Max Hell Frog Warrior Making Max Hell

Max Hell 4
The Making of Max Hell Frog Warrior AKA Toad Warrior
Here is an early Press Release Article about the creation of Max Hell Frog Warrior.


The film
Max Hell Frog Warrior began to take shape in February of 1996. Scott Shaw was in San Francisco completing production on a feature he had begun filming in Bangkok, Thailand. Donald G. Jackson contacted Shaw and asked him if he wanted to team-up and make another Zen Film. Shaw and Jackson had not worked together since 1992, when they completed the second film in The Roller Blade Seven Trilogy, Return of the Roller Blade Seven. In the interim, Jackson had gone on to make several script-based films while Shaw had moved forward with his concept of Zen Filmmaking, making several features; most notable: Samurai Vampire Bikers from Hell, Samurai Johnny Frankenstein, and Samurai Ballet. Shaw agreed and the team went into production.

Initially, Max Hell Frog Warrior was to be titled, Road Toad. Shaw was to star and the co-star was to be Julie Strain. The title then shifted to Hell Comes to Hogtown. In this version, Shaw was to ride his Harley Davidson motorcycle, while taking on and defeating various foes. The title then shifted to Toad Warrior, as the team wanted to give the film a more apocalyptic visual-scape.

The motivation for this film was that Jackson wanted to reexamine his original ideal for his famed cult hit, Hell Comes to Frogtown—as that production was taken over by New World Pictures, a large production company at the time, and Jackson felt his true vision for the film had been robbed. As such, he wanted to recapture his original concept.

Production went up and the Shaw/Jackson team went about creating a true Zen Film; i.e. they used no scripts, they only let the moment guide their cinematic vision, and they only allowed true spontaneity to dictate what was captured on film.

The team recruited their friend Jill Kelly as the female lead. Since they first put her on screen in The Roller Blade Seven she had gone on to become a driving force in the Adult Film Industry. They also brought on long time friends: Indie Film Demigods, Joe Estevez and Conrad Brooks, (the last remaining star from the films of Ed Wood).

Production of this film went on for several months. During this same period of time, Shaw and Jackson also began laying the foundations for additional feature films such as: Armageddon Blvd and Ride with the Devil.

During the filming of what was then titled Toad Warrior, Shaw and Jackson left a lot of room for individual creativity at the hands of some of the advanced actors like Joe Estevez and Roger Ellis. Though much of the bizarre footage was never planned to be used in the final edit, Shaw and Jackson felt that it was fun to take part in during the filming.

The 1997 American Film Market was quickly approaching, so the team knew the film had to be edited. As Shaw was in Hawaii doing another film, Jackson enlisted the man who had edited his film Roller Blade Warriors to put the cinematic pieces together. What was created was a film that neither Jackson nor Shaw thought represented the true essence or vision of what they had in mind for this film. Though neither of the filmmakers liked the finished product, they had to have the full feature ready for AFM, so they left the edit intact.

Though film distribution companies from Japan, Malaysia, and the Philippines purchased limited theatrical film distribution rights, the video rights to Toad Warrior were never released. The only people who actually saw this version of the film were a few friends of Jackson and Shaw, who had been provided screening copies, and a couple of magazine editors who were given copies for review. That was up until 2006.

Film Piracy
In 2006 a film distribution company somehow obtained a master copy of Toad Warrior and released it on a compilation DVD. They did this without obtaining any of the rights to the film from Scott Shaw.

Since the passing of Jackson, Scott Shaw is the sole owner of all rights to this film, by whatever title it is named. It is unknown how this company obtained a master of the film. It can only be surmised that a duplication of the beta master was created sometime, by some unscrupulous individual, during the final stages of post production.

The Recreation
Since the films creation, Shaw and Jackson both wanted to go back into the film, reedit it, and release a version that they felt more ideally represented the footage they shot and the storyline they created.

In 1999, Shaw took the film and created the first Zen Speed Flick. A Zen Speed Flick is a concept designed by Jackson and Shaw, where a film is cut down to its most essential elements, leaving only the most interesting and fast-pasted moments. A Zen Speed Flick is ideally designed to be about twenty or thirty minutes in length. The Zen Speed Flick version of this film was titled, Max Hell Come to Frogtown.

In 2001, Shaw at the editing helm, took the previously edited master, removed some of the scenes Jackson and he did not feel truly represented the film, reworked other scenes, added additional, originally unused scenes, and retitled the project, Max Hell Frog Warrior. This was the only intended and authorized release of this film.

Due to the fact that the unauthorized version of Toad Warrior had been distributed, in 2007, Shaw released the true/original version of Toad Warrior. Though the necessity of his releasing the original version of this film was an unexpected turn of events, Shaw believes this will allow the viewer to have a glimpse into the overall filmmaking process that took place with this film, while not putting money into the pockets of the company who released this film without obtaining any of the rights.

For additional insight read the articles:

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