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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Swamp Thing (1982)

Swamp Thing is the Wes Craven adaptation of the Len Wein comic books of the same name.  While its tight budget definitely shows, I've always enjoyed this film and have watched it several times over the years.  The basic story is about the botanical experiments of Dr. Alec Holland.  Naturally, they go awry and a lab explosion turns him into the "Swamp Thing."  Rival scientist Anton Arcane then plots to capture Holland and learn his secrets.
Adrienne Barbeau [Creepshow, The Fog, Carnivale] and stuntman Dick Durock are a modern day Beauty and the Beast in Swamp Thing.  They are the heart and soul of this film.  It would be dead in the water without them.  Barbeau plays Alice with charm, warmth and a smidge of toughness.  Durok's "Swamp Thing" is perfect.  His height and the way be embodies the swamp suit are first rate.  Like King Kong before him, Durock also shows a great deal of tenderness that wins over the heart of the audience.
French actor Louis Jourdan plays the evil Dr. Arcane.  Personally, I would have picked a different actor to fill this role but Jourdan is what we've got to work with.  He's fine but not nearly menacing enough for my tastes.
Kudos also to Harry Manfredini [Friday the 13th] who wrote a luscious score for Swamp Thing.  It has a classic feel to it like Psycho or Jaws which greatly enhances the viewer's experience of the film.  
The two negatives of Swamp Thing are the pace of the film and much of the special effects.  There are segments of it that are simply too slow, especially toward the beginning.  Furthermore, with the exception of the Swamp Thing's make-up, the rest of the effects look a bit hokey.  Thankfully, none of my favorite make-up men worked on this project.  Where is Tom Savini when you needed him?  Oh well, I guess he couldn't do every project in the 1980's.
In the end, the goods outweigh the bads.  Swamp Thing is a cult classic that is definitely worth your time.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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