Not really Eisner-winning.

§ May 23rd, 2022 § Filed under swamp thing § 2 Comments

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that the “international” (i.e. uncut) edition of the classic Swamp Thing movie was released on Blu-ray in the UK.

Lemme ‘splain. When it came time for the initial release of the first Swamp Thing movie to DVD, instead of using the U.S. theatrical release (which contained a minor amount of Topless Adrienne Barbeau), they used a somewhat longer cut (by a couple of minutes) featuring Slightly More Topless Adrienne Barbeau, along with a scene featuring (for some reason) a gaggle of topless dancers. I of course go into detail about the situation in this Eisner award-winning post from 2006.

Well anyway, that edition of the DVD was pulled from the market, and later replaced by actual U.S. theatrical cut without the extra nekkidness. The one improvement of the newer DVD was that it was anamorphic, so the picture filled up your widescreen TV. Alas, that uncut edition was not, so all that extra, um, stuff was relegated to a rectangular box in the middle of your screen.

Eventually, that first Swamp Thing movie did get rereleased in a Blu-ray edition, and while there was some hope it would be the 93-minute uncut version, it ended up being the regular 91 minute flick. I talked a tiny bit about the Blu-ray when it came out back in 2013, and it’s a bit alarming to realize that was almost 9 years ago. (Still haven’t listened to those commentary tracks by the way.)

Anyway, I found out somewhere (I don’t even remember where, the act of finding out must have caused traumatic amnesia) that the uncut version was released on Blu-ray in the UK by 88 Films. You know, like I said at the top there. And did I order it right away? Oh yes I did. And here it is:

I bought it from an eBay seller, who asked me after I made the purchase if I was aware it was a UK disc that would only work on players that could accept Region 2 discs. As I had recently acquired a multi-region player, I let him know it was all good.

At this point he mentioned that he had been selling a lot of these, to which I replied “oh, here’s why” and gave him a short version of the above. Yes, I can achieve brevity when I want to, I know it’s hard to believe. He did not know about the initial DVD release and eventual replacement, and thanked me for the info! Also, there’s no real good way to explain you’re buying the UK edition of Swamp Thing to get the restored footage that features extra nudity without sounding like a real creep. I said “LOOK, I’M A SWAMP THING COLLECTOR!” which seemed to amuse him. I did get this nice note with the item:

I haven’t had a chance to properly watch it yet, but I did pop the two versions into the player and saw that there are different special features between the two versions. The interviews with the actors and creator Len Wein that were on the U.S. disc are not on the UK version, and the UK edition has a featurette about the comic/film connection discussed by a British film critic. The makeup artist’s commentary track on the U.S. disc is not on the UK one, but the UK edition does have an interview with the production designer. Both discs have commentary tracks from Wes Craven, but the UK disc says its Craven commentary has a moderator, so I suspect these are different recordings. I’ll know for sure once I give ’em a listen. Finally, a reason to get around to them!

One other thing I noticed is that, like the U.S. edition, the UK release contains both Blu-ray and DVD versions of the film. However, while the Blu-ray is the 93 minute “UNCUT AND UNCENSORED EUROPEAN CUT” (as it says in all caps on the back of the case), the DVD is “89 mins approx.” So it looks like you’re getting both versions of the movie with this package.

Anyway, nice to have the complete film on Blu-ray, which is about as nice as it’s going to get until the 4K 3-D version comes out, at which point I’ll have to buy a new TV just to be able to keep watching Swamp Thing in the best possible way. And, as a warning to anyone of you young’uns over there in Jolly Ol’ thinking about buying or watching this movie for yourselves:

…sorry, must be this high to ride this movie. Come back in a few years, kid.

2 Responses to “Not really Eisner-winning.”

  • Mike Loughlin says:

    “…sorry, must be this high to ride this movie.”

    I don’t think I read that the way it was intended.

  • LondonKdS says:

    And 15 isn’t even the highest rating in Britain, which is 18. But the UK censors nowadays are a bit more tolerant of boobage than the US.