A scientist working on plant growth deep in swamp land,
makes a startling discovery. A power-mad businessman gatecrashes
the celebrations, steals the formula and kills everyone involved
in the project. The scientist is dumped in the swamp, but
explosive reactions with the newly discovered chemical causes
a metamorphosis into a creature, part plant, part human...
I'm certain the cast realised Swamp Thing was supposed
to be tongue-in-cheek, this is not so evident as it is in
the sequel. The impression is given that the attempt here
was to emulate a 1950s B-movie for a more modern age. The
story is adapted from an old D.C. Comics series, but more
closely follows the style of the horror E.C. Comics.
in case the viewing audience doesn't get it, the humour is
occasionally exaggerated. The scientist creature stands in
the swamp and gives it plenty of "Grruarghh!!" to no one in
particular. There's dialogue like, "Some of the men think
it's one of them abdominal snowmens." When the unscrupulous
businessman tests the formula on one of his henchmen, the
individual transmogrifies into a rabid version of the Doormouse
from Alice in Wonderland. But he soon gets his comeuppance
when he trys the potion himself and turns into a fanged furry
biped. Very dangerous he is too; anyone who sees him would
surely die laughing.
Barbeau, who was great as the sultry-voiced lighthouse D.J.
in John Carpenter's The Fog, Plays Cable, sent to the
swamp laboratory to observe progress - although it's never
quite explained in what capacity. When the others are killed,
she escapes, only to be recaptured, escape, captured, escape
and captured. As an encore she escapes again. Did I mention
she gets captured? Well, you get the picture. The purpose
of all this nonsense is so that our vegetarian hero can rear-up
and throw a few men around. She spends the final scenes running
around in her underwear, trying not to bubble-over - if you
get my drift.
don't exactly have to be among Mensa's elite to follow the
plot; in fact, you'll be hard-pressed to find one. That's
fine; the film achieves exactly what it set out to, finding
its niche and pushing no boundaries.
Thing was written and directed by one Wes Craven, who
moved on to better things with A Nightmare on Elm Street,
and Scream, to name but two. It's probably telling
that there's no interview or commentary from the man himself;
he's probably trying to forget it ever happened.
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