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Another disappointment from Wes Craven (THE HILLS HAVE EYES; A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET), SWAMP THING tries its best to play as a camp parody of 1950s creature features, complete with hokey dialog and men running around in rubber monster-suits, but it simply doesn't work. Based on the
popular DC comic-book created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, the film is set in the Louisiana bayous, where scientist Alec Holland (Ray Wise) is working on a secret government experiment to combine plant and animal cells. When bad guy Arcane (Louis Jourdan) and his cohorts try to steal the formula that Alec
has created, the solution is spilled on the scientist, transforming him into the burly green Swamp Thing (played by Dick Durock in an unexceptional rubber suit), who can magically heal the dead with his glowing touch. Adrienne Barbeau, who had the dubious distinction of doing her first topless
scene in this film, gives some heart to her role as the government agent trying to beat Arcane to the title creature. In the silly climax, Arcane changes into a goofy-looking beast with a body like a lizard, a face like a wild-boar, and a mane like a lion (special makeup by William Munns).
Although SWAMP THING was definitely aimed at a different audience than THE HILLS HAVE EYES, Craven fails to capture the gothic quality of its comic book inspiration--which had some genuinely frightening and grotesque moments. Instead, the whole thing is merely silly and not much fun.