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Blu-ray Review: Wes Craven’s Cult Classic ‘Swamp Thing’

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – After making incredibly influential, low-budget horror films like “The Last House on the Left” and “The Hills Have Eyes,” Wes Craven was essentially at a career crossroads. Keep staying off the radar or join contemporaries like John Carpenter in a quest for more mainstream success. Thus, “Swamp Thing” was born. While it is seen as a cult B-movie now, this was Craven’s attempt at showing he could do something more crowd-pleasing than his dark fare. The result is mixed, at best. I’m a big Craven fan and would recommend this release just for the commentary track if you are as well (the man’s a great speaker), but I’ve never loved “Swamp Thing” and a rewatch on Blu-ray hasn’t changed my mind.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-ray rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

What does work about “Swamp Thing” is the sense that Craven understood the monster movie aesthetic that led to what is essentially an update of classics like “Creature From the Black Lagoon.” Craven does a great job on the commentary track and, as we’ve come to expect from Shout Factory, the special features are plentiful. However, I do wish some context with the international version (which is 2 minutes longer and more R-rated) was included either as a full alternate cut or in the context of deleted scenes. It seems like a waste not to make this a complete version. The Shout/Scream Factory folks are doing an amazing service to horror fans, to the point where decisions are probably going to have to be made. If you’re contemplating this release or their recent special edition of “The Fog,” go with the latter. If you’re a real of ’70s and ’80s horror, get ‘em both.

Swamp Thing was released on Blu-ray on August 6, 2013
Swamp Thing was released on Blu-ray on August 6, 2013
Photo credit: Shout Factory

Synopsis:
Deep in the Florida everglades, a brilliant scientist, Dr. Alec Holland (Ray Wise), and a sexy government agent, Alice Cable (Adrienne Barbeau), have developed a secret formula that could end world hunger. Little do they know, however, that their arch nemesis, Arcane (Louis Jourdan, is plotting to steal the serum for his own selfish schemes. Looting the lab and kidnapping cable, Arcane douses Holland with the chemicals and leaves him for dead. Mutated by his own formula, Holland becomes “Swamp Thing” - a half-human/half-plant superhero who will stop at nothing to rescue cable and defeat Arcane…even if it costs him his life!

Special Features:
o Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Wes Craven
o Audio Commentary with Makeup Effects Artist William Munns
o Interviews with Actress Adrienne Barbeau, Swamp Thing Creator Len Wein and Actor Reggie Batts
o Theatrical Trailer
o Photo Galleries

“Swamp Thing” stars Adrienne Barbeau, Ray Wise, Dick Durock, and Louis Jourdan. It was written and directed by Wes Craven.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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