No one was really expecting, or particularly wanted, a sequel to the 1982 Sawmp Thing movie in which the mossy maestro was potrayed by a guy in one of the worst monster costumes ever made and the film itself was a sludgy mess. And yet here we are with a full fledged sequel that embraces a broad comic book tone that veers wildly into parody and that feature a central woman/plant romance that’s simply bizarre and all directed by the guy who made Chopping Mall and Sorority House Massacre 2.
The villainous evil scientist Arcane has survived his transformation into a rubbery man/bear/pig thing at the end of the last movie and is experimenting on victims in order to find a cure, thereby creating a menagerie of mutated hybrids. When a particularly nasty example of Arcane’s twisted version of body modification escapes into the swamp on a killing spree, Swamp Thing returns to battle the Leech Man and end the geneticist’s sinister plans once and for all. However, things take a more complicated turn with the arrival of Arcane’s plant loving step daughter Abby (a surprisingly up-for-anything Heather Locklear) whom he needs to complete his quest to stop the aging process, but who herself may have a burgeoning attraction to the leafy do-gooder.
Somehow we’ve slipped into a dark dimension where Jim Wynorski (also the helmer of such upmarket projects as The Bare Wench Project and Deathstalker 2) can direct a far more satisfying Swamp Thing movie than horror legend Wes Craven because Return Of Swamp Thing, while certainly dumber than a sack full of anti-vaxxers, is actually a lot of dopey fun. The dialogue is slimy tongue in mossy cheek (“Is there a Mrs. Swamp Thing?” Coos a besotted Abby, “No, I’m a bachelor.” Deadpans Swampy in return) the jokes are crude (before getting attacked by Leech Man, two kids are hyped about working through a large porn stash) and the plot is simply mental. Where else can you watch a film where a plant creature breaks off a piece of himself to eat so Locklear can hallucinate making love to him as a human.
Anyone expecting an accurate tone of the source material will be disappointed, the Alan Moore run of the character for example felt more akin to Clive Barker than anything on show here, in fact the best way to describe Return Of Swamp Thing is what you’d most likely get if Roger Corman produced a version of The Island Of Doctor Moreau that was also a comedy.
And yet if you can tolerate the tsunami sized waves of camp, there’s a lot of questionable fun to be had here and the special effects are pretty bad-ass, with Swamp Thing himself looking fantastically spot on and the various rubbery mutants sporting some cool designs.
Low budget schlock it may be but Return Of Swamp Thing wears it’s goofy heart on it’s slimy sleeve and you can’t hate a movie who’s opening credits is a montage of art directly from the comics cut to “Born On Bayou” by Creedance Clearwater Revival.
It ain’t art but it’s fun if you don’t get too bogged down in the details…