Swamp Thing (4K UHD Collector’s Edition Review)

First appearing in DC Comics Horror series House of Secrets in July of 1971 (issue #92), Swamp Thing is a hero of a different kind. Born from mutation, Swamp Thing by definition is a conservationist, out to protect nature from opportunists, but also humans who are threatened.

A unique concept, Swamp Thing would find his way into other forms of popular culture through the years, and in 1982 the character emerged on the silver screen. Entitled Swamp Thing, the feature film premiered in North American theaters in February of 1982 and was met with mixed reviews. Critics aside, the film has remained a fan-favorite for over four decades now… and it stands to reason why. First and foremost, it was written and directed by the late, great Wes Craven. An interesting aspect, you could argue that Swamp Thing is one of the tamest films Craven had ever worked on. In fact, the theatrical cut of Swamp Thing was actually rated PG by the MPAA. Wild to think Craven actually ever had a more family-orientated film under his belt, Swamp Thing came nearly a decade after his eye-popping, controversial 1972 debut The Last House on the Left and preceded his all-time classic, 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, by two years.

Swamp Thing (1982)

Quite compelling tidbits of information, the film also features a really cool cast that included the late, yet underappreciated and highly talented David Hess (The Last House on the Left 1972, The House on the Edge of the Park 1980), ‘80s cinema beauty Adrienne Barbeau (Maude series, The Fog 1980), as well as Ray Wise (RoboCop 1987, Twin Peaks series). All recognizable names, you could also argue that the direction and script of Swamp Thing may have bridged the gap for Craven when laying out the story for Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street

How do you ask? Well, much of his prior work was more underground, brutal, and less appealing to the average viewer (this is also the case even with 1977’s The Hills Have Eyes). That said, Swamp Thing was presented like a comic storybook and the characters are more developed, thus ushering in the more mainstream approach seen within A Nightmare on Elm Street. Either way, Swamp Thing is an interesting moment in Craven’s history and should be celebrated. That is why it is exciting to announce the release of Swamp Thing on 4K UHD + Blu-ray.

Released on July 25, 2023 in North America through MVD Entertainment, the new release comes in a 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray collector’s edition, but also as a single disc Blu-ray. A part of the MVD Rewind Collection, upon picking up the 4K collector’s edition you cannot help but feel the nostalgia based on the packaging alone. Featuring the classic Swamp Thing comic-like art on the front, even though it is a slim plastic 4K disc case with a slip cover, it somehow feels like an old school VHS. Perhaps merely the power of suggestion, it effectively transports you back to the age of the video store. Anyway, once you slip off the cover and open the case, there is a really nice mini-poster of the cover art. A quality add-on, where this release really excels is in the presentation of the film itself.

Swamp Thing (1982)

Presented in a 4K restoration from a 16-Bit scan of the original camera negative, the imagery is as crisp, clean, and as bright as ever. With the large majority of the scenes taking place within murky swamps, the colors pop more here and the new found clarity is impossible to ignore. Delightful to watch, what is perhaps the best attribute is that this set includes these restorations in 4K of both the US theatrical PG version and unrated international version of Swamp Thing. Not possessing a drastic difference, the run-times are only two minutes apart, with the PG version absent of a few brief seconds of nudity. So, if you are an adult, and do not have your mom covering your eyes during particular scenes of a movie anymore, it is great that you get to watch the uncut edition like a big boy or girl. However, if you are an adult with your children in the room, but still want them to enjoy the fantastical story of Swamp Thing, you can merely put on the PG version and not worry that some unwanted surprises might pop up.  

All in all, MVD Entertainment did a fine job of putting together this collector’s edition of Swamp Thing in 4K. From the packaging, to the transfers, to including both versions, to the extras (audio commentary from Wes Craven to Adrienne Barbeau), this is the definitive format to add to your collection. A fun (PG version) film for the whole family, Cryptic Rock gives the collector’s edition of Swamp Thing 4K UHD + Blu-ray 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Swamp Thing / MVD Entertainment (2023)

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