Sunday, July 13, 2014

Swamp Thing - The Motion Picture(1982)

My love for this film only increases every time I kick back and fire up the ol' VCR.
It's not a great movie, don't get me wrong. I'm a filmmaker, and I can see the low-budget decisions and "who cares?" compromises that left it what it is..
But...  I like the goofy B-Movie that we did get. I like the tone of it, and it's earnest intentions. Then there's Adrienne Barbeau. I grew up in the 70's with Maude, and I love Adrienne Barbeau.
"I should rub those - you'll feel better.."

Back to the movie, it was some thrill for me as an eleven year-old boy, who had just discovered his new favorite comic book character(#1 of Saga of the Swamp Thing), to discover he had his own movie too. Keep in mind, this was 1982, and at this point, not even Batman had a movie(that took him seriously), leaving Swamp Thing and Superman as the two DC comic characters with films. By it's simple fact of existing, it was pretty special. Then we watched it - sure it's got bad decisions, goofy writing, and a whole ton of reasons not to like it but how could we not like it? It was a Swamp Thing movie, for better or worse - and we just loved it. My buddy Bill Murphy and my brother Pad and I all watched it together - damn fun day, with giddy laughs and mad love for Adrienne Barbeau's "Cable". I was sad ARCANE wasn't an evil old man but Louis Jordan's presence does make it deliciously "B", as movies go. At least he's European.

Only as an adult did I understand the decision to change Linda Holland to a sister, and Cable to a female love interest. It works for me now, and the movie is ultimately another version of Beauty and the Beast. That's cool.
We even liked the rubber suit. Yup.
"I think I look great, and you can all fuck yourselves."
Sure it's wrinkly and obvious a couple times but that's Swamp Thing running around - and in a real swamp!! The cinematography is actually pretty good, and some of the far-off scenes of Swamp Thing roaming the shadowy bayou are really impressive. It's just fun to think of Wes Craven and his gang fighting to get great shots of that rubber suit by day - I wish I could go back in time and join the shooting crew. I bet they cursed a lot, and laugh plenty looking back.
I'll watch the sequel again soon, but that one's a trickier sell, even for this Swampy-Super-Fan.

Swamp Thing's co-creator, Len Wein has written a really cool reboot film script, and if the property ever escapes development hell, it'd be a blast to see him up there for a third time. I had a great chat with him in New York about the script, and do really hope it happens, as it could generate a new TV show or groovy sequels.
I see a lot of CGI in any future Swampy iteration - which might be bloody amazing, but I do love my cheapy analog mockery of a man movie. It takes me back to boyhood, and a very different filmmaking climate.

Simply put, Swamp Thing is a really charming little monster movie. You'll smile if you watch it - trust me.


No comments:

Post a Comment