How Many Platitudes Does It Take?

It’s super wicked cool move time in Missy’s life.  That means I find myself grumbling under mountains of clothes unable to find my way out.  It means I cannot cook food for myself.  It means Best Friend and I will eat donuts for dinner.  It means that we have a shitton of movies to get through before he vacates this fair city for one that is decidedly less cool.  Smoove move, Best Friend, smoove move.

In an effort to take in as much awesomeness as possible, Best Friend and I watched the 1982 film, Swamp Thing.  To be honest, I knew very little about the film prior to seeing it.  I mean, I was vaguely aware of the Barbeau-ness of it all.  And I knew I would see the film at some point, but I just never got around to it.

When Best Friend buckled down and bought the DVD, we thought it was about time to partake in some Craven-y, comic book-y good times.  So how did the movie fare?  Well, that’s a complicated question that I will try to answer clearly.

This is not a good movie.  I loved it.

Yeah, it’s one of those.  I don’t know if I would call it a good/bad movie, but it lies on the edges of that grand phenomenon.  It manages to fail and succeed at the same time, and I am not lying when I say I really enjoyed myself while watching it.  Perhaps the film is clouded in a haze of, “Oh, this is one of the last movies Best Friend and I will watch together,” or maybe it’s just the Adrienne Barbeau-ness of it all, but this movie is kind of THE SHIT.

Cable (Adrienne Barbeau) comes to a research facility in a swamp to help with the security of the scientist who is doing all the crazy science-y business.  He’s been working on creating a potion (yes, a potion) that will help plants grow in places where they normally wouldn’t.  He thinks this will save the world from the impending hunger crisis with the exploding human population.  (For the record, he’s a little off with his estimate of how many people will be on the planet in 2000.)

Shortly after Cable’s arrival, Dr. Alec Holland (Ray Wise) takes her on a tour of the swamp, and you can tell love is in the air.  But before the two can consumate their relationship (much to this Barbeau obsessive’s chagrin), they are attacked at the facility.  Alec explodes in a green cloud of smoke and fire before tumbling into the swamp.  Cable, however, faked it and is hiding the final notebook with the information about the serum under her ample bosom.

Cable does all she can to hide the notebook and keep it for the government to use as needed.  In doing so, she has frequent run-ins with Ferret (David Hess, and how happy was I to see him named after such a creature… Oh, man, I hate that guy so much.  He just creeps me out.  I mean, is there anyone out there who is not creeped out by him?  Every time I see him I have flashbacks of Last House on the Left, and I don’t want to do that, man.  It’s like, BOOM! Witness his face smashing into Mari’s as he rapes her!  Witness, I tell you!)  Cable runs from Ferret, and she is surprisingly successful at evading capture, but before too long, Ferret and his men… uh… ferret her out, and she needs rescue.

Enter Swamp Thing.  A big green plant-looking dude rescues her over and over and over again.  And this is obviously a part of the movie that needed to be trimmed (even though the movie clocks in at a nice 91 minutes).  Once the chase is over (and Swamp Thing a.k.a. Alec has smooooshed Ferret’s head — how awesome is that?) Cable finds herself in a sexy white dress tied to a chair at a dinner party with the Big Bad who’s behind it all.  He’s not only got Cable.  He’s got Swamp Thing and the final notebook.  Oh, no!  Whatever will happen?

Soon enough, the evil mastermind has fed someone the potion unknowingly, and what happens next is possibly the best 30 seconds of the movie.  He turns into a…. hobbit? A dwarf?  A midget?  Well, hell, I’m not really sure, but he’s a little person now, and he hops about.  And I don’t care what he is because it’s the transformation that matters.

When the dude doesn’t turn into a superstrong Swamp Thing, Arcane (evil mastermind) gets pissed off.  He runs down to Swamp Thing to ask what is missing from the formula.  Swamp Thing replies by telling him the formula will not make them into the same thing, but rather, it will make them more of what is their essence.  So, I guess Alec Holland’s essence was a plant.  And I guess that guy’s essence was a hobbit-midget-dwarf thing.  Of course, this all means that Arcane has to use it too.  And oh, boy, does he.

After drinking the potion, Arcane slowly becomes shrouded in a weird cocoon like thing that actually looks like a giant hornet’s nest.  He slowly peels himself out of the smoldering cocoon to reveal….. A BOAR LIZARD!  Yeah, it makes no sense, and yeah, I don’t believe this is his essence, but it is all ten thousand kinds of AWESOME.

And to rush a conclusion, the whole thing culminates in a showdown in the swamp wherein Alec saves Cable with the power of touch and the Boar Lizard sort of drowns or gets smothered or something.  I’m not sure; it wasn’t really clear.

Okay, see, this is not a good movie, but it was a blast to watch.  Craven made the most of the setting, and the film is awash in color.  Its bright, beautiful greens are very reminiscent of the comic book if that’s what you’re looking for.

The action sequences are simple and not too exciting (except for the one wherein Cable shoots a dude with a shotgun on the fly), but they have that familiarity that makes movies like this feel like an old sweater you keep buried in the bottom of your closet for when you’re feeing sad and lonely.

Ah, who am I kidding?  THIS IS AN ADRIENNE BARBEAU MOVIE!  And that is all one needs to say when deciding whether to watch it.  You’re either a Barbeau person, or you’re a jerk.

Which are you?

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~ by acaseofyou12581 on August 27, 2010.

4 Responses to “How Many Platitudes Does It Take?”

  1. I’m totally a Barbeau person (well, not as much as you, but then who is?)! The only thing wrong with this movie, was that there was not enough of AB shooting stuff.

  2. Yeah, that could have ruled. I neglected to mention the very random and strange African American child. Ah, well, for another time. Also, we have The Convent, my man. We can always see AB shooting the shit out of zombie nuns. We mustn’t forget our blessings.

  3. I fell in love with this movie when it was in heavy rotation on cable in the early 80s. I think it pretty much shaped my genre fandom. Great review!

  4. I often wonder if I am capable of having any kind of perspective on a Barbeau movie. I mean, I default to loving her films, so it’s nice to know someone else out there (who may not have my Barbeau addiction) finds the film as fun as I do.

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