There are so many streaming options available today, and so many conflicting recommendations, it's hard to see through all the crap you could see. Every Friday, The edgeThe Cut the Crap column simplifies the selection by searching the overwhelming amount of films and TV series on subscription services and recommending a perfect thing to watch this weekend.
What to watch
Marsh thing, The 1982 film by Wes Craven about DC & Swamp Thing, a comic book character created in 1971 by writer Len Wein and artist Bernie Wrightson. The film shines as Ray Wise as Alec Holland, a scientist whose secret, government-funded work on the untapped potential of plant life – as a food source and as a bio-weapon – attracts the attention of a megalomaniac, Anton Arcane (Louis Jordan). When Arcane's guerrillas storm the laboratory of Holland, they kill Alec's sister and chase him into the swamp, where they assume he dies when the lab explodes. Instead, the various chemicals and experiments of the Alec Holland facility transform into the green, green, twiggy Swamp thing. With the help of another government scientist, Alice Cable (Adrienne Barbeau), the creature tries to stop Anton's nasty plans.
Why watch now?
Because the first episode of DC Universe & # 39; s Marsh thing is available today and subsequent episodes arrive every week.
The creative teams working on the original original series of the DCU have made a number of daring choices, aimed at die-hard DC fans. Season 1 of Titans changed the basic story story for Marv Wolfman and George Pérez & # 39; s classic version from the & # 39; 80's of the super team into a dark, expansive adventure, with the heroes traveling far away and gathering for a big fight yet to come . Doom Patrol& # 39; The recently completed first season adapted some of the more bizarre and surrealistic comics that Grant Morrison wrote in the 1990s, with a conscious street named Danny and a bodybuilder named Flex Mentallo who can change reality by twisting his muscles to move.
Both shows covered the earliest incarnations of their superheroes, and instead jumped right into the eras that produced the best stories. When Marsh thing was announced, some fans wondered (or perhaps hoped) that this new series would do the same and dive directly into the 80s Swamp Thing stories written by Alan Moore. Instead, writers Mark Verheiden and Gary Dauberman hold on to the roots of Swamp Thing, again the story of the Wein / Wrightson origins, which was frankly pretty good, and it established a look and a tone for the character that Moore and would later honor others with their versions.
The first two Marsh thing Episodes (made available to critics prior to today's premiere) introduce Andy Bean as Alec Holland, now a business-supported scientist who gets killed while researching a kind of & # 39; plant pest & # 39; which makes the locals sick. Crystal Reed plays Abby Arcane, a CDC team leader who also races to save the small town in Louisiana where she grew up. Verheiden, Dauberman and their excellent cast take the time to determine the characters and location, and for the time being usually keep the title monster out of the picture, for now. (Any connection between Abby and the character Anton Arcane is also not mentioned yet … for now.)
The television Marsh thing effectively plays the horror elements of the original comic, tells a story about ghostly phenomena in the hot south, with a lot of grotesque images of human bodies that have been ripped to pieces by creeping vines. Craven & # 39; s Marsh thing also makes extensive use of its wilderness locations (mainly photographed in South Carolina), but it is more a combination of a gothic romance and an action adventure. As soon as Alec transforms into the Swamp thing (played by Dick Durock), he becomes Alice & # 39; s protector and admirer, lurking in the shade and popping up to protect her from Arcane's snakes. The film has a dreamy atmosphere, but the bones of a slam-bang B film, with many scenes of the monster wrecking vehicles and crushing skulls.
For who it is
Fans of comics from the 70s and classic universal monster movies.
The character of Swamp Thing was introduced in a DC horror comic, House of Secrets, but once he landed in his own ongoing series, Wein and Wrightson redesigned the basic concept of a avenging plant monster, fitting into the more episodic, adventurous mode of comics from the & # 39; 70. Marsh dune squared against mystics and crazy scientists, and everyone who brought nature out of balance. Craven & # 39; s Marsh thing is completely in the spirit of those original stories, with Louis Jordan's Anton Arcane representing the kind of high-level sociopath, whose attempts to manipulate the natural world demanded just misery, only an eroded Alec Holland could foresee.
But Craven was also an old-school horror man, and he made the most of his chance to make an old-fashioned rubber-monster monster movie. He filled the film with the pathos of Frankenstein or Creatures from the Black Lagoon, which arouses sympathy for the beastly beast in the middle of his photo. In a sense, Craven & # 39; s Marsh thing is like a remake of Creatures from the Black Lagoon, but with the "Gill man" as the good man, and the Amazon adventurers as the creeps. And Adrienne Barbeau takes care of an always great lady in distress who is helpful to the hero and able to take care of herself, but still catches hearts when the villains are about to become the best of her.
Where to see it
TubiTV free with advertising breaks. The much more tongue-in-cheek 1989 sequel, The return of the swamp thing, is also available for free on Vudu (again, with ads).