Anchor Bay // 1987 // 86 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // August 10th, 2001
In the future, fertile women will be extinct, evil frogs will rule the world, and lusty women will hunger for a taste of Hell!
There are some movies that, for certain people, reach mythical proportions. For years, I'd heard of a little low-budget movie called Hell Comes To Frogtown. Once I heard that name, there was no shaking it. How can you forget a title like that? Plain and simple; you can't. I later discovered that it starred my favorite WWF wrestler of yore, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Double whammy. Yet for some reason I never sought out Hell Comes To Frogtown. Maybe I was too busy watching Friday The 13th Part VI. Or maybe I was to enthralled with reruns of "What's Happening?" on TV. Whatever the excuse, I am sorry to report I'd never seen Hell Comes To Frogtown up until the other day. What was I missing? Only the best movie ever made! Well, at least the best movie ever made with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, gigantic mutant frogs, and radioactive nookie. It's all here for your DVD pleasure care of Anchor Bay in the cult classic Hell Comes To Frogtown.
War is Hell. Hell is Sam. Sam Hell is in Frogtown. Got all that?
In a radioactive future, almost all men have been rendered sterile. Only a small handful of guys are able to "perform" their duties as citizens. One of these men is the rough and ready Sam Hell (Piper). Hell has been captured by an organization intent on getting the world back on track by using fertile bubbas to get ovulating honies pregnant.
Dear Lord, if by chance this movie ever becomes a reality, I hope to high heaven that my love guns still work!
Sam Hell signs a contract with a female government to head into Frogtown to rescue a band of fertile women who have been seized by the vicious amphibious leader, Commander Toty (Brian Frank). Led by Spangle (Sandahl Bergman), a beautiful hardnosed government agent, Sam's "guns" are locked down in a chastity belt that give him an uncomfortable shock whenever he wanders too far or does the wrong thing (which is often).
Inside the dreaded Frogtown live mutant frogs that can walk, talk and curse just like the humans, only they're uglier. Captured and in trouble, Sam, Spangle and a few other hot women must make their way out of Frogtown to freedom, though it's not going to be easy. Along the way, they're going to run into a horny Frog-woman named Arabella (Kristi Somers), unrelenting chainsaws, and the unbelievable "dance of the three snakes."
Do our hero's stand a chance in "Hell" getting out of Frogtown alive? Or will they "croak" under pressure?
I was left speechless after my viewing of Hell Comes To Frogtown. Someone actually backed the production of this film. Someone with deep pockets heard the plot summary, looked the makers in the eye, and honestly said, "So, will nine hundred thousand cover it?" Someone whom I have never met is my new hero.
Hell Comes To Frogtown is endlessly entertaining. It's a shame that Roddy Piper doesn't work more in movies these days. A few years after Hell Comes To Frogtown came out, he was cast in John Carpenter's underrated They Live. After that, he's gone down the tubes of obscurity, popping up on the occasional TV show or some cheapie B-movie (not unlike Hell Comes To Frogtown). His delivery of such lines as "You try makin' love in a hostile mutant environment, and we'll see how you like it!" proves that Piper's an absolute wiz with dialogue. His smarmy, smart-ass retorts are so funny and fresh that he's the best thing about this movie. Well, that is, right next to the beautiful babies that strut their stuff on screen. For you complete freaks, there's even a mutant frog dancer with a body to die for and a face that only a mother could love. I hate to sound like a typical guy, but the honest truth is that every woman on screen is basically there to be ogled at. They're all scantily clad in nighties and negligees, and it's hard to see past that into their characterization. Hey, before you lambast me, answer me one question: how easy is it to get past the pictorials to appreciate the articles in Playboy?
That's what I thought.
Then again, what am I defending? Hell Comes To Frogtown is blatant T&A to the max (as the director points out in the commentary track), with a few ugly toads mixed in. For a film sporting such a low budget, Hell Comes To Frogtown does wonders with the special effects and make-up. Though it won't knock your socks off, Hell Comes To Frogtown has some pretty good effects in it, including those wacky walkin' and talkin' toads. Granted, its age and budget shows, but if you're watching a movie called Hell Comes To Frogtown for a airtight plot with spectacular effects, well...you're hopping on the wrong lily pad. So the script isn't great, but at least it's original; how many "search and rescue fertile women from mutant frog" movies have you seen lately?
Of course, the answer I'm looking for is "not enough."
Hell Comes To Frogtown is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. I am once again impressed with how nice a job Anchor Bay has done on such a small title. Colors never looked washed out or faded, and blacks were solid with no signs of gray. Though there were a few spots where grain were spotted, these were far and few between. No edge enhancement was spotted, nor was digital artifacting. Very nice work by Anchor Bay Entertainment.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital Surround 2.0. All aspects of the film were clean and clear, including dialogue, effects, music and "ribbits." I'll always lobby for a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix, though this track does its job fine. No subtitles are included.
Hell Comes To Frogtown includes two small but decent extras. The first is a commentary track by director Donald G. Jackson and writer Randall Frakes. The commentary track is not quite as goofy as you'd think (after all, this is a movie about mutant reptiles), though it's very informative. They discuss the fate of the film (straight to video since New World Pictures went into bankruptcy right before t was to be distributed to 1,100 theaters) as well as many cut scenes. It may be a bit dry, but it's pretty fun for fans of Frogtown. The second feature is an anamorphic theatrical trailer that definitely doesn't take itself too seriously.
If you look at Hell Comes To Frogtown from a certain point-of-view (such as a serious filmmaker's vantage point), then yes, there are many things wrong with it. If, however, you look at it at 1:45 in the morning with a bowl of Fritos and a six-pack of beer, then Hell Comes To Frogtown becomes your new best friend. Guess which way I decided to look at it?
The fact that Hell Comes To Frogtown was even made gives it merit alone. That it's a decent B-movie only adds fuel to the fire. Anchor Bay must be the most fun place in the world to work. I can imagine that everyday starts with someone saying, "Hey, we just got the rights to put out Night of the Creeps on DVD!" It would be like working in a candy store everyday of your life. If you haven't seen Hell Comes To Frogtown yet, by all means get out your rental card and hurry over to your local video store. If you have seen it and want another taste of Hell, then this is your chance to get a great widescreen version with a few goodies to boot!
Roddy Piper. Mutant frogs. Hot '80s women. 'Nuff said.
Hell Comes To Frogtown is free to go.
Review content copyright © 2001 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 1987
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Theatrical Trailer
* Commentary by Director Donald G. Jackson and Writer Randall Frakes