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Gator Bait - Gator Bait(DVD) [Artus Films - 2018]

From the early 1970s, Gator Bait (Les Marais De La Haine) is a classic- if fairly tame example of the Hicksploitation genre. Here on French cult film label Artus Films, as part of their Redneck series, is a recent region two DVD reissue of the film- featuring both English & French languages cuts of the film, and a few extras.

Before we get into the film itís self & the DVD- itís worth mentioning the packaging of this release- as itís something a little different from the standard DVD case.  I guess itís best to describe the case as an oversized four-panel digipak- this takes in original poster artwork & stills- all making for something rather distinctive looking- let's hope Artus utilizes this type of case in the future.

Made in 1974  & filmed completely in the Louisianan swamps Gator Bait was the 7th film made by Texas producer & director Ferd Sebastian. With his wife Beverly writing the films original story & screenplay. I guess youíd say the films best described as a lo-fi, but well-shot swamp-bound action film- with touches of drama & the odd comedic moments.

The films centred around grown-up wild child Desiree Thibodeau(Claudia Jennings) who hunts Gators in swamps. One day she has an altercation with the local sheriff son- Billy Boy, whose somewhat a bumbling idiot. During the encounter he accidentally shoots/ killers his friend Ben- who is the son of local bearded madman. Billy Boy goes back to his dad, and informs it was Desiree was the one who fired & killed Ben- pretty soon he hooks up with the bearded madman, and his kin to go hunting for Desiree.

As the film unfolds we get lots of speedboat chases & action, moody swamp footage, and some and-to- hand fighting. Mixed with lots of bickering & southern banter. The first part of the film sees the party looking for Desiree- they find her family, and promptly attempt to rape then shoot her younger sister. The second half finds Desiree hunting & stalking the group down, and this part very much brought to mind a female take on First Blood- though itís fairly bloodless, featuring traps & shootings, but without any of the red stuff. There are moments of treat & unpleasant-ness suggested throughout the film, but aside from distant nude bating, a whipping, and Desiree revealing shorts & low cropped top- the film really is rather tame & PG.

This new reissue features either the original English cut of the film( with turn-off French subtitles) and French language version. The print looks good enough, nicely showing off the classy filmed handheld shots of the swamps. Extra wise we get a forty- four minute new feature about the film & redneck films- this is in French, so sadly I couldnít make out much of this- it's looks like Artus has once again put a lot of  care into the feature- it would be great to see them maybe putting English sub-titles on these features in the future, as it would be neat for us none french speakers. Other extras here seemingly got brought over from an early 2000 DVD's release of the film- we get an 18-minute making of & questions Ďní answers session with Ferd & Beverly  Sebastian- this is in English with French subtitles- it's most interesting & informative feature. Next, we get another ten or so interview with the pair in English(with French subtitles)- this was less interesting, as it just seemed to see the pair talking about becoming reborn Christians & running a greyhound shelter. Lastly, we get french & English trailers for the film.


I went into Gator Bait expecting a lot more sleaze, flesh, torture & unpleasantness, so I was more than a little underwhelmed. But if you go into this expecting more of a swamp-bound 1970ís action film, with suggestions of sleaze- then you will get more from it than I did. Anyway, this is certainly a nice presentation of the film- with the distinctive packaging, good enough print, and a fair selection of extras.

Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5

Roger Batty
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