DVD Review: Swamp Thing (Shout! Factory)

Swamp Thing Blu-ray

 

Anyone who reads my bio or one of my reviews, or a listener from my podcast would know that Swamp Thing is my favorite comic book character. Ever since I first saw the (short lived) Swamp Thing cartoon and got my first Swamp Thing action figure, I was sold on the character. I wasn’t the only one. According to market research that Kenner produced in the 90s, boys between the age of 6 and 11 actually proffered the Swamp Thing figures to GI Joe and even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! It was not until years later that I found out that Swamp Thing was based on a comic book and that there was a live action movie. When I first saw Wes Craven’s low budget ($3 million) film I remember being in AWE. The suit looked just like Bernie Wrightson’s original character design, the monsters were gross, and it was overall creepy. Watching it as an adult I realized what many others have, it’s pretty cheesy. It is for this reason that I won’t focus on the plot for this review but rather the Blu-Ray its self.

First off, the film is no longer grainy and dark. One thing I remember thinking the last time I saw it is, “This LOOKS old!” I was really pleased to see that for the Blu-ray release Shout Factory really tried to make the movie look crisp. The sound quality has been cleaned up as well. The dialogue is clear and easy to understand.  Overall, I was very happy with how the remastering was handled.

Most of the special features are great too. I have met Swamp Thing creator Len Wein twice in person and both times he was enjoyable to speak to. Perhaps it is for this reason that I really enjoyed the interview with him included on this Blu-ray. There are some great commentaries to film from both writer/director Wes Craven and Make-up artist William Munns. There is also an interview with one of the smaller roles,Reggie Bates. The highlight of the extras, however, is an incredible interview with famed horror actress Adrienne Barbeau. Even as a self proclaimed Swamp Thing Superfan there were many things that I was not aware of about this film! Barbeau shares some of her original disappointment with how the film turned out. She even explains some of the major things that contributed to the film not being as good as Cravens script. From Budget cuts to Louise Jourdan low moral due to losing his son only a week before shooting, Swamp Thing was doomed to fail. Somehow, the movie was successful and carries on today with a strong cult following.

The only let down with the special features is that they didn’t add an episode or two of the old animated series. It seems like it would be a no-brainer considering that those cartoons are not readily available on DVD. Perhaps it has something to due with distribution rights being muddied. The cartoon played on Fox, NBC, and even Sci-fi channel so it could very well be as simple as to many people claiming the rights to the property. My only hope is that somehow Shout Factory will someday get the rights and maybe release the complete five episode run on Blu-ray.  Greater still, I would love to see them tackle a remastered Return of the Swamp Thing!

The Blu-ray is a must for any true Swamp Thing fan. I would give it 4 out of 5 screams!

 

About Staff Writer