Thursday, September 4, 2014

A cracker film from the 70s -- Swamp Girl

By Doug Gibson

"Swamp Girl" is a real "cracker" film. A deep South drive-in, Saturday matinee film that bombed at the box office largely due to that dichotemy. The film is very tame, tame enough indeed to play at a kids' Saturday matinee. That is was a best a soft PG is a bit perplexing given that the director was Don Davis, who was more comfortable shooting soft-core porn in that era. (Davis also has a memorable but small role as a drunk in Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space.)

"Swamp Girl" is an interesting film and watchable. It stars a "Marcia Brady" lookalike (Simone Griffith) who is a gorgeous teenage blonde named Janeen who lives in the swamp with her guardian, a black man she calls "Paw." It seems that Swamp Girl was abandoned as a baby and later Paw rescued her from drug dealers who killed her earlier guardian. Despite living in a swamp, swamp girl is gorgeous, with creamy white skin, tanned shaved legs, beautifully coiffed blonde hair and wears a cut summery type of dress. She also is friends with the local sheriff (Claude King) and the swamp ranger, played by southern crooner Ferlin Husky (he of Hillbillys in a Haunted House fame).

To go on, one day a con and his girlfriend are on the run. They turn up at Swamp Girl's house, kill "Paw" and take Swamp Girl hostage as they seek escape through the swamp. However, Swamp Girl, who knows the swamp all too well, turns the tables on the baddies and makes their lives miserable in the swamp. Eventually, the bad guy sinks to his death in quicksand and his girlfriend is eaten by 'gators. (There's a subplot involving some local criminals who want to kill Swamp Girl for some reason but viewers can ignore and just star at Griffith prancing through the swamp)

Besides the plot as mentioned, Ferlin Husky sings a song or two and I think there's a half-baked, chaste romance between Swamp Girl and a deputy. There's also, and let me make this clear, no R-rated material in this film. As mentioned, it's quite tame.

It's an enjoyable 70 minutes or so and is a chance to see a genre film (southern justice) that is very low budget and all late '60s early '70s deep South. And, it was filmed at a real swamp, Okefenokee Swamp Park, near Waycross, Georgia. It can be purchased via Something Weird, which recently showed the film on OnDemand cable. Enjoy the trailer above!

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