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1/07/2011. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Man-Thing in the USA - or Buy Man-Thing in the UK

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region 2 DVD: Optimum Releasing Ltd. OPTD00357. 1 DVD 92 minute film with no extras. Price: about GBP 2.00 (UK) if you know where to look). stars: Matt Le Nevez and Rachel Taylor.

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I’ve heard of the ‘Man-Thing’ film (hyphen doesn’t appear in the main title of the box) and that it wasn’t all that it claimed to be. An odd state of affairs when you consider the top end of Marvel Comics were also producers and should certainly know who and what the Man-Thing actually is. I mean, even two of the characters are named after its creators, writer Steve Gerber and artist Mike Ploog. Indeed, even Ted Sallis, who became the Man-Thing, is mentioned a lot although interestingly, this isn’t an origin story and we never actually see him.

In many respects, the film could still work quite well even without the Man-Thing’s presence. Although the Everglades are not mentioned by name, the setting of the town of Bywater by a southern swamp pretty much puts it that way. Although much of it is studio bound, it still looks like a convincing eerie swamp. Seems like a factory owner has bought land around the area, forcing out the local Native American population, and sees the swamp as a suitable place for dumping toxic waste. Key protester Ted Sallis has disappeared and so, too, has anyone else protesting, including the local sheriff. His replacement, Kyle Williams (actor Matt le Nevez) is determined to find out what’s been going on and what other secret the swamp holds.

The bad and good guys and the odd crazy ones aren’t difficult to spot in this film and the Man-Thing himself only really appears in a couple crucial scenes. Unlike his comicbook counter-part, he isn’t attracted by fear nor burns anyone who exhibits it, but is more tentacled and just does the monster thing of killing anyone who enters his swamp domain. After watching the film, I couldn’t help but wonder if someone had their wires crossed and equated Man-Thing to the Thing in John Carpenter’s film of the same name and Rob Bottin’s designs. Maybe there was thought that kids might want to imitate Man-Thing’s fiery touch but considering this was an adult film seems a bit odd.

As I pointed out earlier, the story was an adequate scare without the Man-Thing being in the film. Used more effectively, then the film would have deserved to be called ‘Man-Thing’. Don’t go watching this DVD expecting great things but at least it isn’t a total write-off. Just be careful whom you sell your land to.

GF Willmetts

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