Time for a little fun with comic book characters. First up, the Wes Craven directed DC comic inspired Swamp Thing followed by a look at the Marvel comic inspired Man-Thing, which is basically the same character made by a competing studio. (Nerd note: I no nothing about comics so I deferred to my friend Susan for that bit of knowledge. For more comic knowledge and pics of a hottie, check out her website – The Girly Nerd. End shameless plug)
Adrienne Barbeau (Creepshow, The Fog) plays a government agent woman who insists on wearing high heels into the swamp and taking wildy inappropriate swamp baths. Upon investing a top-secret project taking place in, you guessed it, the swamp she falls for Dr. Alec Holland. She does this because it is the early ‘80s and it was the thing for women to do (but not without a bit of a fight to show her independence first) and also it helps the plot an awful lot. Because a few moments later, the evil Dr. Arcane blows up the joint, resulting in Dr. Holland turning into, wait for it, a swamp monster. A swamp monster in love.
The special effects are pretty cheesy by modern standards, but I will still take them over CGI any day. So, what, the swamp thing looks just like a dude in a rubber suit. Rubber suits are scarier than computer graphics almost 100% of the time. If you think of this as a homage to the sci-fi flicks of yesteryear then it is quite easy to appreciate the effects and the fun that Craven had with this campy story. It’s a feel good comic book movie that does exactly what it sets out to do.
As a kid, I found this movie frightening. Watching it again, I have no idea why. There are really no scares of any kind. There is, however, a surprising amount of exposed booby for a movie rated PG. At least ‘70s / ’80s horror icon Barbeau had right kind of body to be shown off. Swamp monster or not, she was one fine lady.
The scenery shot in the swamp is beautiful to look at and gives the movie it’s own world, fitting nicely with the mythology. I can’t imagine it was fun for the crew and actors to be stuck in a swamp, but those are the kinds of sacrifices needed for a good film. As far as Craven is concerned, this movie is nowhere near his best work. He already had Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes under his belt by the time this one came around and Nightmare on Elm Street just a couple years away.
Still, there is a certain charm embedded in this film (Transition wipes, atmosphere, cheese, comic factor) that add up to a worthwhile view. It’s hard not to like this one. Of course, I know nothing about comics so this movie could be a travesty when compared to the source material. But who cares? It’s supposed to be cheesy fun.
Snore Factor: ZZZ