Sunday, April 18, 2010

Frogs (1972).

This is a film for the genre in the loosest sense. But only someone with a heart of stone can resist 1970s eco-horror! Especially when Frogs has a poster like this:

And a trailer like this:
(NB: the quicksand death was deemed too silly and changed in the final cut)

Frogs! Killer frogs! Not giant, man-eating ones like that poster suggests, but still.

Actually hang on, they're not even technically killer frogs. We never see them attack anyone... hmm. If anything they seem to be overseeing things; the entire film is interspersed with shots of frogs looking.

"Our plan is coming together nicely sir..."

If there was ever any doubt over the question "Can frogs be scary?" I think we have an answer. Even en masse, they are still just a big pile o'frogs. Not exactly nightmare material. Even when clawing at the window, it's funny more than anything.

Lemme in!

So watch this expecting to be charmed, rather than terrified. Unless you have ranidaphobia, I suppose.

Any horror to be found here is probably in the fashions...

Yeah okay, that was a cheap shot.

Seriously though, the beauty of Frogs lies in the fact the concept is pretty much ridiculous (as a nod to this, the title should have had an exclamation mark: Frogs!) but it's all played entirely, fabulously straight.

An eco-system retaliating against humans who've been trying to kill it off sounds like a right-on idea, with a plausible amount of scares. Yet here, despite most of the critters involved having earned many horror airmiles - snakes, spiders, leeches, alligators - there are only a couple of moments where the viewer isn't giggling.

Leeches to the face, urrgh.

Watching a character limply fending off Spanish moss, though? Pardon me if the goosebumps take a while with that one. No really, don't wait around, I'll call you when it happens.

Lead Sam Elliott, as hunky hero Pickett Smith, strides around the Florida swampland in his denim outfit, frowning at the pollution and discovering bodies. Later, he urges the others to give up the fight and leave the area. Do they listen? Do they 'eck.

Those who aren't murdered, flee. Leaving only crotchety grandpa to stubbornly stay, as the animals take over his estate.

"I will not have my fourth of July schedule disrupted...!" he bellows. You may have to share your cake then, pops.

I think I need more nature-revenge films in my life. I think we all do.


  1. This is such a joyfully terrible movie that reading your post and looking at those photos makes me happy. I love the fact that the frogs are actually toads, that all they do is stare and ribbit, that there's a weird racial divide that's never resolved, that one dude dies via being locked in a poisonous greenhouse by lizards, that one woman dies chasing butterflies, and that grandpa still wants his party after the death of his grandsom.

    Sigh. I need to own this movie.

  2. My review should have just been that paragraph of yours! Perfectly encapsulated!

    I'll be watching it again on Friday, with my best mate who's a Sam Elliott obsessive.

  3. Perhaps the only downside of the film is that Sam is sans 'stache. Then again, he's also shirtless. It's an evening of the pile, if you will.

  4. Haha, god yes.

    Usually Sam with a bald upper lip unnerves me, but here it really works.