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Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing (1982) Movie Poster
  •  USA  •    •  91m  •    •  Directed by: Wes Craven.  •  Starring: Louis Jourdan, Adrienne Barbeau, Ray Wise, David Hess, Nicholas Worth, Don Knight, Al Ruban, Dick Durock, Ben Bates, Nannette Brown, Reggie Batts, Mimi Craven, Karen Price.  •  Music by: Harry Manfredini.
        Dr.Alec Holland, hidden away in the depths of a murky swamp, is trying to create a new species - a combination of animal and plant capable of adapting and thriving in the harshest conditions. Unfortunately he becomes subject of his own creation and is transformed... Arcane, desperate for the formula attempts to capture the Swamp Thing. An explosive chase ensues that ultimately ends with a confrontation between Holland and a changed Arcane...

Trailers:

   Length:  Languages:  Subtitles:
 1:32
 
 0:35
 
 

Review:

Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
Image from: Swamp Thing (1982)
It's too bad about the last third of this movie, because it really works pretty well as a comic book movie before the bad guys start drinking the serum and transforming. It takes place in a swamp and throughout most of the movie looks exactly like some of those stupid, stupid exploitation films like Gator Bait and Day of the Woman, but it completely loses track of itself in the third act. The story concerns a scientist who has created a serum that allows stupendous plant growth, which he plans to use to help feed the world, "say by the year 2001 when there are 6 ス billion people on the planet." Needless to say, his desire to do good with something so powerful is not going to fly in a Wes Craven film, so it's not long before a lot of trashy rednecks barge in heavily armed in full fatigues to take it away from him and deliver it to their evil boss.

The best parts of this movie are the scenes at the beginning that show the discovery of what the serum does. At first it looks like some kind of explosive liquid that looks exactly like the serum that Herbert West created in Re-Animator, but soon one scientist notices that the spots on the floorboards where it was flung to show its explosive properties have begun to grow branches. The interest level at this point in the movie is on a step uphill, so it's almost heartbreaking when the last half hour or so gets so bad.

The Swamp Thing himself never looks like anything but a man wearing a rubber suit, but I'm willing to accept that because he was a human being before being affected by the serum, so let's not pick the movie apart because of him. The Day the Earth Stood Still had a great explanation for why the alien that stepped off of the space ship was a well-dressed man, and this movie has a good reason for the humanoid appearance of it's monster, and I have to admit that the special effects were fairly well done for 1982.

I also really liked the character of Jude. He is a really easy kind of character to criticize because he is just some kid that pops up in the movie, running a roadside liquor store, of all things, and operates as some pretty goofy comic relief. But his character is well written, if not tremendously well acted. I've seen this kind of character done badly before, such as in Gator Bait, I Spit on Your Grave, and Wrong Turn.

There are times that the creature in this movie reminds me of King Kong (such as when he's saving the damsel in distress from harm and lavishing affection on her in the wilderness) and there are times when it reminds me of Frankenstein's monster (such as when it reaches for the flowers in the trees, either pleasantly astounded by their beauty or, lest we forget, noting the species of flower that they are since, of course, he is a scientist underneath all of that rubber. I mean plant life).

Where the movie really goes wrong is when it tries to show how the serum affects different people, like what they did (with much better affect) in The Mask years later. Evidently the serum does not make everyone big and strong, but only amplifies their essence. It magnifies what they already are, so if they are a big strong man with no inner strength, apparently they turn into pig-headed midgets in turtlenecks, whereas if they are a big bad guy (like the badly written and badly acted big bad boss man in this movie), they will turn into some kind of photosynthetic werewolf. Ugh.

But even worse, the movie switches from the swampy wilderness to a nightclub that makes absolutely no sense. Craven has already by this point inserted uncharacteristic and completely unnecessary nudity into the movie, but this place is the ridiculous combination of a high-class black tie restaurant and a trashy strip club. Half the patrons are wearing fancy clothes and half are dirty rednecks still wearing the fatigues that they were crawling around the swamp in. And then, of course, there's Alice Cable, there heroine, tied to a chair.

This movie describes the true nuts and bolts of human life as "a million messy miracles," and it believes in that statement in the design of its characters. The swamp thing is not a glorified superhero, he is a man that has been reduced to a plant-like creature, with some human properties and some plant properties, but without the full capabilities of either. This is not exactly what I have come to know and love from Wes Craven (although not quite as uncharacteristic as Music of the Heart, where did THAT come from), but for the most part this movie is able to stand on its own and is a fairly entertaining comic book movie from the early 1980s.

And here's something interesting and a little disturbing ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ according to the credits at the end of the film, the sound effects were created by "Jay's Meat & Provision Co."


Review by Michael DeZubiria from the Internet Movie Database.

 

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