Just last night I killed some time with the trade paperback of Alan Moore’s first issues on Swamp Thing. Despite some clunky, overwrought lines those stories remain a landmark for smart horror comics. The tone is just so perfect and nuanced despite the tidbits that fail. I’d love to see a Swamp Thing movie that worked, one that could be quiet and creepy and feel like elemental forces of the green were rumbling beneath the theater. Now Collider is reporting that Joel Silver is developing a Swamp Thing movie, with an eye for 3D. That probably dashes my hopes. Read his comments after the jump.
“I’m developing a picture now that I’d like to do,” Silver said. “I’ll hopefully do Swamp Thing, which is a movie we’ve had for a long time. We think that would be great to do in 3D.” That’s about all he had to say. When pressed for a follow-up, Frosty (who was originally talking to Silver about the upcoming Whiteout) just got “maybe going to do it. I like it.”
Now, I’m not saying that Silver won’t spearhead a good film. I really enjoy a lot of his stuff — the guy got Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang made, not to mention a host of projects I don’t even need to name — but his movies aren’t terribly subtle. And Swamp Thing needs some subtlety.
But being positive for a second, let’s imagine Silver actually moving forward with this, and getting a filmmaker who could take some of the same impulses that powered Speed Racer to bring the green guy to life. Think of the amazing artwork of Steve Bissette and John Totleben thrown on screen with the same hallucinogenic spirit as the images in Speed Racer. In that case, I’d get interested fast. The 3D might even work in that context.
The Swamp Thing was originally Alec Holland, a scientist working on a ‘bio-restorative formula’ in the Louisiana swamp. Killed for his invention, Holland’s body fell into the swamp which, reacting with the formula, produced the elemental Swamp Thing. The character has had various incarnations, but Alan Moore’s is the most notable as a vegetative being connected to ‘the green’, or the Earth’s plant life. But he isn’t Alec Holland; he’s an elemental that effectively remembers the dream of being a man. (Reading the stuff again, I thought of Cronenberg’s version of The Fly, which came way after Moore’s stories, where Brundlefly describes himself as an insect that dreamed it was a man.) There’s a great, weird, creeping movie in these stories if someone has the patience and confidence to do it right.