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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Empire of the Ants / Jaws of Satan (aka "King Cobra") [Blu-ray]

 

(Bert I. Gordon, 1977 / Bob Claver, 1981)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: American International Pictures (AIP) / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Video: Shout! Factory (Scream! Factory)

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Empire of the Ants Runtime: 1:29:38.414

Jaws of Satan Runtime: 1:32:20.576

Disc Size: 45,973,905,123 bytes

Empire of the Ants Feature Size: 23,652,820,992 bytes

Jaws of Satan Feature Size: 19,855,337,472 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.83 Mbps / 25.55 Mbps

Chapters: 12 / 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 26th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 / 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary on Empire of the Ants:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), None

 

Extras:

EMPIRE OF THE ANTS
New Audio Commentary With Director Bert I. Gordon
Photo Gallery (3:12)
Radio Spots (1:00)
Theatrical Trailer (2:19)
 

JAWS OF SATAN
Theatrical Trailer (1:51)

 

Other Shout! Factory Trailers (Food of the Gods and Frogs)

 

Bitrate:

Empire of the Ants

 

 

Jaws of Satan

 

 

 

Description:

Empire Of The Ants
Sleazy scam artist
Joan Collins tries to sell phony real estate deals down in the Florida everglades. What she and her unsuspecting buyers don't know is the area has been taken over by giant ants!

Jaws Of Satan
A preacher whose ancestors were cursed by Druids battles Satan, who has taken the form of a huge snake.

 

 

 

Empire of the Ants:

In the '50s, Bert I. Gordon made a career out of sci-fi movies about gigantic mutated insects (Beginning of the End, Earth vs. the Spider), lizards (King Dinosaur, Serpent Island), and even people (The Amazing Colossal Man), and in 1977, he was still up to his old tricks with this picture, loosely adapted from a story by H.G. Wells. Marilyn Fryser (Joan Collins) is a less than scrupulous businesswoman who is trying to sell shares in a worthless Florida housing development to a group of naive souls. However, both Marilyn and her potential customers have bigger things to worry about than low property values, when they discover that a large stock of nuclear waste was dumped near the development site, and the result is a pack of gigantic mutated ants with a nasty disposition and a taste for human blood. The supporting cast features Robert Lansing, John David Carson, and Albert Salmi.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Jaws of Satan

The slight amount of credibility required for a successful horror movie is lost in the opening scenes of this derivative story of a cobra who is really Satan in disguise, taking revenge against a Catholic priest for some crimes committed by the priest's ancestors. When the cobra invades a train full of people, the glass partition that keeps the snake safely away from the actors is quite visible and is even emphasized as the poor snake hits its head against it. After that inauspicious beginning, the film cannot really go downhill, but it continues the same standard in the acting and script. Father Farrow (Fritz Weaver) belongs to a family cursed long ago because they persecuted Druids. Now snakes are taking the lead from the "king cobra" and attacking people in the town where the demoniacally harassed Father lives, while the mayor and local town leaders try to cover up the reptilian menace so as not to scare off patrons for the soon-to-be opened dog racetrack. Even if the snakes had raced the dogs, this horror film is too trite and predictable to be salvaged.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

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

Shout! Factory (under the sub 'Scream Factory' identifier) offers up a double-feature of creature-feature-leaning films on a lone, dual-layered, Blu-ray. These are both 1080P and their respective image qualities have parity - looking, more or less, the same. The visuals are decent enough - especially considering the modest-budget productions. Effects are exposed by the higher resolution - but I'll wager they never looked totally convincing originally either. Colors are similar in both - bright and tight and there is some notable depth. Detail is acceptable - with the weakest elements remaining the special effects of the giant ants. Both film's look superior to an SD transfer, with a hint of noise in Jaws of Satan. Both are very clean with no speckles or damage. The Blu-ray supplies an acceptable presentation most probably replicating the theatrical appearance quite adeptly.

 

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

 

Empire of the Ants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jaws of Satan (aka "King Cobra")

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Both films have a linear PCM 2.0 channel track at a reasonable 2304 kbps. Effects showcase some depth but the quality is only marginally better than the video's less-impressive realism via the effects. Empire of the Ants has a score by veteran Dana Kaproff (The Big Red One, Between the Darkness and the Dawn). Jaws of Satan use Roger Kellaway (Legacy, Silent Scream,The Mafu Cage) for the score and it adds a quirky touch. Both music soundtracks export competently via the lossless. There are optional English subtitles (SDH) on the region 'A' Blu-ray disc.

 

Extras :

Empire of the Ants gets a new audio commentary with director Bert I. Gordon sharing details of the production - again, notable on his effects. There is also a photo gallery, 2 radio spots and a theatrical trailer. For Jaws of Satan we only get a trailer with the film named "King Cobra".

 

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I had never seen Jaws of Satan (King Cobra) and I was kind of drawn to it although it's all over the board. I've always liked Gretchen Corbett (Beth on The Rockford Files) and if only it had some better scripting - it could have been a decent film. Empire of the Ants is old hat for this revisionist creature-feature genre but there is some latent star-power with ageless Joan Collins, steady Robert Lansing, Albert Salmi, Jacqueline Scott (Macabre) and the sexy Pamela Shoop (poopy-doop.) The Shout! Factory Blu-ray has some nostalgic value and makes for a balanced double-feature. Nice to see the commentary adding value but only those with a bent for bad cinema can get the most out of a purchase. Me? I'll re-watch. 

Gary Tooze

May 19th, 2015

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

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Gary W. Tooze

 

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