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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Swamp Thing (1982) Horror (ish)

Swamp Thing (1982) - It is 1982 I am sure I am in my Chinos and Members Only jacket, getting stoned and heading off with friends to the Neponset Drive-In for a fun double feature and one of the movies is Swamp Thing. As is often the case the blurred memories of the past and the present do not always smoothly fit together. This was my experience watching this movie. I am sure, in its time I thought this movie was fun. I have always had fond feeling for it. Now it could be as a senior in high school the small (and I mean small) glimpse of Adrienne Barbeau' s assets was enough to create such memories. It could be the combination of friends, the Drive In, Pot and alcohol created the right conditions for positive reflection. Whatever it was it is no longer present for me. This movie was soooooo.... hard to watch. Miss Barbeau plays Alice Cable a government scientist/agent checking up on Dr Alec Holland (Ray Wise) who is attempting to grow plants that will survive in the harshest of climates. Hidden in the swamps for some reason, in an underground bunker that looks like a shack from the outside, but has a bunker below it he works and quickly in the movie has a breakthrough. The tone is strange early in the movie with the introduction of villains, Dr. Arcane (Louis Jourdan) and his henchmen. They are very cartoon evil while Adrienne Barbeau and Ray Wise side seem to be playing things very straight. The bad guys evil for the sake of evil are looking a for Holland's breakthrough to exploit it. They take the notebooks detailing the experiments and Holland is covered in his formula and runs out on fire into the swamp to become the creature. Alice escapes with the final vital notebook and most of the rest of the movie is the absolutely silly soldier guys hunting for her in the swamps of South Carolina, while the swamp thing protects her. Eventually the monster is captured and his formula used by both Dr. Arcane and a henchman. Arcane becomes a hairy beast who has the final fight with Swamp Thing. In this there is a lot of explosions, capturing and loosing of Alice, a romance sort of between Swamp Thing and Alice, ridiculous looking stunts where you see the landing pads are pads, Swamp Thing healing ability, silly rubber suits for the monsters, and when it is all over a feeling of regret that I had such fond memories of this film. Director Wes Craven was in a very creative time for him, between the the late seventies, The Hills Have Eyes (1977), and just before the great A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), but he seems to have lost his way on this one. It is not a very good movie.
Rating (4.2)

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