.I wonder if Paramount has any legal grounds with Echo Bridge's release. Not because their fresh disc looks awful, that's undeniable, but the rights might still be in Paramount's stable. According to the IMDB, distribution only resided with Dimension/Miramax theatrically. Paramount had copyrights for VHS, LD, and their 2006 DVD. That disc is now out-of-print; however, that doesn't necessarily mean the giant gave up distribution. The six sequels after Hell on Earth are indeed handled by Dimension. Further complicating matters, with the Weinstein brothers' exit from Miramax, all Dimension property released before October 1, 2005 are retained by Miramax. Although does that mean both theatrically and home video regardless of other partner companies like Paramount?
see a list of their releases here). Trolling through swap meets, Top Ten's discs can still be found and I have some of them. The replication of these discs was so terrible most have very labored playback if they spin up at all. Their Hell on Earth DVD was an unauthorized rip from Paramount's unmatted full frame LaserDisc. The picture exhibits bad dot crawl (see explaination here) indicative of the LD's composite video stream being captured from an entry-level player like a weak comb filter. Not only does Echo Bridge's disc also show dot crawl in spades; there's bad line combing, compression artifacts, and the picture is horizontally stretched to fill a "fake" anamorphic widescreen frame. Notice how there's a bit more picture on the top and bottom of their captures. Full frame stretched to widescreen; could this presentation be any worse?
No idea as to why Echo Bridge chose to do this, but it interesting to note while their disc carries the retro Dimension: A Division of Miramax Films fanfare, both the Paramount and Anchor Bay UK discs carry no such logo. Maybe it was all a manner of Echo Bridge finding a presentation with the Miramax logo to justify this release? Either way, if this lousy studio has the balls to debut this on Blu-ray using this transfer, it'll easily be the worst looking title in the format's history. Hell, they would have to considering the original film elements are probably in a Paramount Pictures vault somewhere...
Thankfully, both the Paramount and Anchor Bay are very solid. They're quite similar to each other in terms of image quality, but Anchor Bay's disc is unrated running about four minutes longer. The Paramount includes the theatrical trailer and Clive Barker: The Art of Horror featurette (originally a bonus VHS with rentals of the film at Blockbuster). The Anchor Bay UK features a commentary with Anthony Hickox and Doug Bradley, recent and past interviews, theatrical trailer, and a poster gallery. Both releases are currently out-of-print, so it might taken some diligence to find copies now.
(Paramount 1st / Echo Bridge 2nd / Anchor Bay UK 3rd, saved as uncompressed .pngs, click for full size)