Swamp Thing (1982)

swamp thing poster 1982 movie
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 5/10

Early super-hero movie, some nice panoramic shots, Jude is kind of funny but serves little purpose

Cheesy special effects, bad script

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Swamp Thing

Studio:  Swampfilms

Genre(s):  Comic Book/Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  February 19, 1982

MPAA Rating:  PG


If I hadn’t just met you and you were a pile of green muck, I could kiss you

Scientist Alec Holland (Ray Wise) has been betrayed.  His sister Linda (Nannette Brown) has been killed and an experimental plant chemical now has transformed him into a beast (Dick Durock).  The man responsible is named Anton Arcane (Louis Jordan) and Swamp Thing is out for revenge.  Swamp Thing, Alice Cable (Adrienne Barbeau), and a young man named Jude (Reggie Batts) must get Holland’s notes to the military and stop Arcane forever.

Directed by Wes Craven, Swamp Thing received so-so reviews (some commending Wes Craven on the genre change) upon its released but quickly gained a cult following through multiple cable viewings.  It was followed by a low budget sequel called Return of the Swamp Thing in 1989, and a television series for the USA Network.  The film was adapted by the Swamp Thing comic for Swamp Thing Annual #1.


Really…a guy in a rubber mask with a sword…the end? Really?!

Swamp Thing is a big change from Wes Craven.  It didn’t have the scares of The Hills Have Eyes or the gore of The Last House on the Left.  This took a relatively small comic book character and threw him with a hot B-Movie director and scream star Adrianne Barbeau.

The result was mixed.  Swamp Thing looks pretty lame at points with his very, very rubber suit.  Arcane after he transforms possibly looks worse.  The action never seems to really peak (a scene like the boat scene just seems to go on forever and never really wows you as a viewer).  The whole movie has just a really cheap feel to it.  Craven does compensate from some nice panoramic shots of the swamp and far away shots of Swamp Thing which remind me of the Roger Patterson Bigfoot video with a more naturalistic approach.


Here comes trouble

The movie doesn’t seem to give Swamp Thing enough time to develop as a character.  Ray Wise and Adrienne Barbeau have a very unromantic trip to the swamp, unrealistically fall in love (well he has been living in the swamp with his sister so I have to give Alec some lack of restraint), and he gets transformed.  From then it is Alice running from Arcane’s men and almost getting caught over and over again.

The film also did stir some controversy when it was released on DVD.  It had listed the film as PG but had the scene where Adrienne Barbeau is enjoying the cool swamp in a topless bath.  In 1982, that could fly (pre-PG-13 rating), but the studio had to re-issue the DVD so some versions have the scene and others have edited versions of it.


Oh Swamp Thing…you are my favorite vegetable

Swamp Thing was good in that it provided a super-hero niche that other than Superman, which was already failing at this point, was not being made in Hollywood.  It fails in that it doesn’t have the big budgets that super-hero films get today.  The result is a cheap looking B-Movie that is more fun to laugh at now then actually enjoy.  There has been a lot of talk of a new Swamp Thing movie lately and many have considered adopting Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing version (which was released just after this film) as the source…I hope this actually occurs.  I think a new Swamp Thing could surprise a lot of people.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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