It won’t be safe to play golf at this country club, because the Greenskeeper will get you in this 2002 slasher flick featuring former pro baseball player John Rocker in the titular role.
Allen Anderson has been having a rough time lately. In a relationship with a girl who is only after him for his money, Allen works as an assistant greenskeeper at the local golf club, which his family owns. Allen’s birthday is today, and he has plans with some of his friends to go to a party being held for him. However, when the original planned location is cancelled, Allen’s friends have a plan. They convince Allen to keep the club open after it closes for the celebration. Reluctantly, Allen agrees.
However, something wrong happens. A yuppie golfer ridicules the club’s main greenskeeper, who retaliates by beating him to death with his club. John Anderson, Allen’s uncle, doesn’t want any problems so he pays off the corrupt sheriff to keep the death quiet. That night, during the celebration, Allen begins to become plagued with nightmares again about the Greenskeeper, as if he has some sort of connection to him. Meanwhile, the Greenskeeper begins to kill each one of Allen’s friends and it is up to Allen and new worker Elena to find out the mystery of the Greenskeeper and to why they are committing this murder spree.
This slasher film, which is definitely on a B-movie level, picked up by Roger Corman’s New Concorde, was first noticed when for its casting of one of the most controversial baseball players of our time. John Rocker, who was known as one of the best on the field, but completely off his rocker (no pun intended) off the field due to comments towards various people, Rocker was considered one of the most hated players in the sport. So, he dabbled into acting and what a film debut he brings as the titular Greenskeeper.
While he spends most of the movie masked, we do get to see him in flashbacks, which bring to mind the tale of Cropsy in The Burning. A likable fellow, the Greenskeeper was well-admired until an accident landed him with his body burned beyond recognition but somehow surviving. While Rocker appears sporadically in the movie, the trio of Kevin Greene, Adam Johnson, and Tripp Norton did something that would help the slasher genre in some ways. They would offer a slow-burn pace and leave the madness for the final third act of the film. While there is one death in the first 45 minutes, it is the final half hour where gore hounds will cheer when the Greenskeeper really starts letting loose.
Allelon Ruggiero plays the reluctant protagonist Allen, who tries to figure out why he is having nightmares about the titular killer. Melissa Ponzio, best known for her role as Karen on The Walking Dead, makes an early appearance here as Elena, a new worker at the club who Allen takes a liking to, compared to his bimbo of a girlfriend Mary Jane, played by Christi Taylor. We even get to see a slimmed down Ron Lester of Varsity Blues fame as Styles, one of Allen’s buddies.
The kill scenes are really good. From the first victim getting bludgeoned to death with a golf club to a hapless victim getting a “ball wash” but not in the way you’d expect, they can be a bit over the top. However, they are well done and leads to a major twist in the story that was pretty jaw-dropping.
The Greenskeeper is a pretty decent slasher film that does a bit of a slow burn, which here is perfectly fine, then offers the mayhem within the final thirty minutes. John Rocker, despite his former off-the field rants, actually does pretty well in the titular role. Definitely worth checking out for that very reason. It also should be mentioned that 80’s metal icon Kip Winger did the music score for the film.
WFG RATING: B-
New Concorde presents a Ghost Man on Third production. Directors: Kevin Greene, Adam Johnson, and Tripp Norton. Producers: Kevin Greene, Adam Johnson, and Tripp Norton. Writers: Kevin Greene and Adam Weir. Cinematography: Matthew McCarthy. Editing: Tripp Norton.
Cast: Allelon Ruggiero, Bruce Taylor, Christi Taylor, Ron Lester, Melissa Ponzio, Thomas Merdis, Jamie Renell, John Rocker.