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directed by Donald G. Jackson, R.J. Kizer
USA 1988

Although perhaps not as well-remembered as star "Rowdy" Roddy Piper's other eighties sci-fi venture John Carpenter's THEY LIVE, New World Pictures' HELL COMES TO FROGTOWN is not without its low budget charms. The plot of a virile outlaw on a mission to impregnate fertile women is rife with softcore possibilities that would have been exploited in the seventies - or even in the eighties by New World's lower-budget contemporary Empire Pictures - but the end product plays as a mesh of MAD MAX and A BOY AND HIS DOG (but with ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK's Snake Plissken in the lead). In the future, nuclear war has decimated much of the population and left almost all of the remainder infertile. World powers are in a re-population war, and Medtech's job is to find fertile males and females. "Scavenger" Sam Hell (Piper) is wrested from the clutches of Captain Devlin (William Smith, GRAVE OF THE VAMPIRE) by Medtech scientist Spangle (Sandahl Bergman, CONAN THE BARBARIAN). He is fitted with an explosive chastity device, and taken on a suicide mission - accompanied by soldier Sentinella (Cec Verrell, SILK) - to rescue fertile women from the harem of Commander Toady (Brian Frank, PACIFIC RIM), ruler of Frogtown (mutant frogs being a side effect of the nuclear devastation). With the help of insiders Arabella (Kristi Somers, RUMBLE FISH) - headlining entertainer at Leroy's - and human Uranium prospector Looney Tunes (Rory Calhoun, MOTEL HELL, Hell and Spangle infiltrate Frogtown. Things get complicated, however, when Toady's second-in-command Bull (Nicholas Worth, SWAMP THING) - as in "Bullfrog" - snatches Spangle away from Hell and prepares her to perform the "Dance of the Three Snakes" that few of Toady's harem have survived.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: January 1988 (USA)

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 Comparison:

Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Arrow Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas and Gary Tooze for the Screen Caps!

(Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT)

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Anchor Bay Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

Arrow Films
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:26:18 1:26:35.231
Video

1.83:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.21 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 38,467,568,712 bytes

Feature: 24,961,302,144 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Anchor Bay Entertainment

 

Bitrate:

 

Arrow Blu-ray 

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

Subtitles None None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.83:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary with director Donald G. Jackson and writer Randall Frakes
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:52)

DVD Release Date: 10 July 2001
Amaray

Chapters 22
 

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Films

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 38,467,568,712 bytes

Feature: 24,961,302,144 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Grappling with the Green Gargantuans
(20:16)

• Create Feature Creator (15:26)

• Amphibian Armageddon (14:10)

• Extended Scene (2:31)

• Trailer (1:52)

Blu-ray Release Date: February 3rd, 2014
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-rays (February 2014): The new Arrow improves in all areas in the a/v. The 1.78:1 video is brighter, far superior colors and skin tones and shows more information in the frame as well as a higher level of detail. It's an 80's film and the generic film stock used then was less than pristine and Hell Comes to Frogtown will never appear dynamically tighter than this dual-layered transfer with a max'ed out bitrate. There is some acceptable grit and texture, no depth, and the visuals are free of gloss or digital manipulations. It looks as the film should and deviants quite dramatically from the inferior 2001 SD rendering.

Audio gets the lossless treatment. A decent linear PCM and some of the aggressive effects export surprising bass response. The track is clean but a shade scattered (which is probably authentic.) There are no subtitles offered on the region 'B'-locked Blu-ray.

ABOUT THE EXTRAS: Arrow Video's Blu-ray/DVD combo drops the Anchor Bay audio commentary with co-director Donald G. Jackson and Randall Frakes, but that doesn't mean their release is not a special edition. Although fans may want to hold onto the older disc, the UK import features three new interviews with people from the film who were not involved with the Anchor Bay edition. Star Rowdy Roddy Piper, who is always great to listen to reminisces about the production, about his lack of acting skills, how the director didn't 'like him' and so on for about 20-minutes under the title 'Grappling with the Green Gargantuans'. It is fun. 15-minutes of 'Create Feature Creator' has Steve Wang talking about the effects and lastly, 'Amphibian Armageddon' spends 15-minutes with "Commander Toady" actor Brian Frank who seems like a nice guy. There is also a trailer. The disc also features a workprint extended opening scene, of 2.5-minutes in 1.33:1, that introduces the protagonist. Besides Arrow's customary reversible cover, they also include another collector's booklet with new writing about the film (this was not supplied for review).

This was a lot of fun - it's gets a bit bogged down in the middle but is still plenty of enjoyment. Who doesn't love Roddy Piper? I am sure no was expecting another Citizen Kane with the title "Hell Comes to Frogtown". I endorse to those keen - you might be pleasantly surprised at the level of campy fun.  

 -Gary Tooze and Eric Cotenas

 


Menus
(Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT)


 

 
 

 
 

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

(Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)


(Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)


(Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)


(Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)


(Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)


(Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)


(Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras:

Draw

 

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Anchor Bay Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

Arrow Films
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray



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