Jim Wynorski’s “The Return of Swamp Thing” is one of my bonafide childhood favorites, and a favorite of the rental places. “The Return of Swamp Thing” was my introduction to the character when I was a child and it’s a definite favorite that’s become more about sentimental value than quality. I admit that viewing “The Return of Swamp Thing” through nostalgic glasses helps improve the campy direction Jim Wynorski takes for this second outing.
Although it’s not as good as the Alan Moore comics that ran around the same time, “The Return of Swamp Thing” has its fan base for embracing the more monster movie quality of the character and running with it. Wes Craven took Swamp Thing in to a more horror movie angle, while Wynorski springs off of the idea of monsters and wacky mutations to allow the concept to be silly and weird. Silly and weird are definitely the buzzwords for “The Return of Swamp Thing” where its main character is basically the only thing that returns from the original Craven classic. The sidekick to Swamp Thing for this go around is a young Heather Locklear, who plays botanist Abby Arcane.
Oblivious to the fact that her stepfather is Swamp Thing’s nemesis and an evil madman prone to experimenting on people, she’s invited to his mansion to reconnect with him. Little does Abby know he has devious plans for her. Arcane has learned he is dying and now schemes to use her genetic material to help him gain immortality, even at the expense of her life. Pretty much everything is played for camp, right down to Heather Locklear, who plays the role with a snarky self awareness. Dick Durok is back as the titular Swamp Thing and is once again at home in the character’s skin, turning the monster in to a more endearing beast who gradually gets in touch with the man he once was over the course of the movie.
Along with great supporting turns by Sarah Douglas and Louis Jordan, “The Return of Swamp Thing” is probably viewed best as a monster feature and less as an extension of the Swamp Thing lore. If anything it’s filled with a ton of quotable dialogue and fun monster mashes. It’s a genuine video store gem worth owning.
Part of the MVD Rewind Collection, “The Return of Swamp Thing” features a new Audio commentary from Director Jim Wynorski, Composer Chuck Cirino and Editor Leslie Rosenthal, along with a slew of new Interviews with Director Jim Wynorski, Editor Leslie Rosenthal, Composer Chuck Cirino, and Lightyear Entertainment Executive Arnie Holland. There’s a 2003 audio commentary from director Jim Wynorski, and the original theatrical trailer transferred in to HD from the original 35mm materials. There are six promotional TV clips and two TV Spots, not to mention the rare Greenpeace public service announcements. Finally there’s a 1989 Promo Reel for the movie, and a photo gallery, accompanied by the Chuck Cirino score for the film. Last but not least, there’s a collectible Mini-Poster for folks that want to commemorate the film.