‘Science transformed him into a monster. Love changed him even more!’
Swamp Thing is a 1982 American science fiction action film about a scientist that is turned into a good-natured monster after an accident.
Written and directed by Wes Craven (Scream franchise; A Nightmare on Elm Street; The Hills Have Eyes; Last House on the Left) based on the Vertigo/DC Comics character of the same name created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson. Produced by Benjamin Melniker and Michael E. Uslan.
The movie was followed by a sequel, The Return of Swamp Thing, in 1989.
The soundtrack score was composed by Harry Manfredini (Friday the 13th franchise).
The Swampfilms production stars Louis Jourdan, Adrienne Barbeau, Ray Wise, David Hess, Nicholas Worth, Don Knight, Al Ruban and Dick Durock.
“There’s never any doubt that Swamp Thing is a guy in an ill-fitting rubber suit, and Craven doesn’t do enough to transform such anachronisms from a liability into a strength. The tongue-in-cheek production design — from knowingly cheesy wipes to gorgeous exteriors of the swamp itself — looks great, especially on DVD, but as soon as the title character turns up, this is basically a hokey-looking nostalgia exercise.” All Movie
“Craven was looking to attract the attention of the big studios at the time and prove he could make a Hollywood action film. The result is a mishmash of several elements. It’s entertaining enough but never really stands out. Swamp Thing does contain enough explosions, action and adventure to keep you interested throughout.” Backseat Mafia
“The special effects for Swamp Thing are kind of what you’d expect for a relatively low budget early ’80s movie. Swamp Thing’s rubbery costume looks awful (it looks better when it is shot from afar), but as bad as Swamp Thing looks, Arcane’s transformation into a dog-wolf-like thing is even worse…it does kind of remind me of the monsters from my favorite bad movie The Pit, however.” Basement Rejects
” …Swamp Thing isn’t a very good film, but it is a lot of fun. It has a lot of flaws, and its pacing and poor special effects will put off a lot of modern-day fans of superhero films. It provides an interesting look into the evolution of comic book films and the filmmaking of Craven himself.” Blueprint: Review
“Wes Craven does well directing the comic book action, despite the aforementioned budgetary and effects issues that I believe the film overcomes anyway. There are a few neat, comic book-style transitions between scenes, including wipes in the form of ooze dripping down the screen and a jagged “explosion wipe”. […] Swamp Thing isn’t nearly on the same production level as most of the comic books movies made these days, but it is a very enjoyable film…” Life Between Frames
“The Swamp Thing costume is poorly fitting […] The plot consists of much running back and forth in the swamp and a series of tedious repetitions on Cable nearly being captured by Arcane and men, rescued by Swamp Thing and then captured again. The unexciting action sequences consist almost entirely of people being thrown through the air in slow motion.” Moria
“As much fun as this film can be (and it often is), it’s equally often difficult to ignore that Swamp Thing ultimately is, at core, a rubber-suit monster movie.” Pop Matters
“The movie occupies familiar ground, but it has a freshness and winsome humor to fit it, and Craven moves confidently through the three related genres he’s stealing from (monster movies, mad scientist movies, and transformation movies in which people turn into strange beings). There’s beauty in this movie, if you know where to look for it.” RogerEbert.com
“Perfectly capturing a comic book feel (with rubber masks and all!) this is a pretty fun horror/sci-fi that’s filled with low scale (but pleasing enough) action sequences, lots of hokey effects (especially Jourdan’s creature mask that looks like a lion mixed with a bear) and (of course) Barbeau’s bathing scene…” The Video Graveyard
“Wes Craven’s film adaptation of the cult character fails miserably in coming close to the one created by Wein & Wrightson. Despite this, however, Craven’s Swamp Thing is a fun film in its own way — one just shouldn’t see it expecting a film presentation of all that which made the original comic book character so good. Craven himself claims an affinity to the film that belays the problems he faced making it.” A Wasted Life
Plot [contains spoilers]:
After a scientist is mysteriously killed while assisting a top-secret bioengineering project in the swamps of the American South, government worker Alice Cable arrives at the bogs to serve as his replacement. Alice immediately notices that one of the team’s swamp sensors has malfunctioned, but her guide, Charlie, introduces her to Harry Ritter, the project supervisor. Charlie tells Ritter a rumour about an evil paramilitary leader named Anton Arcane, who intends to hijack their operation. While Charlie briefs Ritter on the situation, Alice introduces herself to Dr Linda Holland and her brother, lead scientist Dr Alec Holland, who takes her on a tour.
When Alice mentions the broken sensor, Ritter reveals that her predecessor was attempting to repair it when he was killed. The group hears a loud bang and returns to the laboratory, where Linda shows off her recent breakthrough: a glowing, plant-based concoction with explosive properties. Alec then shows Alice a hybrid plant and animal cell, his prized discovery.
Later, Alec notices that droplets of Linda’s formula spawned rapid plant growth on the surfaces they touched. Overcome with excitement, Alec kisses Alice before sending her to retrieve Ritter in the control room. Suddenly, a group of paramilitary agents attack her and raid Alec’s laboratory. A man resembling Ritter steps forward, but pulls off his mask and reveals himself as Arcane.
When Arcane shoots Linda for attempting to escape with the formula, Alec grabs the beaker, but trips, causing the spilt chemicals to set him on fire. He dives into the swamp outside as a series of explosions burst from the water.
At dawn, a henchman captures Alice and attempts to drown her in the swamp, but a creature drags her ashore and chases two of Arcane’s men. Meanwhile, in his mansion, Arcane and his secretary realize that Alec’s most recent notebook is missing from the plunder. Alice runs to a nearby gas station to telephone her employers for help. But Arcane’s men arrive instead and chase her through the forest.
Suddenly, the Swamp Thing appears and again scares the pursuers away, immune to their gunfire. Once alone, Alice attempts to escape the monster, and it reluctantly trudges back into the trees. Jude finds Alice and leads her to a nearby cabin to change clothes. Later, Arcane instructs his men to find Alice, hoping she will lead them to the creature.
Alice and Jude boat around the swamp until they reach the dock near the laboratory wreckage. She spies the Swamp Thing crouched among the ruins, holding Linda’s locket, and quickly returns to the boat, vowing to bring Alec’s final notebook to Washington, D.C. Minutes later, multiple boats of Arcane’s men close in on Alice and Jude, luring the creature from its hiding place among the reeds.
The Swamp Thing engineers a boat crash. Arcane orders his lead henchman, Bruno, to continue the search. Moments after instructing Jude to escape with Alec’s notebook, Alice hears the boy cry out in distress, but she is kidnapped before she can reply. The Swamp Thing finds Jude’s lifeless body and revives him. Jude realizes the creature is a friend of Alice’s and gives it the notebook. On Arcane’s boat, Alice throws her kidnapper, Ferret, overboard and escapes.
Once on land, Alice bumps into the Swamp Thing, which calls out her name. Ferret chops off the Swamp Thing’s arm with a machete, but the creature easily snaps Ferret’s neck, causing Alice to faint. She awakens in the monster’s embrace as it presents her with an orchid plant. The Swamp Thing speaks to her, and she recognizes it as Alec. Unfortunately, Arcane’s men have followed her, capture the Swamp Thing in a net, and retrieve the final notebook.
That evening, Arcane invites Alice to a formal dinner party celebrating his duplication of the Hollands’ formula. Moments after giving a toast to prospective immortality, Arcane reveals that he secretly slipped the first dose to Bruno, who begins to convulse. The hulking man’s body shrinks to half its size as he grows pointed ears and a misshapen skull. Arcane locks him in a dungeon alongside the Swamp Thing.
After locking Alice in the dungeon with them, Arcane drinks a glass of the formula and transforms into a hairy, boar-like beast. Sometime later, Alice and the Swamp Thing emerge from the water, followed closely by Arcane’s monster, which stabs Alice with a sword.
The Swamp Thing revives Alice who alerts him to Arcane, whom he ultimately kills. Alice pleads for him to stay but refuses but promises to return to her soon. Moments later, Jude emerges from the trees and they watch the Swamp Thing lumber away through the marsh.
91 minutes (US theatrical version)
93 minutes (international version)
Charleston, South Carolina, and nearby Johns Island.
The film was adapted in comic form as Swamp Thing Annual #1.
Trailer (German) 1080p HD:
Ten amazing facts about Swamp Thing (1982):
Full US version of the film free to watch online [may vary in different regions]: