Combustible Celluloid
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With: Louis Jourdan, Adrienne Barbeau, Ray Wise, David Hess, Nicholas Worth, Don Knight, Al Ruban, Dick Durock, Ben Bates, Nannette Brown, Reggie Batts, Mimi Meyer, Karen Price, Bill Erickson, Dov Gottesfeld, Tommy Madden
Written by: Wes Craven
Directed by: Wes Craven
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 93
Date: 02/19/1982

Swamp Thing (1982)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Green Streak

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Based on a character created by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson, Swamp Thing was made before Alan Moore revitalized the DC comic book series, before Wes Craven made a box office name for himself with A Nightmare on Elm Street and before comic book/superhero movies really found their footing. And so it's a little uneven, teetering between good intentions and bad special effects, sophistication and amateurishness, maturity and childishness. But it's awfully likeable and definitely has a so-bad-it's-good quality.

Ray Wise plays Dr. Alec Holland, whose swamp lab is attacked; he is doused with experimental chemicals, catches fire and jumps into the swamp water to save himself. The combination of those things turns him into the walking vegetable of the title (though it looks more like a rubber suit than anything plant-like). The bad guy, Dr. Anton Arcane (top-billed Louis Jourdan) wants Holland's secret formula and thinks the beautiful Alice Cable (Adrienne Barbeau) has it, so the goons continue to chase her through the swamp.

"Swampy" occasionally helps, but mostly she's aided by a young boy named Jude (Reggie Batts). We get lots of fight scenes (sometimes with other guys in rubber monster suits), a dungeon, a topless bathing scene (in the uncut version only), and lots of corny dialogue. David Hess, from Craven's The Last House on the Left, co-stars as the leader of the goons. A sequel, The Return of Swamp Thing, followed in 1989, but it was a B-movie with nowhere near the aspirations of this one.

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