeds” was a sincere attempt to produce an edgy melodrama. The intensity is pitched so high, it feels like a John Waters film, but Seeds doesn’t seem to have any irony or humor in it. Intentional or not, it’s very funny and very entertaining. It feels like something Edward Albee might write if he were pumped full of nitrous oxide and Red Bull.

The film opens with a bitter, angry, and particularly nasty old woman in a wheelchair. She has two hobbies: drinking and yelling at her staff. It’s Christmas, and her family is visiting her in her home where they all grew up. It’s an Agatha Christie-style setup where everyone hates the rich old lady and stands to gain something from her death.

There are three different types of scenes in the film. There are the plotting scenes where two people bemoan their current situation and try to figure a way to knock off the old woman. Then, there are the myriad sex scenes. It seems that all the brothers and sisters in the family were fans of incest, so every time a door closes, someone starts stripping. Lastly, there are the yelling-at-each-other scenes which are sprinkled liberally throughout the film. Plotting, screwing, and arguing. That’s the whole film in a nutshell.

I’m making it sound awful, and it is, but it’s the insane way it’s presented that makes it entertaining. Here is a sample of dialogue between two brothers.

Brother 1: “What’s it like?”

Brother 2: “What’s what like?”

Brother 1: “The monastery where you studied. Did you have to stay in a room all by yourself? Heh.”

Brother 2: “You’ve been asking questions all afternoon. Why don’t you rest for a while?”

Brother 1: “I’m sorry, I guess I’ve been asking a lot of questions. It’s just that I’m so excited about being home after all these years.”

Brother 2: “Do you like school?”

Brother 1: “No! I hate school, they don’t understand me there.”

Brother 2: “Did you ever try to understand them?”

Young man: “They don’t need any understanding. They’re so square there, they’d fit into a box, a cubbyhole. I don’t go along with them at all, you know. Quite different, you know.

Brother 2: “What makes you think you’re so different?

Brother 1: “I got different feelings, (throws himself on the bed in exasperation and yells) and different emotions. I can find beauty in anything if I put my mind to it! If I tried to explain it to them, they’d just laugh.”

Then, there is the cinematography. The whole film was shot by Milligan himself, and he was obviously determined to be avant-garde. The whole film is shot with a handheld camera that never stops moving. It swirls and angles around everything, as if it were on a broken drone being flown by a drunk monkey. Occasionally, there are some interesting compositions, but they are drowned in a sea of never-ending tilts and swirls.

The worst part is the sex scenes. The film was made in 1968 when the Hays Code had just been repealed, so Milligan was able to show some skin. All the sex is softcore. Women take their shirts off and mush themselves around on their male counterparts, while the camera floats around them, under them, above them, even trying to squeeze between them. It all makes for a very uncomfortable mess of heavy breathing and unidentifiable body parts.

Despite the Agatha Christie setup, Seeds unfolds more like Hamlet. The family’s dirty little secrets are all exposed and everyone ends up killing each other. The last one to die is the old lady, who is pushed down the stairs in her wheelchair like the mother in Henry Hathaway’s Kiss of Death.

Andy Milligan’s real-life mother was an abusive alcoholic, and such characters appear in quite a few of his films. According to people who worked with Milligan, he too was abusive. There was speculation that both Milligan and his mother may have had Schizoaffective disorder.

Milligan made 27 films before he succumbed to AIDS in 1991. Most of his films were trashy horror movies, but the earlier stuff, like Seeds and Vapors, managed to create a raw energy that works in their favor.




I have an MFA in painting and I’m an art professor but I managed to convince my school to let me teach film. My website http://www.filmofileshideout.com/