Writer-director Wes Craven’s adaptation of the DC Comics book, Swamp Thing, to live-action feature filming is a childish programmer, short on thrills and laughs.
Sci-fi premise has scientist Alec Holland (Ray Wise) working with his sister in a lab in the bayous on a secret government project. He’s developing a vegetable cell with an animal nucleus. With a government agent Alice Cable (Adrienne Barbeau) inspecting the operation, all hell breaks loose when evil genius Arcane (Louis Jourdan) has his henchmen break in to steal the scientific formula.
The green mixture is accidentally poured on Holland who, catching fire (in pic’s best special effects scene), runs off into the swamp, later emerging as a big, green dude in a rubber suit, the Swamp Thing (Dick Durock). Pic disintegrates at this point into a series of contrived chases, pitting Arcane vs. Cable in a battle to obtain the formula and the creature.
Craven tries in vain, through old-fashioned characters and dialog, to re-create the ’50s B-monster movie. The film’s only asset for adult audiences is Barbeau, who is thoroughly believable and a feisty, rough ‘n’ tumble heroine, able to beat up most bad guys or outrun them through the swamp.