Man-Thing (2005) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Manuel "Man" Thing, younger brother of Jose "Swamp" Thing, is probably one of comicdom's greatest Latino characters.

OK, maybe not.

I'm not too sure who or what he really is. I've never read any Man-Thing comics, and this movie, which is theoretically based on those comics, doesn't really explain much about the origin of the Unjolly Green Giant. We do know that he is a guardian of the swamp, and his origin has something to do with greedy, materialistic rednecks polluting his swamp.

I did manage to infer that he used to live in Crystal Lake, because in the opening scene he kills a young couple after they have sex in a remote place. Well, we don't actually see him do it, but we know it was his handiwork. Trust me.

We also know that, in a movie named after him, he does not make an appearance until approximately 1:15 into the story. That may seem odd to you but, given that he looks like an octopus covered with spinach (above), that was probably the correct decision.

Before Thingy's arrival, the movie is a story about a new sheriff in some local backwater bayou town which seems to be accessible only by boat. He is investigating some mysterious murders, and getting caught in a turf war between money-grubbing corporate movie rednecks and their sworn movie enemies, movie hippies and movie Native Americans. Like all movie Native Americans, these tribes possess the deep wisdom of their ancestors, who used phrases like "spirit guardian" and "the nexus of all reality." Sweet! I wish my ancestors had talked like that, but they were Polish, and they were more comfortable with terms like "accordion" and "7-10 split." There isn't much potential for ancient wisdom there. I mean, can I call the time-space continuum something like "the accordion of all reality" because it collapses upon itself? No. It sounds silly. So it's pretty cool that ancient Native Americans used four star vocab words like "nexus." In their ancient wisdom, they were preparing for the verbal section of the SATs generations before there even was an SAT.

We have much to learn from them.

I do sometimes wonder why, with their ancient wisdom and deep knowledge of vocabulary, they can't come up with a more appropriate term for themselves than Native American. According to the OED, I am also a native American - "Pertaining to, or connected with, one by the fact of one having been born there; that was the place or scene of one's birth, as in native country." Yet, despite my native American status, I have neither ancient wisdom nor fancy-schmancy SAT vocab words. I blame it on the sea. You see, the ancestors of the Seminoles migrated to North America from Asia via a land bridge, while mine migrated here from Europe by boat. If it were not for Captain Fokkin' Stubing, I too would have ancient wisdom. Just my damned luck.

Anyway, the alleged point here is that movie Native Americans have gone through an official political correction in the past fifty years. In the 1950s, they were all evil, whoopin', war-paint-wearin', firewater-drinkin' savages and we knew to root against them because they raped and killed well-scrubbed, hard working pioneers and their cute blonde children with perfect teeth. After the metamorphosis, movie Native Americans now possess fancy vocab and ancient wisdom from their ancestors, which their ancestors in turn got from the hawk and the panther and SAT prep courses. We know to root for them because they embody respect for nature and never fail to oppose money-grubbing rednecks with toothless blonde children.

Similarly, we know that all white Americans from outside of Los Angeles are hard-cussing mobster Northerners or toothless redneck Southerners who think about nothing but making money. Just as all Native Americans in the movies are good, all corporations in the movies are bad, despite the fact that most big movies are made by corporations. It's a subset of the Mudd's Robot's Paradox. In most businesses, making money is the raison d'etre. In the movie business, making money is a bad thing.

As evidenced by the making of Man-Thing.

This film was lensed in 2003 with a production budget estimated by various sources from $20 to $30 million. With a budget like that there must once have been plans to release it theatrically, but it languished on the shelves at Artisan until their catalogue was acquired by Lion's Gate. Lion's Gate's executives must have realized it was a total turkey, so they decided to cut their losses and foisted it off on the Sci-Fi channel, which is desperate for original programming.

Despite the massive cost, there is nobody in the cast whom you have ever heard of or seen before, and probably nobody you will ever hear from again, unless you are Australian. The only semi-identifiable face belongs to veteran Aussie character actor Jack Thompson, who plays the older of father and son bad guys. The star, the sheriff who is trying to sort out the murders, is supposed to be from Louisiana or some other swampy and all-American place but, for reasons never explained by the script, he speaks with an Australian accent. The rest of the characters in the film seem to have learned their Louisiana dialects from endless viewings of Vivien Leigh in A Streetcar Named Desire. You probably noticed above that the film includes Seminoles, and that they seem to be far from their actual stomping grounds. I guess that means Man-Thing is supposed to take place in the Everglades, despite the fact that it looks like Louisiana, is filled with pseudo-Louisiana dialects, and shows people drilling for oil. 

As for the tentacled spinach himself, Man-Thing's best moment comes when he uses one of his many tentacles to whack some guy in the man-thing. It must be what wrestling announcers would call a trademark finishing move.

Bottom line? It's a monster movie with absolutely nothing going for it except the actual monster. Moreover, the monster itself looks cheesy, has no back story, and doesn't appear on camera until the film is nearly over.



  • No significant features
  • The transfer is anamorphically enhanced widescreen (16x9), and looks good.



Imogen Bailey is seen topless in the requisite horror movie opening scene.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews on file

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a D. It looks fairly good, but it's a monster movie with absolutely nothing going for it except the actual monster. Moreover, the monster itself looks cheesy, has no back story, and doesn't appear on camera until the film is nearly over.

Return to the Movie House home page