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May 18, 2010

Flicks: Swamp Thing (1982)

Doctah Thang, Full-time Swamp Monster and Part-time ER Sawbones.
Doctah Thang, full-time Swamp Monster and part-time ER Sawbones.

Before a merciless tide of squeeky clean superhero movies engulfed America, starting with the bloody Blade (1998) and exploding with the immacuate X-Men (2000), Comicbook movies were really, really horrible. The tights didn't fit. Web slinging was botched and painfully hokey. Green Goliaths, despite being possessed of superhuman strength and size, just upturned a few coffee tables and called it a day. In the late 70's and 80's the technology and the imagination just wasn't there yet and Comicbook movies, well - sucked.

In 2010, this isn't always the case. The current wave of Comic book-to-Film movies has been riding high into theaters for over 10 years. This wave has brought with it a vast array of shiny CG adversaries, hulkin' out Aussies and really bad casting including X-Men 3 (2006) featuring Bullet Tooth Tony as a minaturized Juggernaut.

The late great Dick Durock stars as The Swamp Thing.
Before digital film technology evolved there was Swamp Thing[0] - Doc Thang to his friends. Doc Thing was not clearly a hero or villain he was a scientist who was robbed and murdered deep in the Louisiana bayou only to be ressurected as a vengeful, walking vegetable. For this premise to work, the movie needed equal parts sex appeal (mmm-Barbeau?), action, effects and interaction. Thanks to director Wes Craven's efforts, Swamp Thing had all of the above plus a wicked sense of humor - something too often missing from today's dried and cut, perfectly plastic movies.

Swamp Thing, the first certified comic-to-film hit, was filmed in the outlying marshes of Charleston, South Carolina in 1982 utilizing "practicals" instead of teams of pencil necked geeks and banks of computerized render farms. Swamp Thing was written and directed by horror master Wes Craven and Craven, at the time, was still proving his commercial viability. This was five years after the original Hills Have Eyes (1977) was released and two years before Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) would be released. Swamp Thing starred proto-Milf*[1] Adrienne Barbeau (Escape From New York, The Fog), Louis Jourdan as heavy Dr. Anton Arcane, Ray Wise (Leland Palmer) as the human Dr. Alex Ross with stunt man the late great Dick Durock handling the Swamp Thing duties. David "Krug" Hess was cast as Arcane's headband sporting henchman "Ferret" 10 years after his role in Craven's infamous The Last House On The Left (1972).

The Comicbook movie trend, of which Swamp Thing was one of the first successfull parts of, is far from over. In fact, in 2010, it was announced that blockbuster Hollywood producer Joel Silver (The Warriors, Die Hard, Bordello Of Blood and The Matrix) has laid plans to remake Swamp Thing but has run into "legal entanglements" with DC and Alan Moore. Also, according to IMBD Captain America: The First Avenger is in pre-production and planned for a 2011 summer release. As for director Wes Craven, his Scream Part 4 is also scheduled for a 2011 release.

Notes:
[0] = Originally a DC comics hero and ok, ok - technically there was a horrible live-action Capitan America made for TV movie, in 1978 prior to Swamp Thing.
[1] = Scaleless manlings informed the Sleaze-A-Saurus that a MILF is an abbreviation for Modest Innocent Ladylike Female. That was right before the Sleaze-A-Saurus dissolved 'em.
[2] = Captain America: The First Avenger has cast Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith from The Matrix and Elrond From the LOTR series) as The Red Skull - who is this guy's agent!?!



References:
Wikipedia, Swamp Thing
IMDB, Swamp Thing (1982)
IMDB, Wes Craven
Revolution Of Sci-Fi, Swamp Thing
Cult of Farnsworth, Swamp Thing: The 1983 Movie
Head Injury Theater, Let's Talk About Swamps, Baby
Eccentric Cinema, Swamp Thang
Perch Of Zodd, Unedited Swamp Boobs
Hog Rock Cafe, Adrienne Barbeau 1970


Swamp Thing Movies are available at:
Swamp Thing Movies on Amazon

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