The films that slip through the cracks often have the most inter­est­ing sto­ries. Case in point: The Guardian. Despite hav­ing a note­wor­thy pedi­gree — William Friedkin in the director’s chair, the back­ing of Universal Pictures — the result­ing film didn’t click with audi­ences and has slipped into obscu­ri­ty in the years that fol­lowed. The rea­sons that led to this unfor­tu­nate state of affairs are many and intrigu­ing… and Scream Factory has done a nice job of shed­ding light on them in their new spe­cial edi­tion of The Guardian.

Guardian-bluThe trans­fer lives up to the film’s styl­ish pho­tog­ra­phy, deliv­er­ing a rich­ly col­ored image that does well with the fre­quent night pho­tog­ra­phy. The audio sticks with a loss­less pre­sen­ta­tion of the orig­i­nal 2.0 stereo mix but it’s pret­ty robust, deliv­er­ing some punchy sound effects and music through­out.

As for extras, Scream Factory has kit­ted this title out with an array of inter­views. For exam­ple, there are a trio of inter­views car­ried from a pri­or U.K. edi­tion of this film that were pro­duced by the crew at Severin Films:

William Friedkin (17:30 min): the direc­tor dis­cuss­es how he did the film as a favor to for­mer agent-turned-pro­duc­er Joe Wizan and how he tried to make the film into a Grimm’s fairy tale for con­tem­po­rary times. He also tells a fun sto­ry about a real-life night­mare expe­ri­ence with a nan­ny that drew him to this film.

Jenny Seagrove (13 min.): She has an inter­est­ing and nuanced take on the film, which she enjoyed doing as a sort of adven­ture. She admires Friedkin but admits the film didn’t work, dis­cussing what her ide­al take on it would have been.

Stephen Volk (21 min.): the writer gives an inter­est­ing por­trait of the script’s trou­bled and con­vo­lut­ed devel­op­ment. Along the way, he reveals what Sam Raimi’s ver­sion of the film would have been like, the bizarre ele­ments that came from Friedkin and how and why his work on the film drove him into a ner­vous break­down.

Guardian-02Scream Factory has also added a quin­tet of new fea­turettes to flesh out the per­spec­tives expressed in the ear­lier inter­views:

Dwier Brown (22 min.): he talks about how Friedkin was bril­liant but moody, which led to the actors lean­ing on each oth­er as a sup­port sys­tem. He also reveals how much of his dia­logue was looped and tells tales of his bat­tle with the film’s tree mon­ster.

Gary Swanson (10 min.): he’s only briefly in the film so he talks main­ly about his rela­tion­ship with men­tor Lee Strasberg and his work on Vice Squad. However, he does notch up a fun sto­ry about his audi­tion.

Natalija Nogulich (11:30 min.): she shares fond mem­o­ries of her cast­mates and Swanson, reveals how she was cast and talks about how she still hears about the film at con­ven­tions.

Jack Hues (7 min.): he frames his expe­ri­ence on the film as a nice oppor­tu­ni­ty to do some­thing after putting his group Wang Chung on hia­tus. He saw the film as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to exer­cise his clas­si­cal train­ing and prais­es Friedkin’s approach to scor­ing.

Guardian-03Matthew Mungle (13 min.): this FX design­er breaks down how sev­er­al dif­fer­ent effects were done, prais­es Seagrove for her patience with exten­sive body make­up and reveals the joys and ago­nies of keep­ing up with Friedkin’s impul­sive ways.

The extras are round­ed out by a brief ani­mat­ed gallery of behind-the-sce­nes pho­tos and a the­atri­cal trail­er done in a “rock ‘em, shock ‘em” style.

All in all, this is a good spe­cial edi­tion with a pletho­ra of fea­turettes that go a long way towards explain­ing the main feature’s eccen­tric­i­ties.

To read Schlockmania’s film review for The Guardian, click here.