Swamp Thing (1982) Script


Where's the nearest good restaurant?

Depends... If you you're a human, it's back in Washington.

But if you're a gator, it could be right where we land.

Thank your lucky stars you're coming in at the end of this.

Holland insisted on building it all out here.

He said this is where the life is.

One of those life forms nailed the guy you're replacing.

What, they sent a woman out here?

Where the hell are you going?

Couldn't take it anymore.

Well, he lasted longer than most.


Don't shoot.

Watch your step.


Weird, isn't it?

The local fishermen say this place is haunted.

I don't know where we are, Toto, but it sure isn't Kansas.



Used to be a church until about 50 years ago.

Then the levee broke.

Just been us and the deer flies the last ten weeks.

Welcome back, sir.

What'd Washington say?

That's confidential, Teddy.

That's okay, miss, I got it.

But you can start packing your toothbrush.

All right.

Where's this thing go?

Give me a hand over here with this thing.

I got ya, man.

What does Holland think about getting yanked from the swamps back to Washington?

I doubt he's even been told.

Ritter couldn't believe me when I gave him the news this morning.

Do you think Washington's paranoid?

Do you think the Pope is Catholic?

This is your place.

You probably haven't seen half this stuff.

It's all new.

Take this, for instance. This is a la... laser-induced subsonic field generator.

Gives double readings in the 3200 band, right?

I got a trick for fixing that.

Just my luck they send me someone who know what she's doin' the week they pull us out.

What's he working on anyway? Who?


This thing is so hush-hush, no one asks.

Something to do with plants.

Where the hell's my man?

I thought he was back.

Hey, Charlie!

Emperor calls. Come on.

Hey, you know there's a...

What's going on here?

Get those crates into the church!

You men in the boat, what the hell do you think you're doing?

Get that dumb thing outta sight!

Lame brains!

Charlie, welcome back.

And this is Hank's replacement?

Cable, Harry Ritter, Project Field Supervisor.

You know one of your sensors is reading malfunction?

It's not surprising.

They rot in a week in these damn swamps.

Charlie, did you get them to change their minds?

No, they want him and the substance back in Washington where they can keep their eyes on him.

Anything wrong that you know of?

A rumor.

Somebody's heard Arcane's gotten wind of the project.

I thought Arcane was dead.

He is! Who said that?

Who said Arcane's on to this?

Nobody's taken credit for it. You know Washington.

All it takes is one loudmouth to spill this to Holland and the whole project goes to hell in a hand basket.

You know that? Yes, sir.

That goes for you too.

Come on. Come on.

I keep the number of people near to him at a minimum.

This admits the three of us and the Hollands.

It was programmed for your prints this morning.

Try it.

The stuff I have to put up with... alligators, bugs, poisonous snakes, and now the rumors begin.

Charlie, I want to hear everything about the Arcane business now.

What about that sensor out in sector three.

Right, get somebody to take you out there... take a look.


In the swamps?

Any luck there?

Wiggle your fingers.

Lose a contact lens?


Well, don't just stand there, give us a hand.

Right about in the middle.


I dropped a Cooper's Digger.

Would you look under the rocks, please?

Go ahead.

What's a Cooper's Digger anyway, some kind of shovel?


Just Alessandro.

Got a little one-celled animal living in his fur that makes a terrific host.


I'll remember that the next time I throw a party.

Oh, not bad, not bad.

You don't have to be crazy to be around him, but it helps.

Alice Cable, new kid on the block.

You guy's part of Holland's crew?

I'm Linda Holland.

You're Doctor Holland.

I'm a Doctor Holland, but not the Doctor Holland... boy genius and oddball.

That's Alec, he's the brains in the family.

I just cook up what he invents.

Oh, no, don't you believe her.

She's got an IQ like a phone number.

Which reminds me, I want you to run up a new variation on the formula with that little host on Alessandro's fur.



I understand you have a sensor out.

You wanna go out and take a look?

Well, I guess I could ask Charlie to give us an escort.

Maybe we could ask your mother to come along too.

Come on.

The only dangerous thing out there are those government agents with their popguns.

It's your first day on the job.

I'll take you on a cook's tour.

I mean, Ritter's always after me to get some fresh air.

He'll... he'll be tickled pink.

What do you say?

Oh, man.

You look like a tree.

Sometimes I feel like a tree.

Like the swamps?

Hate the swamps.

Hate bugs, hate things without legs.

A neatness freak?

You could eat off my kitchen floor.

You could eat off the swamps.

Maybe half the world could eat off the swamps.

More than likely, the swamps'll eat off us.

Like, what happened to the guy I'm replacing, for instance?

The gator was only following his natural way.

Can't blame a guy for that.

I paid a fortune for these boots.

You better keep moving, there's a fair amount of quicksand around here.

You better keep your eyes open too. For what?

Or one of these just might jump out and do you in.

You know there's over a hundred species of Genus Orchia here.

There's so much beauty in the swamps if you just open up your eyes to it.

I mean, take a look into your own body, one of God's most magnificent creations, and what do you see?

Straight lines and deodorant and chrome and Formica?

No, no, no, you see blood and bone, pump and flow and a million messy miracles.

I mean, just look at the most creative thing a man and a woman can do together and you'll see something growing.




Just save the malarkey for your wife, Holland.

If you don't mind, where the hell's the sensor?

It's right over there.

Looks okay to me.

Here, let me help.

Well, it doesn't look okay to me.

Let's get back. All right.




What in the hell is your story?

Charlie, did anything suspicious happen while we were gone?

You're damn right!

Something suspicious did happen!

A stupid broad of an agent, first day on the job, takes a scientist we're all supposed to be guarding for an unguarded romp in the bush!

Hold it. Just cool it a minute, all right?

You think you're on a picnic or something?

Wait a minute, Ritter, it was my idea to take her out there.

She was just doin her job.

Why do you have to be so worried all the time for?

Because it's my job to worry.

And if I have my way, and by God I will, you'll be on the next chopper back to Washington.

A woman has no place around a guy like you.

There's a cut sensor out there, what about that?

Which sector?

Sector three.

Hank was working on that one when he was bitten by the gator.

Needless to say, he didn't put it all back together again before we took him to the hospital.

Tickled pink?

I'm really sorry, Cable.

Well, I guess you can't be blamed for following your natural way.

Did either of you see one of our guys out there?


No, why?

We seem to have lost contact with him.

- Hey, what's that? Back off, get back.

Linda, are you all right?

It's okay, it's okay!

Oh, dear God.

The damnedest thing.

You know this new batch you had me cook up with the host from Alessandro's fur?

I knew we were up to something revolutionary.

But this is literally dynamite.





Congratulations, you managed to reinvent nitro.

Let's hope this project doesn't end with a bang.

Oh, come on, Charlie, please.

I gotta write this down.

I thought you were working on some sort of weapons system.

- I knew it wasn't just plants. Plants, plants.

The only way lever thought my work would be explosive was social, if you believe it.

The stuff we've been working with has never been this volatile before.

Linda, cut up a sample of that for the electron microscope, please.

Right. And be exceptionally careful with it.

All right? Don't worry.

What is it you've been doing here, Holland?

Come on over here, I'll show you.

Now, you see those little guys?

DNA chromosomes from the common lab bacilli E. Coli.

Now, you see that one?

Another simple bacilli.

Plant matrix called D Complex.

Now, each of these organisms have existed in the labs for years.

But always separately, which isn't too surprising since one is animal, the other's vegetable.

But now this is what we've developed over the last couple of months.

You see that little guy?

Never existed on the face of the Earth before.

That's my baby-.

A simple vegetable cell with an unmistakable animal nucleus.

Recombinant DNA?

Hey, that's very good.

I'm very close to developing a plant with an animal's aggressive power for survival.

A plant for the 21st century.

What do you want, watermelons the size of weather balloons?

Or tomatoes that'll fetch a stick.

Well, I wouldn't mind a tomato that could grow in the desert.

Or soybeans that could thrive in Biafra.

Or corn that could grow in the good old U.S. of A., say in the year 2001, when there'll be 6 1/2 billion people on this planet.

All of them hungry. How you doin' there, Linda?

It's all set.

Vector 3-3-7-9.


It's replicating like mad. It certainly is.

Well, come on, let's try it on something.

Cable, would you bring that flask of water over here, please?

Thank you.

If it would work on plants the way you want it to, what will it do to people?

And what if it falls in the wrong hands?

Arcane boogie man mentality?

Okay, now we begin.

I have 2,000 water.

One part formula.

Two thousand water, 6:30, March 20.

How long before you'll know? What?

Look, what do you want it to do?

Jump out of the beaker and dance a fandango?

I don't know, a week maybe.

Maybe longer.

This has all the thrills of watching grass grow.

Aren't there some sensors out there you could be working on?

Oops. Forget it.

He's just ridiculously sensitive.

Our dad was the same.

Your dad?

You've never heard of Walter Holland, the biophysicist?

Nobel prize?

He used to throw a mean Bunsen burner, I can tell ya.

Alec and I spent half our childhood cleaning up after his tantrums.

Perfectionist 'til the day he died.

Alec's the same.

Oh, my God.

What is that?

Cable, I don't believe this.

All the places that Linda dropped the formula, the boards grew.

Are you kidding?

No, I'm not kidding.

Alec. Linda!

- What? Get in here quick!

This is fantastic. Alec.

This is incredible!

Alec, the formula?

Ritter, he's gotta be told right away.

I wanna see that bastard's face when he realizes we've done it!



You guys seen Ritter?

He's in the command shed.





Get up!

Hold it!

I'm holdin'. It's over, lady.

Arcane, right?

Shut up.

Alec, watch out!...

Very interesting, Doctor Holland.

On your feet.

Who are you?


Let go!

Now, I know I haven't seen anything like... this before.

Have you?

What the hell do you want?

I represent a certain party that's... interested in your formula.

They'd give an arm and a leg for it.

Your arm and leg, if necessary.

Get out of my lab!

Get out! Alec.

What's the hold up?

He's being difficult.

No, Ritter, not you.

No, Doctor Holland, not Ritter.

Ritter, poor fellow, is long dead.

You have heard of, but never seen me.

So, I will introduce myself.

My name is Arcane.

Linda, come here. Here.

Leave her alone.

Thank you.

All materials pertaining to the substance, now, or she dies.

What sort of rejuvenation will you be able to perform on her then?

All right.

Don't Alec.

It's all right.

The actual solution as well.




What is best for you is not to be born.

Not to be.

To be nothing.

But the second best for you is to die soon.


The notebooks.

I've never seen anything like this. Look out where?

The notebooks... good.

Strip it. No bodies.

No witnesses.


Survivors, no place for any.

You, come here a second.

Burn the papers. Yes, sir.

Burn everything. Come on, get a move on!

Hey, somebody help Bruno with the bodies.

He's doin' it by himself.

I want this place clean by dawn.

Is that the last of 'em?

That's it! Then get the lead out!

The final check and let's vacate the premises.

Right. Take that to the boat.

Hurry it up!

Wait a minute, wait a minute!

I'm finding lot's of good stuff down here.

What kind of stuff?

A little of this, a little of that.

Come on down and take a look.

Whatcha got?

Found some money, a watch, and a couple of...

No, this. Oh, that.

I took it off the girl.

You can have it.

Ain't worth nothin' compared to the watches anyway.

Get out in front, we're getting out of here.


Plannin' on goin' somewhere?

Come on, let's take a little walk.


My, have you gotten dirty.

My goodness.

Willie, come here. Yeah.

I think this lady needs a bath.

Let's take her down to the dock.

Hey, where'd she come from?


Get the boat ready!

Now, move it!

We don't have all day and I'm going to teach this lady how to swim.

You know what the first lesson is?

It's call the dead man's...

So you want to play rough?

There she goes.

Say hello to your boyfriend, baby.

What the hell was that?

Willie, Tyrone, shoot the damn thing!

Get it, kill it, and her!

You too!

Back in the swamps.

Willie, go that way.

Tyrone, cover that area.

So long, baby.


Flank right.

What the hell are you doing, Danny?

Spread out.

Use your head.

Where's Danny? Where's Willie?

Maybe Willie's with Tyrone.

Danny shot Tyrone.

Oh, yeah.

Maybe we should, maybe we should...

Get the hell outta here.

The work with DNA I expected.

But the combining of plant and animal... is astonishing.


You should sleep, sir.

I can't.

It was all so near, right there, in the palm of my hand.


But it's lovely not to sleep... knowing that I'll soon make the substance for myself.

Have some coffee, sir.

Thank you.

Holland had great talent.

But talent does only what it can.

Genius does what it must.

It is master of man.

The power absolute.

And in your hands, sir, how magnificent.

How beautiful.


The world will bow or starve.



Four, five... six.

How many notebooks were there?

Six, I think.

But six ends with notes two weeks old.

It's unfinished.

There must be another.

A seventh notebook.

Ferret has just radioed, sir.

Something's happened. What?

Something about a...

Well, you better speak to him yourself, sir.


You're not going to believe this.

Something incredible came out of the swamps.

Bruno. What came out of the swamps?

Some kinda animal or something.

Got the men.

We wouldn't even be here if it hadn't got after the girl first.


You mean you let her get away?

Here comes trouble.


You in a plane crash?

Just been out walkin'.

You got a phone that works?


This is 5-17.

Operation Mount Pisba.

Get me my next immediate superior, please, and hurry.

Hold on.

I'm putting you through to Ritter.

I think he's been neutral...


This is mobile operator 3-4.

I have an emergency call for you.

Put the call through.

Ritter, this is Cable.

We've had... a catastrophe out here.

What happened?

There was a hit on the compound.

Holland's dead, the lab's gone.

I thought they got you too.

No, I was called away.

Well, I think you were wrong about Arcane.

These guys knew what they were looking for.

And there's only one person...

Hold on, we'll get to you. You can explain later.

Where are you?

A gas station a mile south of the road to the landing.


Did you manage to save anything?

Damn right.

I got the last notebook.

Very good.

I'll be there before you know it.

Turn around.

Doesn't anything work around here?

Just me.

Kickin' it don't help nothin'.

You gotta punch it.


Nothin', name's Jude.


Nice station.

Your dad own it?

Look like your ride's got here.

Come on, let's go!

Don't be afraid, Jude.

You better say that to someone whose desk you ain't hidin' behind.

Is there a gun here?

What kind of place you think this is?

Of course, there is.

Gun's a museum piece.

Stay here.

Took the words right outta my mouth.

Hey, greaseball!

She's mine.

She's got a gun.

Some gun, it blew up on the first shot.

Let's go.

Jam it! Jam it to the floor!

Wait a minute. There she is.

Go, go! Go get her, go on!

Go on!

Watch the tree!

Go, go!

Come on, she's gaining ground on ya!

Hey, there she is.


Got her in your sights.

It's back, stop the Jeep!

Run her down.

Don't stop!



It's okay, it's okay, it's just me.

Oh, Jude, what are you doing here?

If you think I'm gonna stay at the station while they're pumping it full of holes, you're mistaken.

What happened to that thing?

It... hit a tree.

Musta been one of those hit and run kinda trees.

Don't seem to be there now.

Some tree, all right.

There's a trapper's cabin nearby.

Maybe we can get you a fresh change of clothes.

Swamp's no place to be at night.

Come on.

The last patrol is in.

Whatever it is, it disappeared for the night.

Some of the men say it's one of those abdominal snowmen or something.

I tell you, it was like hittin' a tree.

And bullets hurt it, but they don't seem to stop it.

I say we forget this notebook.

It's... it's not worth it.

What are we killin' ourselves for?

Just to find the formula to some... ordinary plant fertilizer?


Something extraordinary came out of the experiments already.

Something that Holland or myself had absolutely no notion of.


Would you recognize immortality if it knocked on your door, gentlemen?

Obviously, you wouldn't, but that's beside the point.

I want this swamp thing and I want the notebook.


Don't worry, I'll get rid of him.

You will not get rid of him.

You will simply... get him.

Pure elements of the formula that determines him are there... in his veins.

But... how can we find it?

It... It's gone into the swamps.

Every time you've seen the girl, you've seen the beast, right?

That's right.

Then we'll find the girl, the beast will follow.

It doesn't exactly maintain a low profile.

He was right.

It is beautiful.

Who was right?

A guy I knew.

He loved these swamps.

Can't you call him?

Maybe he can come and get you.

Ain't got nobody you can call?

Thought I had.

But when I did, those goons showed up back there and started making Swiss cheese outta your gas station.

Didn't pay your bookie or somethin'?

Or somethin'.

Much farther?

Little ways.

Stay here.

Don't worry.

If you hear anyone, you give a yell.

Don't worry.

And if I don't come, just go on and get yourself out.

I can handle myself.

Don't worry.

I'm not worried.

Well, I am.

What happened? Just go!


We're just gonna do our job and get this notebook back to Washington.

The rest isn't my business.

Local people say this place is full of ghosts.

Well, there's gonna be one more before this day is through.

There she is.

Who's that?

Who's that?

That was that thing. Let's go, come on!

What the heck's going on here?

Cut the engine.

Units one and two. Roger.

Sector four on the double.

We got him cornered.

Where is he?

What is he?

I think I see him.

Unit 1 and 2, where the hell are you?

Get over here on the double!

Split up. Go in the back way.

We'll come in straight.

Come here.

There he is, over there.

Open up on him.

Hang on, I'm gonna knock him outta there.

Jesus! Unit two, use the grenades if you have to.

Maybe we can stun him.

Good hit, I think you got him.

He's still goin'. Give him everything you got.

Come on.

We got him now!

Where'd he go? I don't know.

Do you see him?

Yeah, I see him everywhere.

Any sign of him over there?

Nothing, we think maybe he bought the farm, or the vegetable patch.

Who the hell is that?

Smart, that thing is smart.

Very smart, Bruno, very smart.

This thing is considerably intelligent.

He's like a brilliant chess player.

He anticipates every move.

A strong adversary is like a beautiful, dangerous woman.

I've never been able to resist either.

Tell the captain to weigh anchor.

We're going home. No, we're not.

Captured our knight... exposed his queen.

Our move.

Awfully quiet now.

We better get outta here.

I've gotta go back and help.

You just take the notebook and get yourself to safety.

I'll come back for you later.

Go on, do as I say.


Jude, go and do what I told you.

It's not safe here anymore.

You hear?



Oh, shit.

There goes the neighborhood.

Wait a minute, you're the dude that saved us back there, right?

You a friend of Cable?

Then I got somethin' for you.

She said I ought to put it someplace safe.

Where's Arcane? Below.

I'll tell him I've captured his queen.

Walked right into our hands, didn't you?

Real smart.


I knew we couldn't rely on your intelligence.

What I couldn't do for you.

Tell you what...

Tell me where the notebook is and I'll get you out of the swamps.


I don't mind the swamps.

It's the slime that crawls out from under the rocks that turns my stomach.

Oh, nasty mouth.

You're a pretty one.

What do you say to that?

Not much.






Maybe we should go in and check.

No, we go home now.

Sir, but... Home.

It's very kind.

Nice orchid.

Family Orchidaceae.

Genus Orchis.

Over a hundred species here.

Much beauty in the swamp... if you only look.


Oh, I'm sorry.

It must... hurt?

Does it?

Only when I laugh.

Have I gone crazy?

Isn't this a dream?

That's what I keep asking myself.

Everything's a dream... when you're alone.




The man who loves gives hostages to fortune.


Alec Holland.

You knew, didn't you?

You knew we'd be caught.

The only way out... is through.

The occasion for this celebration is, of course, known to you all.

We have captured the dragon and rescued the damsel in distress.

Of course, we regret the loss of our friend, Ferret.

His frayed and volatile temper has destroyed him.

Nonetheless, we regret his loss, regret it deeply.

But to speak the truth, which is essential, regrets are trifles when one considers the grand design.

And we are here tonight in celebration of an event of profound significance...

The duplication of the Holland formula.

For this we must thank the excellence of one man.

Dear, dear Bruno, who won the notebook from which we extracted the final secret.

And topped it by capturing the beast.

So, I propose a toast to the keystone of our success, to our conquest of the world.

To Bruno.


But sir... have you tried it out on a plant yet?

I mean, when are we going to see the results?


Tonight, dear Bruno, immediately.

But not on a plant.

Have you taken it?


I have given the privilege of taking the first dose of our formula to our guest of honor.

Who deserves the privilege thoroughly.

It is you, dear Bruno who will tell us whether or not the formula works.

Bruno, what's the matter with you?




What have you done with Cable?



You're there.

Brain intact.

All your abilities, everything, plus the power... the physical strength.

Bring him in.

Some friend you are.

Sorry, Bruno, it's every man for himself, and God against all.

Why doesn't Bruno have your strength?

We followed the notebooks religiously.

There can be no margin for error.

Why doesn't Bruno there have your strength?

Because he never had it.

No riddles, please.

You will tell me... or you'll Pay-

And for a very dear agent.

Bring her in.

The explanation or her.

Alec, don't!


You don't understand.

There's nothing hidden.

No secrets.

The formula works in so simple a way.

What Bruno took was what changed me.

It only amplifies your essence.

It simply makes you more of what you already are.

Bruno's essence was stupidity... timidity.

The formula simply extended, amplified this to ridiculous forms and proportions.

He shrank.

He shrank to what he actually was.

But if the essence is, let us say, genius, then this genius shall be monumental in body, as well as in spirit.

Is that what you're saying?



Not to be the phenomenon, but the thing in itself.


Absolute beauty, absolute strength and power... physical and spiritual.

To be the world and own it.


Darling, tell Karen to bring me a glass of brandy?

Reach for it.

You thrive on the light, reach for it.


Come. Come.

What's the matter with you?


Go, leave me!

Your arm.


He's taken the formula.

Please, there is a way.

I can't reach it.

But you twist it to the right and then to the left.

Put there in case a guard ever got shut in by mistake.

Come on, follow me.

Come on, follow me!

You'll have to trust me here if you want to survive.

If you don't...

Tell us!

This is the well of the estate fed by a... a spring from the bottom of the great swamp.

If you follow it, you'll come out in the swamp.


Watch your step.

Have a nice trip?

See you in the fall.



Behind you.

I don't understand.

It's healed.

What is it?

It's over.

Alec, let me go with you.

You can start your work again.

With these?

I'll be your hands.


You need to heal.

You need to tell our story.

I'll see you soon.

Until then...

I'll always be with you.




You Okay?

He told me to come get you.

He'll be back, though.