Friday, 23 March 2012

Swamp Thing (1982)

"Everything's a dream when you're alone"

That's just one of many pseudo-philosphical one-liners you get treated to in Swamp Thing, Wes Craven's attempt at adapting a DC Comic for the big screen. I know nothing about this comic, or comics in general, so I have no idea if it's a successful/truthful adaptation - all I know is that the film is an absolute blast.

I had pretty much given up on Wes Craven after Scream 4, which was one of the most atrocious piles of shit I have ever forced myself to sit through in the cinema. But, when the good folks at The Good Bad Movie Club announced that they were going to screen Swamp Thing at The Prince Charles...well...I decided to give the man another chance.

And I'm really glad I did. In fact, I might even watch that copy of Craven's Deadly Blessing (1981) I bought from Arrow Video a while back. It's been collecting collecting dust in fear of a repeat Scream 4 experience.

Anyway, Swamp Thing...a proper so bad it's amazing kinda film. An absolute top cast, with Ray Wise (you know, Leland Palmer in Twin Peaks amongst other things), Nicholas Worth (who was amazing in Don't Answer The Phone (1980)), David Hess (of The Last House on The Left (1972) and The House On The Edge Of The Park (1980) fame)...and then Adrienne Barbeau, who's been in a shitload of things, including Cannibal Women In The Avocado Jungle Of Death (1989).

The film is cheesy, but extremely charming and fun. Wise plays Doctor Holland, a scientist working on a secret project hidden away in a swamp. His goal, to create a combination of animal and plant capable of thriving under the harshest of conditions. So, yeah...his intentions are good, but just around the corner lurks the shape of Dr Anton Arcane, an evil scientist (actually, I'm not quite sure what he is) who wants to rule the world. He and his militia goons attempt to steal Holland's notebooks and the potion but it all goes a bit wrong. Holland turns into a half-man, half-swamp creature with super human strength and Alice (Barbeau) runs off with notebook number 7, containing the last piece of the puzzle. What follows is a cat and mouse chase through the swamp, where Arcane's goons try over and over again to get their hands on the book, only to be stopped by Holland (now the Swamp Thing!) Alice goes from being scared of Swampie to falling for his charms after realising that he's still Dr Holland at heart. It's all very stupid, but surprisingly sweet and never gets boring. It's really well-paced throughout.

A great film to watch with some friends and some beers. Louis Jordan really steals the show as the loon bag Arcane and the film is worth watching just to hear his hilarious, but often completely nonsensical one-liners.

"A man who loves, gives hostages to fortune."


So, give Swamp Thing a won't regret it.

Last night the guys at The Good Bad Movie Club had managed to locate a pristine 35mm print of the film and it really looked gorgeous. Normally when you're watching old prints scratches are part of the charm, but seeing a scratch-free 30-year old print was pretty awesome.


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