Twenty years before Spider-Man first appeared on the big screen, The Swamp Thing, a character from the world of DC Comics, appeared in the live action movie that bears his name. Wes Craven, the man who would later unleash Freddy Krueger on an unsuspecting world, wrote and directed this science fiction thriller that was set in and around a marshy swamp.
Dr. Alec Holland (Ray Wise) and his sister Linda (Nannette Brown) are developing a method to combine plant and animal tissues when Dr. Anton Arcane (Louis Jourdan) and his henchmen confront them. In the struggle for Holland’s research, Linda is killed and Alec is doused in his own chemical formulas and starts to burn. To save his life, Dr. Holland then throws himself into the nearby swamp and disappears.
A short time later, Government Agent Alice Cable (the beautiful Adrienne Barbeau) finds Alec Holland, but he has been transformed into a hulking green plant creature. Still possessing his human mind and emotions, Alec and Alice start a kind of “Beauty and the Beast” relationship right there in the swamp. Arcane isn’t content to leave them alone, however, and he wants to use the Swamp Thing to recreate Dr. Holland’s chemical formula.
A cult classic from 1982, The Swamp Thing is based on one of DC Comics’ lesser-known characters, but the film definitely is a lot of fun. It is strange, though, to see an established actor such as Louis Jourdan in a horror film, but he throws himself in the villain role with skill and class. Jourdan even gets his own dramatic transformation scene after he drinks Dr. Holland’s special formula.c
When talking about this film, most comic book fans fondly remember Adrienne Barbeau’s performance as Agent Alice Cable. Fresh off featured roles in The Cannonball Run and Escape from New York, Barbeau had a large fan following coming into The Swamp Thing, a movie that comic book fans still fondly remember.
Seven years later, The Return of the Swamp Thing picked up the storyline, but nothing can match the outrageous 1982 original.