STUDIO: Shout Factory
MSRP: $25.99
RUNNING TIME: 540 minutes
Complementary bag of Miracle Grow

The Pitch

When you look too long into the swamp, the swamp looks back at you…and then kicks your ass.

The Humans

Dick Durock, Mark Lindsay Chapman, Carell Myers, Scott Garrison, Kevin Quigley.

The Nutshell

Dr. Alec Holland is a former chemist whose work in creating a bio-restorative formula to spur rapid growth of plant life both saves him and curses him after he’s the victim of sabotage.  When his lab is bombed, Holland is caught in the explosion and doused with his own burning chemicals.  He runs and dives into the swamp and is presumed dead.  However, the chemicals transform him into a creature made up of the muck of the swamp.  Now, as he continues to seek a cure, he uses his newfound power to fight those who seek to do evil in the swamp.

If we’d had this guy in the Nam, things might have gone completely the other way…

The Lowdown

I haven’t seen either Swamp Thing film in easily fifteen years, so about the only thing I remember about them was Louis Jordan vamping all over the place as Dr. Arcane, and first Adrienne Barbeau and later a young Heather Locklear looking as good as they did back in the day.  But I do remember that they were pretty fun times, at least to a certain degree.  Which completely sets them apart from this weed of a TV series.  Good God, this thing is practically (i.e. completely) unwatchable.  Take your pick between the terrible writing, horrible acting, or high school-science special effects.  And this show was made less than 20 years ago, yet I’ve seen fifth generation VHS copies of Texas Chainsaw Massacre that looked better by comparison.  There’s more grit in this show than a role of sandpaper.

Needless to say, things were pretty insane when Swamp Thing took a job as a Chippendales dancer…

Swamp Thing: The Series concerns the adventures of the former Alec Holland, who had a bad time with some chemicals and now spends his time as a walking fertilizer plant.  Unbelievably, 72 episodes of this dreck were produced from 1990 – 1993.  In a way, it reminds me somewhat of another cult TV series of the same era, Friday The 13th; but whereas that show told quite good stories on a shoestring budget, Swamp Thing flounders in mediocrity and bad production value.  This Vol. 2 offering has 26 episodes, and unless you’re seeing it for nostalgia value, you’re going to probably take a lawnmower to your genitalia for buying it.  It’s simply awful.

I was wondering when that voodoo curse would catch up to me.  Then I got this box set in the mail.

Some of the episodes in this box set include “Night of the Dying,” where Dr. Arcane (Chapman), seeking to gain enormous dark powers to combat Swamp Thing, buys an old voodoo tome and invokes its power, but is completely overwhelmed by it and cursed by the machinations of a voodoo priestess out for revenge on him.  “Love Lost” finds a mysterious clairvoyant woman coming to town seeking out Alec with a message from his dead wife.  “Better Angels” has a businessman looking to build a resort in the swamp nad using an old acquaintance of Alec’s as his front man.  “Poisonous” has Alec dealing with a man who has caught him on video.  And on and on.  I honestly couldn’t get through the entire thing, it was too much to watch as much as I did.  Any good memories of the original film or its campy sequel are just completely plowed under by this TV show.  If you simply must see this, catch it on Chiller.  Me?  I need a good shower after this.  I feel like I just tracked in half the Everglades on my new carpet.

Ancient spirits of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Randy Rhoads and Sid Vicious, hear me…

The Package

This is a 4-disc, 26-episode offering spanning Season 2 and part of the ludicrous 50-episode third season.  The look of each episode is roughly the same after taking a belt sander to the negatives.  This show looks fifty years old when it’s barely 15.  The sound is passable, but with the terrible transfer here, it really ain’t going to matter.  That, and the fact that the show, particularly Arcane, who looks like he was an ousted lead singer of Quiet Riot, is hopelessly trapped in early 90s.  There are no special features, thank god.  It’s just inconceivable to me that this show lasted as long as it did.  This deserves to be mulch.  And yes I’m aware I’ve overly made with the foliage remarks.  But hell, I had to get some enjoyment out of this.

1.6 out of 10