Monday, April 22, 2019

YouTube Theatre: Swamp Thing (1982)

With a brand new Swamp Thing series bowing on DC Universe next month, what better time than now to revisit the first live-action appearance of Len Wein & Berni Wrightson's classic monster.

"Swamp Thing" was released in February 1982, produced by Ben Melniker & Michael Uslan, who'd later make a cottage industry out of Batman by kicking off a new series of films for the Caped Crusader seven years later. Oh, by the way, a month before "Batman" was released, Melniker & Uslan served up a sequel to "Swamp Thing".

Described by critics as campy, if only because of a homage to the melodramatic serials of the Golden Age, "Swamp Thing" adapts Wein & Wrightson's original story, making only one cosmetic change in turning Federal agent Matt Cable into Alice Cable (Adrienne Barbeau, ex-Maude) in order to give the titular creature (Dick Durock) a romantic interest, although Swamp Thing's canonical girlfriend, Abby Arcane, would show up in the sequel.

Alec Holland (Ray Wise) and his sister, Linda, have developed a miracle bio-restorative formula. Anton Arcane (Louis Jourdan) wants the formula at all costs. If you've read the story in the comics, you know how this goes.

Rather than show the movie, which is available in its entirety on YouTube, including Barbeau's nude scene, we'll give you a trailer.

Writer-director Wes Craven is better known for darker horror films, such as the "Nightmare on Elm St." series, which devolved into camp comedy late in its run, and "The Last House on The Left". In fact, the first "Nightmare" followed "Swamp Thing" two years later.

Rating: B-.

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