Man-Thing on Sci-Fi Channel


The Plot-Thing:

Kyle Williams saw his return as a sheriff to his hometown of Baywater as a career opportunity. What he couldn't have foreseen was the reawakening of an ancient power in the swampy river branch - a power as old and horrible as the swamp itself. A spirit called "Mantokwe" by the natives - the Man-Thing.

Frederick Schist, owner of a resident oil firm, has lied and betrayed the local natives - and is now exploiting their land. To cover up his machinations, he has killed two men and left their bodies to the swamp.

Kyle must now choose between what is right and a career supported by Schit's great influence and power. He must find the power to face his past, the demonic Man-Thing and survive.

The Screening-Thing:

The film premiered on the Sci Fi Channel April 30 2005 at 9:00 pm/8:00 pm[c], with repeats scheduled for 1:00 am May 1 and 9:00 pm May 5.

More Sci-Fi Channel Screenings in 2006

Sci Fi network occasionally rebroadcasts the Man-Thing film:

  • Sunday February 26 at 9 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 21 at 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 29th at 3 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 25th at 7 p.m.

The Music Video-Thing:

The band AzUR (DOG Productions Wayne and Luke joined with Bec And Freddie) recorded the song The Man-Thing Lives Again that played over the end credits of the film. It was supposed to be released as a promo video, but since the movie was in a constant state of flux (financial, script, etc...) and wasn't going to go to theatres (as intended), the music video was pulled (lack of budget, and Marvel didn't want to leak advance images of the set & creature costume before the films eventual release). One of the band members has worked on the footage and uploaded a remix on youtube.com - enjoy. Searches have turned some background information on the band.

Thanks to P-TOR for tracking this video down for us, a dancing Man-Thing is a joy to behold.

The Cinema-Thing

The film did get some big-screen time in a few select countries:

  • Russia - May 2005
  • The United Arab Emirates - October 2005
  • Spain - March 2005

Muck-head JJ tracked down the following details:

Man-Thing was last tracked at #10 in CIS-Russia, etc on May 6-8 of 2005 at $42,481 for the weekend. Total of $119,024 in 11 days of release. Source

Man-Thing opened at #1 in The United Arab Emirates back on October 28-30 of 2005. It grossed $34,760. Last tracked on November 11-13 with $3,519 at #10. Totalled is $92,519. Source

Man-Thing opened strong at #4 for the weekend of March 3-5 in Spain. It quickly faded, lasting 2 weeks in the top 20. Source

March 3-5: Man-Thing-- $550,984 156 theatres.
March 10-12 Man-Thing-- $263,009 -52% 156 theatres.

Total for Spain--$887,022.

International gross--$1,098,565

The DVD-Thing:

Region 1 -- USA, Canada

Man-Thing US DVD cover The DVD release date was set in the US for June 14 2005. fangoria.com revealed that Lions Gate Home Entertainment's DVD for the film would be a bare-bones release, with only trailers as extras. No word yet on any difference between the version screened on the Sci Fi Channel and that on the DVD.

Interesting to see how the cover image is toned down for the US compared to the Australian version.


Region 2 -- Japan, Europe, South Africa, Middle East, Greenland

Muck-heads will want the Man Thing - Special Steelbook Edition 2 DVD set from the Netherlands.

Steel Book DVD coverDetails

  • Release Date - 17/01/2006
  • Running time- 95 Minutes + 78 Minutes Extra's

DVD Special Features

Disc 1

  • 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1)
  • Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Upcoming Trailers
  • Chapter Selection
  • Subtitles On/Off
  • Actie/Horror
  • English Dialogue
  • Nederlands subtitles

Disc 2

  • Steel book dvd - special effects sampleDeleted Scenes
  • Trailer
  • Turbulence/Swarm Tests
  • Bloopers
  • Concept Art
  • Building Scenes
  • Storyboards
  • Photo Gallery
  • Liner Notes
  • Upcoming Trailers
  • VFX Pre-Visualisation

Details from dfw.seesite.be. A long review of this edition in Dutch is online at www.dvd.nl, and the dvd is available for purchase from www.bol.com or www.mediadis.com. This looks to be the definitive version fans (the three of us) will want, baring the appearance of the missing commentary (I assume one must have been recorded. Heck, if Brett Leonard and Hans Rodionoff ever want to record one as a podcast I'd gladly host it here!) sometime in the future. It would be good if this edition of the DVD got released in other regions sometime.

UK Dvd coverMuck-head JJ Reynolds has also tracked down news that a Region 2 release of the film for the UK on DVD is due on May 22nd from Optimum Home Entertainment. No word about this on their website yet, but the release has a product code (OPTD0357) and is already listed on a few online stores: WHSmith, Amazon.co.uk and Moviamail UK (Where I found the less than crisp cover scan to the right). Details are sketchy, but from the information listed by the the British Board of Film Classification it looks like an extra-lite one disc version with just the film and trailer.

Japan DVDJapan's dvd coverJapan sure has a nifty cover for the dvd.

Monstrul from Romania - price.roMuck-Head P-Tor pointed out the Romanian cover and title Monstrul

French Dvd cover France had an interesting 1 disc version that included a few extras:

  • le making off
  • 5 scenes coupees et 3 scenes alternatives
  • les effets visuels
  • le materiel promotionnel
  • les bandes annonces

Region 3 -- S.Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Parts of South East Asia

Maylasian DVD cover?Spotted this variant dvd cover related to an out of date online auction based in Malaysia.

Region 4 -- Australia, New Zealand, Latin America (including Mexico)

DVD cover sleave for AustraliaAustralian site Moviehole released the art work for the region 4 DVD release.


 

Brazilian DVD/Video?A random find on the net is this page from Brazil about the film and it's release to video.
The region 4 version is available for rent in Australia, and was tentatively due for sale August 2005. In New Zealand the censor's decision (publication #501594) of 14 September 2005 to rate the film Objectionable except if the availability of the publication is restricted to persons who have attained the age of 16 years was followed by a long silence and no sign of the DVD on any shop shelves. I finally tracked down a copy through an online auction. The disc is an ex-rental copy from United Video Dinsdale in Hamilton. As usual in NZ we get the same release as Australia care of Force entertainment

Region 5 -- Eastern Europe, Russia, India, Africa

I've found a Czech Republic and Russian (I think) dvd cover
Czech Republic DVD coverRussian DVD cover
Hungarian DVD coverHungury has a pan and scan version of the film on DVD with the impressive title Valami van Odalent

Region 6 -- China

No details.

Region 7 -- Reserved for Unspecified Special Use

No details.

Region 8 -- Revered for Cruise Ships, Airlines, etc...

No details.


One slightly naughty person is selling a dvd of the Sci-Fi broadcast. This DVD features the 'entire' (as broadcast) movie as well as several television trailers produced to promote the Sci-Fi presentation.

Screen grab from TV screeningScreen grab from TV screeningScreen grab from TV screeningScreen grab from TV screeningScreen grab from TV screeningScreen grab from TV screeningScreen grab from TV screeningScreen grab from TV screening

DISC 1
01. Man-Thing Sci-Fi "Next" Promo
02. Marvel Pictures Original - Man-Thing
03. Man-Thing Sci-Fi Promo 1
03. Man-Thing Sci-Fi Promo 2

The Response-Thing:

Initially the comments were positive. In December 2003 a source who saw an early edit contacted aintitcool.com and had some nice things to say about the film.

Then rumours started to appear regarding poor reactions from preview audiences, with one source reporting that at one screening half the audience walked out before the movie even ended.

The film was previewed for media people at the 25th annual American Film Market in Santa Monica on the 5th of November, 2004. The film was described on the market site as A horror/action feature in the vein of Jaws and Alien based on the popular Marvel comic book of the same name.

This screening heralded the start of reviews, most of which have been bad:

  • Fangoira 1½ skulls.
  • Anon Horrible
  • Moviehole.net C-grade studio pap.
  • KRT Wire Miss
  • Bloody-Disgusting.com 7/10
  • Boston Herald ..will make you run for cover
  • Blogcritices It becomes a chore to watch
  • Quipster ...stigma of its ineptitude...
  • The Stop Button ...is cheap but it's not full of shit like the rest of this new crop of comic book movies
  • Wizard ...better than average for TV horror movie.
  • Comics2Film ... those credits whiz by like lightning. It's like Sci Fi Channel was saying, "Quick, it's over! Get it off our network, stat!"
  • Comingsoon.net ...If you go in with low enough expectations, it might end up being better than you expect.
  • Bad Movies ... can't think of a reason to recommend this movie
  • Horror View Not only is this adaptation a lot better than numerous other sites and comic fan-boys had previously led me to believe, but I'm genuinely glad to have picked it up. (DVD)
  • Terraaustralis ...this is a B grade monster movie at its best, let down by a lack of extras. (DVD)
  • SFX Magazine...Man-Thing has been labelled as "Marvel's Swamp Thing", which does both comics a disservice. Man-Thing, because it hit comic book counters mere months after Swampy, which is far too soon to be a rip-off; and Swamp Thing because, well... Man-Thing's rubbish.

    Following this tradition, the film version is abysmal, despite a plot that deviates from the source material. Man-Thing is vaguely benevolent in the comics; here he's borderline psychotic. His superpower was to "know the fear" of anyone who wandered into his swamp - here, he simply has the power to control veg. We're not sure who thought "this would be perfect for a T&A horror flick!", but if we ever meet them, we'll punch them in the face.

    Honestly, it's hard to convey how bad this thing is - so stylistically bereft the cinematography will make you think there's something wrong with your telly. As for the performances, when your lead actor looks depressed in every scene, it's time to pack up and go home.

    Extras: Some terrible films come packaged with ace extras. Compulsive browsers should count themselves lucky that this is a vanilla. Sam Ashurst

    Man-thing creator Gerry Conway and Swamp Thing inventor Len Wein roomed together at college, which may explain why they pitched the same idea at the same time. We're sure they'd hate the film too.

Viewers have been posting reviews after the Sci-Fi screening at Super Hero Hype, Yahoo Movies, and IMDB.

I finally tracked down a copy on DVD, so my flatmates and I sat down to watch it on the next rainy day. The Good points: Steve Bastoni gives his character some genuine menace. Matthew Le Nevez made for an effective hero. The cinematography is great. Some of the dialogue is amusing. The special effects look impressive.

The Bad points: The story is presented in the most cliched way imaginable, with very few of the characters being more than crude sterotypes (ruthless businessman, dumb swamp-billys, sagely native). There's some rather bad over-acting on display. The attempts at American accents by most of the cast produced howls of derision and laughter. The selection of songs to comment on events/characters is heavy handed.

My Verdict: I'm glad I only spend NZ $9 on this. I'll watch it again some day, but only in private so I never again inflict it on my friends or family. I certainly won't be in any hurry to spend money on the 2 disc set.

The Cast and Crew-Thing:

The Man-Thing Actor-Thing

7ft 1/4" Tall actor, weight lifter, non-competetive bodybuilder and ex- professional wrestler Conan Stevens has an entry in his blog recounting his time on the film, with some nice behind the scenes photographs.

The Public Talk-Thing:

The Australian film organisation Popcorn Taxi hosted a on-stage conversation with director Brett Leonard and some members of the crew on 14 April, 2004. Check out the photographs. Reports were that this was to include a sneak-peek of footage from the film.

The Killer-Thing?

A poster to a IMDB message board who claimed to be related to Steve Bastoni mentioned that he told them that he's the guy who kills the Man-Thing.

The Australian Alligator Hunter-Thing?

Moviehole reported that actor Ian Bliss was interviewed in the Melbourne Beat magazine

The film sticks pretty close to the Marvel comic which was a rather cult comic ....It's essentially about a swamp creature and stays quite true to the darkness of how it was drawn in the comic. I play an alligator hunter who patrols this big swamp with his brother. Jack Thompson is involved and he would be the highest profile actor in the piece. What they've done is not attach any name actors and filled it predominantly with Australians in an attempt to let the film work on it's own merit, to allow the film to be a bit darker and riskier than the bubble-gum comic book adaptations we've seen recently. They hope it works for the film but it could also work against it.

dvd.net.au also asked Bliss about the film

Well Man Thing is based upon a rather obscure Marvel comic about a swamp creature. Marvel comic readers are aware of Man Thing, and it's only really a small audience. But I'm not sure how it's going to work in a film. It's probably going to be a pretty cool cult film that will go off big time. Brett Leonard that directed it has a really nice wave of comedy in it. It was a hell of a lot of fun to work on though, and the vibe is that it will be a funny horror film, as a rough cut leads anyway.

The Kiwi Connection-Thing:

New Zealand's own Rawiri Paratene, star of Whale Rider, Shortland Street and one time presenter on Play School was interviewed in the NZ magazine The Listener and mentioned his work on the film...
Last year he was in Australia shooting a movie called Man-Thing, which is another of the apparently endless run of treatments of Marvel Comics Titles... Man-Thing is really Marvel's equivalent to DC Comics Swamp Thing - a man turned horrid swamp creature. In the movie Paratene plays a Native American shaman. Mangrove swamps and rivers near Sydney stood in for Louisiana exteriors.

He was offered the job, without auditioning, after American director Brett Leonard saw Whale Rider. It's a low budget film, but that budget - somewhere in the $US 15-20 million vicinity - dwarfs Whale Rider's as does the pay cheque. The crew were all off Matrix and Star Wars productions. "I enjoyed Sydney. I enjoyed the harbour and enjoy Australians. They're flash at their work. I was very impressed by them"
(7 Feb 2004)

The Screenwriter-Thing:

Hans Rodionoff chatted with Comicbookresources about his work on the film and related comic.
Even though Rodionoff's script focuses on human protagonists he felt it was important to capture the spirit of the comic book. He tried to include many of the ideas found in the comic. "Man-Thing is faithful to the spirit and the tone of the original comic books. To me, that means that it should be a very atmospheric, creepy story about a mysterious entity in the swamp. The story touches on the idea of the Nexus of All Realities, but it's really just a pit stop. Jennifer Kale is a great character, and someone that I would love to include in a sequel. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I get that opportunity. But she's not in this movie, and neither is Howard the Duck. Other key characters in the comic book are referenced, but not seen directly. One of the trademark catch-phrases in the Man-Thing comics was, 'Those who know fear burn at the touch of the Man-Thing.' Comic fans will be pleased to know that the cinematic Man-Thing might also have this power. In this movie, everybody knows fear, and there's plenty of burning in the end..."

Check out a later interview with Fangoria

The Co-creator-Thing

The script is based on the Cry of the Native! story-line from Fear (Adventure into...) #15 and 16 which was written by Steve Gerber. I asked him in an interview if he had any contact with the film makers involved. His reply: No.

The Promotion:

The Fetish-Thing

Man-Thing FestishSpotted on e-bay, amateur artist Sean Green has been making Man-Thing Mantokwe Fetish dolls (7"x3"x1.5"). A lot of experimenting with paint colours so there's many coats of paint. Very small chip under left hand, showing clay. Less than a 1-16" around. Three 1-16" or smaller scuffs near middle of back. All painted over with Rustolium "Painter's Touch" Clear. Glow in the dark eyes! I'll probably make a half dozen. One for myself. There going to all be different.and this is the first one.

The Articles-Thing:

Fangoria 242 coverFangoria #242 (April 2005) included a five page article on Man-Thing by Daniel Dickholtz.

The Tagline-Thing:

The original tag-line The Nature of Fear appears to have been changed by SciFi Channel to Your fear is his deadliest weapon.

The Trailer-Thing:

Finally this has appeared online courtesy of the New York Times. Note, this is a different and I think more effective version than the one on the Region 4 DVD.

The Photographs-Thing:

Man Thing from the movie Desktop image Back in March 2004 comixfans.com posted the first image from the film. Click on the image (left) for the original posting and a larger image. Download a desktop I made based on elements of this picture and the poster by clicking the thumbnail (right). There's a "reworked" version at dyddy.com. Check out some others online at Bone Snatcher Pictures.

In mid-February 2005 more images from the film were released to Comics Continuum,

The Mask-Thing:

Looking for a special Halloween costume already? Perhaps a Man-Thing mask based on the movie might appeal.

The Production History-Thing:

Plans changed radically for this project over the years since intentions to make a film about Man-Thing were announced back in 2001. At that time it was intended to be a straight to video release.

Filming was conducted in Sydney, Australia without much in the way of news or promotion. The production wrapped in 2003.

Marvel Studios' Ari Arad (Producer) told The Continuum that the lead character in the upcoming Man-Thing movie would be a combination of prosthetics and computer-generated effects.

From the outset, Man-Thing was intended to be a prosthetic, CG-enhanced creature, Arad told The Continuum during a visit to Marvel Studios So there was a great deal of R&D.... There's positional stuff happening on location, on the set, but at the same time the stuff you don't currently see in camera was always engineered to be enhanced by digital effects. So when you see the movie, hopefully the line is pretty blurry. It's not an all-CG creature.

In January 2004 Arad said that Man-Thing is a bit more of a departure from the original comic than Marvel's other films. It's a horror movie, he said. It's a different telling of the Man-Thing. He's more menacing. Then in April 2004 Arad stated that the film had been completed, with the finished print received and waiting to be tested with audiences, after which an exact release date would be determined. According to Yahoo! Movies in June 2004, the film was rated R for violence, grisly images, language and some sexuality by the MPAA.

For a while the US release date for Man-Thing was going to be Halloween (October 31) 2004, but when Marvel Enterprises released its Second Quarter financial report, Man-Thing was included in the 2005 line-up with a release date 'to be decided'. This suggested a lack of confidence in the film, and made the publishing schedule for the prequel comic series and trade paperback a misfire. During Marvel's second quarter conference call in late July Arad stated That's probably a good thing ...We'll discuss in the next few weeks where we are going with it. . It seems those talks were less than positive, because the film was nowhere to be seen in the release schedule included in Marvel's 2004 Third Quarter financial report , though the Internet Movie Data Base was still showing October 2005 as expected release date in the US. By late 2004 Arad had fallen strangely silent on the film's progress, and it was left up to Fierce Entertainment's Christopher Petzel, a spokesperson from one of the other production companies involved, to comment that he anticipated an early 2005 release date for the film: As far as I am aware Lions Gate is planning a release during the month of April 2005. .

Somewhere along the way the producers decided they had a film that either didn't warrant, or couldn't get US cinema distribution, so suddenly the film was re-branded a SciFi Pictures' film for cable TV. Thus it ended up back where it started as a 'video' release, though over the intervening years the video format died and DVD had taken its place.

Screenwriter Hans Rodionoff was interviewed by Comics Continum about the film shortly before it screened.

The Continuum: Was it a big disappointment that the film didn't make theaters?

Rodionoff: Man-Thing has been a disappointment to me in a number of ways, but the non-theatrical release is the least of them. Under the circumstances, I think it's a good thing that it's premiering on the Sci-Fi Channel.