SWAMP THING (1981) – A guilty pleasure…named Adrienne Barbeau


The following is my entry in this (my) blog’s Adrienne Barbeau Blogathon, being hosted Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2017. Click on the above banner, and read bloggers’ tributes to the many facets of this actress-writer’s show-biz career!Poster

Usually when I write a movie review, I try to make it as professional as possible. But when it comes to Adrienne Barbeau in the 1970’s and early ’80s, all decorum goes out the window, and I reach for the drool bucket.

Purists will tell you that Swamp Thing is based on a DC comic, it’s about a scientist who accidentally gets a potent chemical spilled on him and he becomes the title character, etc., etc. But look at the poster for this movie. Is the Swamp Thing the first thing your eyes are drawn to?

Admittedly, the movie is kind of fun on its own terms. It’s rated PG, so the violence and language aren’t terribly off-putting. And the romance between Alice Cable (Barbeau) and the Swamp Thing is actually kind of sweet.


It’s not easy being green.

But all that aside, writer-director Wes Craven realized that when you’re shooting on a minimal budget, you go for whatever special effects you can muster. And in this case, he had the mother lode of natural special effects. In the pre-cable-TV 1970’s, how many teenagers got through puberty via their weekly viewing of Adrienne Barbeau bouncing across the set on “Maude”?


Big oranges.

Lest you think I’ve lapsed into tastelessness, I must warn you that I’m not the only one to ga-ga over La Barbeau. More than 30 years since the movie’s premiere, I still recall The Village Voice raving, “Adrienne sloshes through the swamp, arms flailing, wet T-shirted breasts bouncing…” And Joe Bob Briggs devoted an entire evening to his comments about Adrienne’s pneumatic qualities when he showed the movie years ago on TNT. Click here to watch his entire Swamp Thing commentary on YouTube, if you dare.

“I’m gonna get my agent for this.”

So let’s cut to the chase. Adrienne spends most of the movie in tight-fitting T-shirts (wet whenever possible), a low-cut evening gown, and even topless (just a sideboob view in the U.S. version of the movie; an entire minute of her frontal view in the European version). Adrienne’s natural assets (and that includes her acting) have never been shown to such advantage in any movie since this one.

So dads, rent the movie for your kids. It’s harmless enough that they’ll think it’s mindless sci-fi. Only you will know the truth.

Wow. Just, wow.

Wow. Just, wow.

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