Return of Swamp Thing Getting a Blu-ray Release With a Rifftrax Twist

With a new Rifftrax Live performance currently funding on Kickstarter, the comedy troupe is making some DVDs and Blu-rays of their previous Live show available -- and it's a fun one. 2022's Rifftrax Live was Return of Swamp Thing, meaning that DC fans can now buy physical media featuring the Rifftrax crew roasting a character whose next movie will be in theaters soon! The film, originally released in 1989, starred Heather Locklear and was directed by Jim Wynorski (Chopping Mall, Deathstalker II). Following the success of the 1982 Wes Craven Swamp Thing movie, this one got a lot sillier.

RiffTrax, for the uninitiated, is a group of comedians who watch a movie and make jokes about it in real time. If that sounds a lot like the cult classic Mystery Science Theater 3000 to you, that's no accident: Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy, the former stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000, are the guys making the jokes. The Mystery Science Theater 3000 that currently exists is produced by series creator Joel Hodgson, who retains the rights to the property (but not, obviously, the formula itself).

Fans can preorder a DVD or Blu-ray at the BackerKit site originally set up for the Return of Swamp Thing Kickstarter campaign last year. Each new Rifftrax Live uses crowdfunding to acquire the rights to screen the film, and later to release it with the Rifftrax commentary. In exchange, backers can get digital downloads, exclusive merch, or a chance to have your name appear in the credits of the Rifftrax version of the movie.

Return of the Swamp Thing didn't set the world on fire with critics, scoring just 44% positive reviews, according to Rotten Tomatoes' records. It was also a box office failure, earning under $1 million against its reported $3 million budget -- but it did well on home video, and it helped segue into a series on USA Network, which ran from 1990 until 1993. In 1991, five episodes of an animated series were produced.

The movie did well on VHS, and got a DVD release years later, which included a commentary track from Wynorski, who did not seem thrilled by the film or by Swamp Thing as a property. It has been released on Blu-ray, and in February, got a first-ever 4K UHD release, with subsequent releases adding additional special features that weren't on that original DVD.