Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Review: Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988)

“Hey, you try making love to a complete stranger in a hostile, mutant environment, see how you like it.”

Directors: Donald G. Jackson and R.J. Kizer
Starring: Roddy Piper and Sandahl Bergman
Writers: Randall Frakes

I’m a big wrestling fan and not just with the current stuff, but I was introduced to WWE when I was a kid and grew up on Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, The Million Dollar Man and of course Rowdy Roddy Piper. One day I managed to catch They Live and saw how great Mr Piper was as an action star. Since then I’ve always heard about this little film about frogs, but I could never find a copy. I have finally rectified that.

The movie has a really cheesy post apocalypse story going for it, which could have only really been made in the 80’s. Basically after a war the world has gone to hell. Most males are now sterile and to top that off you have frog mutants running about and they really don’t like humans. In this world of chaos comes our hero Sam Hell (Roddy Piper), one of the few men who is fertile. Captured by the government his junk becomes their property and his put to work repopulating the human race. Well first he needs to go to Frogtown and rescue some females. Yep the plot is bloody ridiculous and pretty much is the first hurdle to whether you will like this movie or not.

Do I really need to get into acting? I mean can you tell from the premise that subtlety is a word that’s not really known. What’s that? You want me to be a proper reviewer and cover all the point. Okay. So everyone on set has obviously been given orders to ham it up. This makes everything a bit of a crap shoot, as the over the topness might not really appeal to everyone. Having said that, Roddy Piper proves yet again that he could have been a great action star, it’s a shame his career never really hit the highs of a Stallone or hell even a Segal. He’s got charisma to burn and can make you like a character even if he has some shady edges.

Special effects are laughable but then what do you expect from an older movie, and one that was shot on a budget. Still the frog get ups are better than the sequels (remakes), and there is a certain bit of nostalgic lovability that comes through in the movie. Also the movie makes the most of its settings so it does seem like a wasteland. Everything else is pretty much standard direction, Jackson and Kizer seem focused on just getting the movie shot and allowing for the weirdness of the story to really drive it.

Hell Comes to Frogtown hasn’t really aged well but there is a certain amount of nostalgic charm to it. This movie relies on the charm of Roddy Piper and the weird premise to really push it along. If you like the idea of the story then you’ll probably like the movie, if not then it’s probably best to avoid. Personally if you are interested in this movie then I suggest you watch this with They Live to make a Roddy Piper double feature.

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