Revisiting Swamp Thing (1982)

Plot: After a violent incident with a special chemical, a research scientist is turned into a swamp plant monster.

Since David reviewed the new 4K release of The Return of Swamp Thing the other day I thought I would take a look back at Wes Craven’s original Swamp Thing from 1982. It’s a mixture of horror, action and sci-fi and despite feeling very much of the time it’s still a lot of fun feeling like a comic brought to life.

The make-up for Swamp Thing is good around the face but you can clearly see it’s an outfit at various points which admittedly makes the film even more entertaining. Adrienne Barbeau is the rather badass Alice Cable who comes to work in the swamp with a group of scientists; she quickly falls for Dr. Alec Holland (Ray Wise). Their romance is cut short when a group of mercenaries show up and Holland gets covered in his own formula and catches fire; he runs into the swamp and is reborn… as Swamp Thing. Dick Durock plays Swamp Thing and manages to bring pathos to a character which should come across as ridiculous.

I mentioned that Alice Cable was badass and that’s because when the mercs shows up she is no shrinking violet and fights them, shoots guns and generally takes no shit; sadly after that scene she spends the rest of the move needing rescued by Swampy but she’s still awesome.

David Hess (Last House on the Left) always made for a chilling antagonist and he plays the henchman Ferret managing to be suitably nasty but he certainly gets what he deserves. The main villain is Octopussy’s Louis Jourdan who plays Arcane and wants to harness Swamp Thing’s power; by the end he turns into a very unconvincing wolf creature which admittedly does ruin the movie somewhat.

In terms of action we get shoot-outs and explosions with Swampy throwing bad guys around like they’re made of paper which never gets boring. It’s mostly well-paced too with a 90 minute runtime keeping things tight.

Overall, Swamp Thing is silly fun with a decent cast who play it serious and for the most part it works giving us some pulpy entertainment and enough action to keep things moving. Some of the make-up/costumes aren’t the greatest and the wolf creature fails to convince but that’s all part of the charm.