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The Return of Swamp Thing (1989) – Episode 178 – Decades of Horror 1980s

“God will pardon me. That’s His job.” Somehow, that seems unlikely. Join your faithful Grue-Crew – Crystal Cleveland, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they look for the good in Jim Wynorski’s The Return of Swamp Thing (1989).

Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 178 – The Return of Swamp Thing (1989)

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In this tongue-in-cheek sequel, the benevolent bog creature falls for the vegetarian, plant-loving daughter of the evil scientist who created him.


This “sequel” to Wes Craven’s original doesn’t measure up to that film or the comic source material. Even though he’s a big Swamp Thing fan and likes the Swamp Thing and creature designs by Carl Fullerton in this one, Chad says The Return of Swamp Thing suffers from superhero-itis, when everyone wants to do a superhero movie but not to good effect, especially when Swampie is not a superhero. According to Bill, once you accept The Return of Swamp Thing is an atrocity, you can enjoy it for its goofy 80s shenanigans. Crystal agrees it’s a horrible, awful movie but it can be entertaining if you just have fun with it and the creatures in Dr. Arkane’s menagerie. Based on the poster, Jeff assumed he was in for camp, good or bad, and he loved the Creedence Clearwater Revival music with the comic graphics in the intro.

Your Decades of Horror 1980s Grue-Crew finds this one to be tough to recommend, but if you’re a Swamp Thing fan, you’ll want to check this one out. As of this writing, The Return of Swamp Thing is available for streaming on Amazon Prime and on a 2-disc Special Edition Blu-ray from Lightyear Video.

Every two weeks, Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1980s podcast will cover another horror film from the 1980s. The next episode’s film, chosen by Jeff, will be From a Whisper to a Scream (1987), a horror anthology from Jeff Burr, featuring Vincent Price in the framing story.  You won’t want to miss that one!

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Jeff Mohr
Jeff lives smack dab in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa and is a long-time horror fan. His first remembered encounters with the genre were The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan gorilla chases, and watching the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone episode, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." While he now qualifies as an old fart, he strives to be an Old Boy. Paraphrasing Robert Bloch, he has the heart of a small boy. He keeps it in a jar on his desk. Jeff has written for and SQ Horror Magazine. He currently writes for Gruesome Magazine and is a co-host of the Decades of Horror podcasts - The Classic Era, 1970s, and 1980s - and the Gruesome Magazine Podcast.