Released in 1982, Wes Craven’s Swamp Thing was based on the DC Comics series. In an unexplored swamp in the deep South, Dr. Alec Holland (Ray Wise) and his sister Linda (Nanette Brown) have been working on a recombinant DNA experiment to breed plants with the “animal aggression to survive.” Just as Alec finishes his work, he finds himself falling in love with Alice Cable (Adrienne Barbeau) a government scientist who has just arrived to replace another technician who had an unfortunate run in with an alligator. Before Alec can do anything with his serum, a gang of armed thugs hired by the villainous Anton Arcane (the great Louis Jourdan) shows up to steal his work. A struggle ensues and much of the precious serum is split. Linda is shot and Holland is burned by the ensuing fire. Completely ablaze, he dives into the swamp, hopeful it will save his life.
The only apparent survivor, Alice makes off with the last notebook that Arcane needs to reproduce the formula. Dr. Holland eventually emerges from the bog as a muck encrusted creature (Dick Durock), a behemoth half man, half swamp. Soon enough, the Swamp Thing wages war on Arcane, taking out his thugs and saving Alice. Understandably scared of the Swamp Thing despite its good intentions, she soon starts to wonder why there’s something so familiar about him…Of course, Arcane isn’t going to let Alice go that easily.
The film never takes itself to seriously. Wes Craven’s take on the story is mostly goofy fun. Embracing its campy comic book origins. As far as the acting goes, Ray Wise is fine as Alec Holland, but he isn’t the focal point of the movie. Dick Durock is the star her, rumbling around effectively. A big guy, he makes a perfect Swamp Thing. As always, Adrienne Barbeau has fun in her role too, playing the right mix of damsel in distress and tough lady. She looks good too. While not a traditional villain, Louis Jourdan is clearly having a lot of fun in the role.
Note: when MGM first released this movie on DVD, there were a few seconds of a topless Barbeau included in the international cut of the movie. There was also some brief nudity in which some dancing girls perform for the thugs. Subsequent releases have been of the US theatrical cut which had this footage removed. Both cuts are included here.
Presented in 4K with Dolby Vision, MVD Visual’s MVD Rewind imprint has been sourced from a brand new 4K restoration. Presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the film has always looked a bit rough, which isn’t surprising, given its minimal budget. The restoration has left little in the way of significant issues. Despite an inherent softness, detail levels are very good. However, a couple of areas offer weak contrast. And grain is a bit chunky at times, but it’s generally rendered well. The print is cleaner than ever before. If you’re a fan of Swamp Thing, the restored video quality makes this worth a pickup.
As with others, this release comes with its original monaural soundtrack in DTS-HD MA. While nothing special, it still presents the film satisfactorily. Ambient sounds are in evidence and dialogue is clean, clear and concise. There are no real audio anomalies.
English SDH subtitles are included.
The 4K UHD disc in this package offers the audio commentaries and two versions of the films listed below. The Blu-ray disc offers all of the extras listed below. Many are ported over from the Shout Factory Blu-ray release.
- Theatrical Version (HD; 1:31:20) and Unrated Version (HD; 1:33:03) are accessible under the Choose Version Menu.
- Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Wes Craven
- Audio Commentary with Makeup Effects Artist William Munn
- Tales from the Swamp with Actress Adrienne Barbeau (HD; 16:09) Barbeau discusses some of the difficulties getting Swamp Thing
- Hey Jude with Actor Reggie Batts (HD; 14:43) Batts discusses how being in the film was a blessing.
- That Swamp Thing, a Look Back with Len Wein, Creator of Swamp Thing (HD; 13:20) Len Wein discusses how he came to write for DC Comics.
- Swamp Screen: Designing DC’s Main Monster (HD; 20:34) An 88 Films featurette featuring production designer Robb Wilson King.
- From Krug to Comics: How the Mainstream Shaped a Radical Genre Voice* (HD; 17:36) another piece done for 88 Films, offers an enthusiastic take on things from Kim Newman.
- Theatrical Trailer (HD; 1:31)
- Posters and Lobby Cards Photo Gallery (HD; 1:24)
- Photos from the Film Photo Gallery (HD; 8;19)
- William Munns’ Behind the Scenes Photos Photo Gallery (HD; 1:24)
- Behind the Scenes Photos by Geoffrey Rayle Photo Gallery (HD; 3:23)
- A Folded Mini Poster: Enclosed in the slipcase.
- PRODUCT DESCRIPTION THE DC COMICS SUPERHERO COMES TO LIFE IN WES CRAVEN’S CULT CLASSIC FILM, MAKING ITS DEBUT ON 4K ULTRA HD! Deep in Florida's darkest everglades, a brilliant scientist, Dr
- Alec Holland (Ray Wise, Robocop) and a sexy government agent, Alice Cable (Adrienne Barbeau, John Carpenter’s The Fog) have developed a secret formula that could end world hunger and change civilization forever
- Little do they know, however, that their arch nemesis, Arcane (Louis Jourdan, Octopussy) 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 in the swamp
- Mutated by his own formula, Holland becomes “Swamp Thing” - a half human/half plant superhero who will stop at nothing to rescue the beautiful Cable and defeat the evil Arcane