you believe that it has been 31 years since Wes Craven's SWAMP THING made its
way into theaters? I can't, and I didn't even see the film during its initial
theatrical RUN. In fact, I didn't even see the film until I watched new Blu-ray.
I've been a fan of Wes Craven's since I
saw THE HILLS HAVE EYES (1977) on a local television station in July 1984,
however I was aware of his work when SWAMP THING was released. It was just one
of those movies that I never got around to seeing for some reason, despite the
fact that my friend kept saying "Cable!"
all throughout my high school years.
far as I know or can tell, SWAMP THING is one of the very few PG-rated movies
in Mr. Craven's filmography. It is most
definitely a lot gentler than his previous work such as THE LAST HOUSE ON THE
LEFT (1972). It was
made just a few years prior to his very own A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984),
the film that introduced us all to Nancy Thompson and the monster inside her
head. It will be released on August 6,
2013 on a DVD/Blu-ray combo by Scream Factory.
THING is a film version of the DC Comic that was created by Len Wein and Bernie
Wrightson, the latter of whom is best known for CREEPSHOW (1982). It takes
place in the Louisiana swamps (faked in South Carolina). Alec and Linda Holland (Ray Wise and Nannette
Brown) are brother and sister scientists who are working on an experiment that
is designed to create a plant and animal hybrid that can withstand the extreme temperatures
of various environments. The oddly-named Alice Cable (Adrienne Barbeau) works
for the government and visits the lab to see what the pair have
discovered. Suddenly, the henchmen of
one sinister Dr. Anton Arcane (Louis Jourdan), headed by the late David Hess, attempt
to steal the scientists'
formula. Linda is killed suddenly, and Alec gets
doused with the new concoction, erupts in flames and falls jumps into the swamp,
only to emerge as the Swamp Thing who is then played by actor Dick Durock from
this point on.
Arcane believes that this serum will make him live forever, and he will stop at
nothing to make sure that he gets his hands on the formula. Alice begins to fall for Alec/Swamp Thing as
she is eluding Dr. Arcane's machine gun-toting minions. Mr. Hess plays the usual bullying crazy that
he was so good at and the supporting cast that surrounds him is a terrific
group of menaces. Young Reggie Batts nearly
steals the film as Judd, a ten year-old store proprietor who does everything he
can to help Alice escape.
THING was originally available on
home video on multiple formats. Although
it made its DVD debut in 2000, the discs were pulled from the shelves when it
was discovered that the DVD was sourced from the international print which ran
93 minutes in length and contained an additional two minutes of nudity that was
not seen in the original 91-minute PG-rated 1982 domestic theatrical exhibition. Someone got all bent out of shape over boobs,
and so MGM
reissued the movie on DVD in 2005 in its original version minus the nudity. It
is this version that appears on both the new DVD and Blu-ray.
transfer of the film is excellent; there are a few spots and very small
scratches here and there but nothing to distract from your pleasure of watching
are some really nice extras on the discs (which are presented equally on both
formats). The movie contains two separate full-length commentaries. The first
is with writer/director Wes Craven and it is moderated by Sean Clark who horror
fans will know from his excellent Horrors
Hallowed Grounds tours of horror film shooting locations. Sean asks Mr. Craven lots of interesting and intelligent questions about the
production and the people involved.
second commentary is with makeup effects artist William Munns, moderated by
Michael Felsher of Red Shirt Pictures. This
track is very interesting and insightful as Mr. Munns remembers a great deal
about the making of the film. He discusses
having to wait a long time as the financing was secured, and even went to work
on a film initially called Witch (later
released as SUPERSTITION) in the interim. He talks about fitting the suit to the actor,
discusses how the makeup crew became the scapegoat when filming came to a crawl,
some of the dangers of wearing the Swamp Thing suit, the stunts that needed to
be done, and how he took over as Swamp Thing when Mr. Durock could no longer perform.
bonus features consist of:
"Tales from the Swamp" is an interview with
Adrienne Barbeau. The segment runs 16:56
and Ms. Barbeau is a delight to listen to. She recalls the time that she spent
on the film and talks the long hours on the set while they were in South Carolina,
and the challenging elements around them. The original script that was given to
her by Wes Craven was far more audacious than what ended up on screen.
Unfortunately, just as the film went before the cameras, the production company
began to chip away the film's budget, necessitating constant rewriting during
the course of shooting and many concessions needed to be made.
"Hey, Jude" is the name of the second
segment, and this is a fun and entertaining interview with actor Reggie Batts
who plays Jude (hence the name!). It
runs 14:30. Mr. Batts explains how he
got the role in the film and was a fan of DC comics.
last segment is titled "That Swamp Thing,"
and it's a look back with creator Len Wein who explains how he came up with the
name for the creature, and how he got his start as an animator. The segment
original theatrical trailer is also included, and this is in excellent
condition, not the usual scratch-ridden mess that we're used to seeing.
photo galleries consist of posters and lobby cards; photos from the film;
William Munn's behind-the-scenes photos; and behind-the-scenes photos by
an added bonus, the DVD/Blu-ray sleeve is reversible and has the French poster artwork
under the title of LA CREATURE DU MARAIS, which translates to THE CREATURE OF
here to order SWAMP THING on