Blu-ray Review – He Came From the Swamp: The William Grefé Collection

He Got here From the Swamp: The William Grefé Assortment Restricted Version Field Set

Directed by William Grefé.
Starring Christopher George, Joe Morrison, Fred Pinero, Jeremy Slate, John Darrell, Rita Hayworth, Buffy Dee, Joe Crane, John Davis Chandler, Jeremy Slate, Steve Oliver, and Frank Weed.

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SYNOPSIS:

Restricted version field set containing seven movies from cult exploitation director William Grefé, a career-spanning documentary plus a shed-load of scrumptious extras to sink your tooth into.

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You need to hand it to Arrow Video as after they make a director-specific field set they actually go to city with it. The huge H.G. Lewis set that got here out just a few years in the past was an actual deal with for followers of soiled and gritty grindhouse films, the type that had been filmed on the funds of a works Christmas social gathering however supplied simply as a lot leisure, and equally He Got here From the Swamp – which encompasses a assortment of flicks from Florida-based filmmaker William Grefé – may be very a lot a set with the exploitation connoisseur in thoughts.

For the needs of this assessment you will need to observe that, additionally like The Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast assortment, the movies it accommodates aren’t really that nice should you view them with a crucial eye, however what He Got here From the Swamp actually represents is how a regional filmmaker can work outdoors of the Hollywood system and nonetheless handle to provide films that, if not technically what you’d name good, a minimum of show numerous coronary heart and a ardour for the craft of filmmaking.

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Because the movies themselves are of a doubtful high quality, a full rundown of every title is pretty redundant as there’s nothing right here that will get anybody outdoors of specialist style cinema circles excited sufficient to analyze, though every film is just about a knock-off of one thing mainstream. One of the best of the particular films is Sting of Loss of life, a rock n’ roll period monster film that attracts from Creature From the Black Lagoon – in addition to quite a few different Nineteen Fifties sci-fi monster films – and sees a bunch of individuals clearly round 30 years of age pretending to be youngsters, dancing round a swimming pool to a track about jellyfish sung by Neil Sedaka earlier than a person with a plastic bag on his head – or a mutant jellyfish-person, should you like – runs amok.

Sting of Loss of life is as foolish because it sounds however it’s the most enjoyable film within the set, the early ‘60s kitsch as a lot of a personality because the Florida swamps and the clearly-not-at-high-school ‘youngsters’. Nonetheless, issues don’t progress effectively from right here as William Grefé went full horror with Loss of life Curse of Tartu, a sort-of Floridian spin on the Mummy legend however involving tribes and curses. It isn’t a lot enjoyable and drags alongside at a gradual tempo with not a lot of a narrative to maintain you engrossed.

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After that comes The Hooked Era, made as America went counter-culture and the medicine began to kick in. Once more, it doesn’t transfer in a short time however the shoot-outs within the Everglades are fairly enjoyable and presumably impressed the clearly staged gun fights that made The A-Staff such a draw within the ‘80s (or maybe not).

In any other case often known as Electrical Shades of Gray, The Psychedelic Priest was shot in 1971 however didn’t get launched till 2001 and sees a priest go on a highway journey throughout America after deciding to see what the opposite facet of life has to supply. Once more, not as a lot enjoyable because it sounds however the music is fairly cool, as is the general trippy ‘70s vibe. Nonetheless, Vanishing Level it isn’t.

The Bare Zoo is a criminal offense thriller that options Hollywood legend Rita Hayworth and rock band Canned Warmth however these are the one notable options. The Director’s Minimize is featured right here alongside another minimize that options just a little extra nudity, which might be preferable as a minimum of it provides you one thing to have a look at, though William Grefé just isn’t a fan of that model, apparently.

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Mako: The Jaws of Loss of life is a shark film from 1976 so see should you can guess what cherry Grefé and his producers had been making an attempt to get a chew of? The promoting level of the film is that the shark footage – none of which options Mako sharks, for some unusual cause – is actual and the filmmakers didn’t really feel the necessity to cheat with a pretend shark and go down in cages like that different bloke did; Steven anyone… don’t know what occurred to him. Anyway, Mako: The Jaws of Loss of life does function some good underwater pictures and has a foolish man-has-psychic-link-to-sharks plot (Jaws: The Revenge anyone?) however is in the end a movie whose manufacturing was much more fascinating than the completed product itself. Simply take a look at these particular options to see and listen to how a lot enjoyable filming with actual sharks might be – Spielberg didn’t know what he was lacking.

And the final of the William Grefé-directed films is Whiskey Mountain, a Deliverance-style hillbilly journey starring the fantastic Christopher George. This film seems like a little bit of a step up from the last few because of George’s presence and arch-villain John Davis Chandler being as creepy as he at all times is but it surely by no means fairly goes so far as you prefer to it to given what occurs to sure characters.

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However the true gem of the set is They Got here From the Swamp, a two-hour documentary sat within the particular options part of the Whiskey Mountain disc and spanning the profession of William Grefé by delving into all of his movies – together with a number of not included within the set – with protection and knowledge offering the context that simply watching them blind doesn’t present. That includes interviews with William Grefé, John Davis Chandler, cult director Frank Henenlotter (who additionally offers audio commentaries with Grefé for the films), actor Joe Morrison and plenty of different Grefé alumni offering priceless data that sheds a complete new mild on all of the movies, provides particulars about how William Grefé made them and in addition pays loving tribute to the person who made getting films made on low budgets look straightforward, whether or not or not they had been any good. They Got here From the Swamp just isn’t definitely worth the value of the set by itself however it’s the most rewarding movie right here, and watching it’s much more satisfying than any of the opposite films, supplying you with the highlights with none of the boring stuff.

Every disc comes with its personal assortment of extras, with the William Grefé/Frank Henenlotter commentaries being the perfect, though there’s additionally a captivating documentary on the Sting of Loss of life disc known as Sting of Loss of life: Past the Film Monsters a-Go Go! which covers the monster films of the rock n’ roll period and options all types of enjoyable ghoulish imagery. The set additionally features a collector’s booklet that includes interviews with William Grefé and comes housed in a inflexible field with Arrow’s traditional lairy paintings.

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So He Got here From the Swamp is a collector’s set that’s precisely that – a set for collector’s that these not within the know will most likely scratch their heads at as the films are typically fairly unhealthy and stuffed with the kind of appearing, plots and particular results that the likes of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino lovingly homage/spoof regularly. Nonetheless, as an perception into low funds filmmaking by a director who was taking part in in the identical playground because the likes of Roger Corman, Hershell Gordon Lewis, George A. Romero and Jack Hill however by no means fairly hit the zeitgeist in the identical method, this field set is sort of a priceless studying software that sadly has extra allure about it than it has respectable films.

Sting of Loss of lifeFlickering Fable Score – Movie ★ / Film ★ ★ ★
Loss of life Curse of TartuFlickering Fable Score – Movie ★ / Film ★ ★
The Hooked EraFlickering Fable Score – Movie ★/ Film ★ ★
The Psychedelic PriestFlickering Fable Score – Movie ★/ Film ★
The Bare ZooFlickering Fable Score – Movie ★/ Film ★
Mako: Jaws of Loss of lifeFlickering Fable Score – Movie ★/ Film ★ ★
Whiskey MountainFlickering Fable Score – Movie ★/ Film ★ ★
They Got here From the Swamp: Prolonged MinimizeFlickering Fable Score – Movie ★ ★ / Film ★ ★ ★ ★

Chris Ward

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