Movie titles are a funny old thing aren’t they. Sometimes you hear them and have no interest in watching the film. I know that, if I hadn’t known all about Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver I would have assumed it would have been a shitty family comedy or animation. Meaning I would have dismissed it and lost out on one of the most fun film experiences of last year. On the other hand, some films have the kind of titles that you can’t ignore. Snakes on a Plane is an obvious example and I still can’t believe some stupid executive attempted to change it. Thank god for Samuel L, eh? Of course, there are more than enough times that these unmissable titles are the best thing about a film. It’s something I’ve come across a lot when researching which 1988 films to watch for this series. There are a lot of random but amazing titles out there but the films don’t sound like they’ll measure up. This was something I definitely suspected from today’s pick. A classic B movie with no budget, bad acting, but a lot of aspiration. But I couldn’t deny that I was instantly hooked by the title.
If I had to sum up the plot of Hell Comes to Frogtown I would describe it as a mixture between Mad Max, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Wind in the Willows. We are introduced to a dystopian society that has emerged after nuclear war had destroyed the Earth. Women have taken control but there is a massive problem with repopulating the human race. Fertile males and females are a rarity and are treated as gods. One such man is Sam Hell (Roddy Piper) who is caught for raping a young woman. When it is discovered that she is pregnant Hell is let off the charges so he can be properly utilised. Hell is taken along with two female soldiers to rescue a group of fertile women who have been taken captive in Frogtown. Frogtown, of course, being a place inhabited by mutant humanoid-frogs. Once the women are rescued Hell will impregnate them all for the good of humanity.
So, you know, just your average Friday night. When you come across a film with a title like this you know that you aren’t going to be watching something amazing. The least you can hope for is a film so bad that it’s good. In that vein, I had such high expectations for Hell Comes to Frogtown. Having picked that title, it clearly had a sense of humour about itself. Unfortunately, this sense of humour is lost as soon as the opening credits are over. It’s following the same B movie formula that all of these films followed but it just doesn’t have that same lightness to it. It’s less than 90 minutes long but it feels like it’s dragging. It’s so bogged down with nonsense that the fun stuff ceases to be any fun.
There are numerous plot points that don’t make sense. And that’s in a film about mutant frog people kidnapping women and an ex-wrestler being the most eligible man on Earth. Obviously the acting isn’t up to much but that’s not really a problem. The problem is the story. It rushes through the stuff we need to focus on and then spends too long on incidental moments. Like a massively unnecessary dance sequence that is included for reasons beyond my understanding. It’s not even as if it’s that sexy. I could at least understand if it were. Because there is plenty of random acts of female nakedness within the rest of the film. This is a film that in unashamed by its B movie origins and will happily find any situation for its female stars to get their tits out. For which I both despair and applaud it.
Before I watched Hell Comes to Frogtown I definitely had grand ideas about it become one of my new favourite films. Like all the shitty horror films that I’ve grown to love over the years. Instead, and in a twist I definitely couldn’t imagine, I was bored. It had all the bases for a great, bad film but it ended up being just plain bad. It wasn’t quite Mamma Mia levels of annoyance but this film wasn’t worth my time.
Who is Murdocal? A casual critic who is a little bit too obsessed with pop culture. A young woman who swears and rants much more than she knows she should whilst trying to make her way in an adult world she isn't prepared for. A not as recent as she'd like literature graduate who, between job applications and subsequent rejections, has turned to the internet to fight the boredom and review the shit out of everything.
"Maybe, just maybe, I'm the faller. Every family has someone who falls, who doesn't make the grade, who stumbles, who life trips up. Maybe I'm our faller."