Not long ago, in the unexplored reaches of an unmapped swamp, the creative genius of one man collided with another's evil dream and a monster was born. Too powerful to be destroyed, too intelligent to be captured, this thing still pursues its savage dream.Swamp Thing
— Opening text
is a 1982 film directed by Wes Craven
, based on the DC Comics character
The film centers around Dr. Alec Holland (Ray Wise), who's studying a bio-restorative formula in the middle of a swamp that could possibly grow plants anywhere, and Alice Cable (Adrienne Barbeau), a Washington agent who is sent to look after the research. During an attack on the facility orchesrated by one Anton Arcane, who seeks the formula for himself, Holland is dosed with the stuff and after taking a fiery dip in the local waters, is turned into the eponymous being. Now Alec must protect Alice, the sole survivor of the attack beside himself from Arcane's men who are searching for the remnants of the notes on his work.
In 1989 it was followed by a more campy
sequel The Return of Swamp Thing
The film has:
- Action Girl: Alice. While she is out of her element in the swamp, she still manages to hold on her own when she realizes that the research facility is under attack.
- Adaptation Name Change: Downplayed, Ferrett lost one of the t's in his name for the big screen.
- Adaptational Attractiveness:
- Anton Arcane is played by Louis Jourdan. Nuff said.
- Ferrett was a somewhat overweight gangster in the comics, here he is played by the muscular David Hess.
- Always with You: Swamp Thing's parting words to Alice in the end before he ventures into his new home.
- An Arm and a Leg: When suddenly stopped by Swamp Thing while he is chasing Alice, Ferret manages cut off Swampy's arm with a machete. Swamp Thing retaliates by grabbing his head and killing him.
- Between My Legs: Shown when Swamp Thing creeps up on Bruno, while he and other Arcane's mooks search for him on boats.
- Big Fancy House: Arcane's mansion is filled with works of art, and it has bookshelves covering every wall.
- Car Fu: Ferret and the other mooks attempt to run Swamp Thing down with their Jeep, but are stopped dead on their tracks by his newfound Super Strength. He then proceeds to rips the car's roof off and throw the men about.
- Chekhov's Gun: Alice picks up a small propane tank in the command center from the middle of the floor and puts it aside when she goes looking for her boss in there. When Ferret jumps on her, she grabs the thing and manages subdue him with it for a while.
- Comicbook Adaptation: The first annual issue of the second volume of Swamp Thing adapted the movie into a comic form.
- Composite Character:
- Alice Cable is an amalgam of Abby Arcane and Matt Cable, being a government agent with the surname Cable, and Swamp Thing's love interest with a first name starting with "A".
- Anton Arcane, a sorcerer/alchemist/scientist in the comics, takes the role of the Conclave gangsters who destroyed Alec's lab, leading to his transformation.
- Dramatic Drop: When Arcane's assistant Karen sees the early stages of his transformation, she drops the tray she's holding in shock.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: Swamp Thing hijacks a boat from mooks and sets it toward an another boat. Both explode in the ensuing crash.
- Evil Makes You Monstrous: After hearing from Swamp Thing that the bio-restorative formula enchances the its ingestors essence, Arcane becomes convinced that his intelligence will make him a demi-god if he were to drink it, and he does just that. He then turns into a hairy lizard monster, who starts angrily chasing after Swamp Thing.
- Fanservice: Well, if you have Adrienne Barbeau in your movie, why wouldn't you have a topless scene, dammit?
- Fanservice Extra: Nude dancers provide entertainment for Arcane's visitors and mooks in the party in his mansion that celebrates the capture of Swamp Thing.
- Groin Attack: After Ferret brings Alice onboard Arcane's boat, he tries pull the moves on her. Her response to them is to knee him on the groin and swiftly escape.
- Halfhearted Henchman: Bruno, who shows remorse for his participation in Arcane's mooks' misdeeds by placing late Linda Holland's necklace among the ruins of the facility as a makeshift grave marker.
- Healing Hands: Swamp Thing has this power, which he first demonstrates by healing Jude from the wounds caused by Arcane's mooks, and later in the climax by bringing Alice back to life after she is stabbed by Arcane.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Swamp Thing defeats Arcane with his own sword that he grabbed after transformation.
- Voice Changeling: Arcane is capable of imitating other people's voices.
- Wicked Cultured: Arcane, who even recites Nietzche to Alec before he is caught on fire.