Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988)

Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988) Hot

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Egg ShenEgg Shen   May 21, 2017  
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They say that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. Well, can you judge it based on it’s name? If so I’m sure Hell Comes to Frogtown is something worthy of my time. If the insanely dumb title doesn’t sucker you in, then allow me to explain why this is piece of cinematic trash is absolutely worth a watch.

Thanks to the success of The Road Warrior, low budget, post apocalyptic films were a dime a dozen in the 1980’s. Hell Comes to Frogtown probably wouldn’t exist without the legendary Mad Max films, but it also cribs from plenty of other popular movies as well. The film combines one part Escape from New York, a bunch of Mad Max, a dash of Planet of the Apes, a sprinkling of WWF antics, and some of it’s own unique n’ peculiar spices. The end result is something wonderfully weird and wholly unique. And by wholly unique I mean a film laden with dick bombs, a race of mutants created by nuclear fallout, a faction of no-nonsense warrior nurses, the mystery that is the dance of the “three snakes”, and the most tastefully erotic scene you’ll ever see with… um…she-frog nipples.

To put you in the correct frame of mind this movie starts with its star, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper getting SMASHED in the face with a prop whiskey bottle and it ends with him riding off into the sunset in a humvee full of women that he needs to impregnate! Seriously, I couldn’t make this shit up if I wanted to!

The elevator pitch is real simple, Piper plays Sam Hell…the last fertile man in the Wasteland. He gets captured by a fanatical procreation group of women (who happen to be the closest thing to a Government left). They quickly enlist him in their efforts which involves a chastity belt bomb strapped to his private parts. Afterwards he’s then quickly whisked off on a suicide mission to rescue fertile virgin maidens from the depths of Frogtown. Let me put your fears to rest, yes, Frogtown is an old west style, frontier town full of bi-pedal, humanoid, frog people. Hell Comes to Frogtown isn’t pulling any punches with it’s straightforward title. Nope, this is Santa Claus is Coming to Town as re-imagined by Roger Corman and crew. Ready the stunt men, gently mist the fully prosthetic frog suits with water, and let’s head to some third world country to make a fucking movie!

What makes this particular film work is three very specific ingredients. The warrior nurses, Sam Hell, and Frogtown. Each idea is interesting alone, but combined they make for a truly wonderful piece of schlock cinema.

First we have the Warrior Nurses. Think of them as Fallout’s Brotherhood of Steel reimagined by way of 1950’s Rosie the Riveter “can do” attitude, the iconic AVON saleswoman and GI Joe. They are battle ready, no nonsense, strong women, who will stop at nothing to repopulate the world after the nuclear war. After arming Sam’s nether region with an explosive wiener bomb, two of these women accompany him on his mission. One is Spangle who is the brains of the mission (though she is combat ready as well as trained in the arts of seduction). The other is the gun loving Centinella. These two women handle the typical male roles of captain and heavy weapons gun fanatic. It’s a riot watching them make Sam their bitch and turns what could be a very chauvinistic, T&A affair, into something a bit more subversive. Honestly, the Nurses are so damn weird I’d actually watch an entire film just about them.

Next up we have our charismatic lead, Sam Hell. If I’m being honest, Sam is oddly the least interesting thing in the film. Piper plays the role with right level of pomp and charm. He exudes an everyman quality and despite being the last fertile man on Earth, he isn’t some dick-swinging cock-sure hero. He’d rather run away then do anything heroic, feels weird about sleeping with a woman sheerly for procreation, and sort of plays against type 90% of the time. He’s a little like Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China where he’s not even really the hero and that’s what makes him interesting. Piper is great in every scene, but sadly doesn’t have any classic one liners like his other popular film “The Live”. Still fans of his won’t walk away disappointed.

Finally we have Frogtown itself. The final act of the film takes place in and out of the titular town and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s filled with actors in full frog suit prosthetics, which still look great today, as well as frog people hidden behind masks and gloves. If you turned this movie on hoping to see a frogman  in a white suit wearing a red fez then all of your wildest dreams are about to come true. Frogtown is delightfully silly and pretty much every minute the film spends there is absurd to the point of joyous laughter and ridicule. The fact that it’s played entirely straight only makes it even more enjoyable. Watching Piper pretend to sell Spangle for 50 “Lillies” is the kind of stuff that fills a room with deep, full, belly laughs.

In the end that is why you watch something called Hell Comes to Frogtown. This is type of film that works best with a crowd of people and ample amounts of booze. You don’t overthink anything and bask in the hilarity that unfolds onscreen. It’s surprisingly well made as the plot is simple/straightforward, the effects still look great, and it rarely ever drags. For a B movie you can certainly do MUCH worse than something like this.

Most wasteland/post apocalyptic 80’s films are chalk full of gratuitous violence and nudity. Hell Comes to Frogtown surprisingly sidesteps that stereotype as well. You do see women in various states of undress, but it’s shocking tame in that department…especially given its plot point of repopulating the Earth. That alone makes you wonder if it’s going to basically be soft core porn! Thankfully it’s not. The film plays out more like a live action, vulgar cartoon rather than your typical sleezy cult classic. It’s goofy tone and completely insane world is what gives the film it’s rampant charm and watchability.  This would make a hell of a double feature with the equally silly Cherry 2000Recommended.

This review was original posted at The Wolfman's Lounge.  Find more weird stuff at https://wolfmanslounge.com

 

Posted: 21 May 2017 22:16 by engineer Al #248823
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LOVE this movie. Still have a copy kicking around somewhere on VHS and you have definitely inspired me to dig it up. Mike, we don't have nearly enough time together, but someday I would love to do a "Bad Movie Fest!"
Posted: 22 May 2017 11:01 by Mr. White #248839
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This is an out and out classic. It is true when they say 'they don't make them like they used to' when we're talking about these sort of low to mid budget films with practical effects and costumes. I want to say maybe Dog Soldiers was the last, current flick of this sort I saw that didn't use CGI....and that had to be about 15yrs ago.

Man, these Frogs are so much better for being folks in suits over computer cartoons...

Great review, Egg! I'd mention the fact that this flick also stars Sandahl Bergman!
Posted: 22 May 2017 11:31 by stormseeker75 #248844
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Love this movie. It's so terrible. Piper is great. Apparently my wife has some workout videos starring the actress who's name I can't remember.
Posted: 22 May 2017 16:18 by Unicron #248862
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This review warmed my heart. Thanks, Egg!

I've been meaning to rewatch this and Dead Heat.. I miss the era of the American auteur.
Posted: 22 May 2017 16:47 by SuperflyTNT #248866
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How the hell did you write this and not include this...

Posted: 22 May 2017 19:44 by Egg Shen #248875
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Yes Al we certainly need to plan a Saturday night of drinking booze and watching a couple of amazingly shitty movies. Truth be told, it's one of my favorite things to do on good ol Planet Earth! Let's make it happen!

I wasn't sure if I should have posted this review here, but man we talk about movies and shit so much in the forums I figured why not. Plus I figured Rowdy Roddy's Piper's infinite radness would restore balance to the site after seeing Black Barney review that CG Baby Movie....

On a serious note, I fucking love these shitty B grade Post Apocalyptic films from the 1980s. Which ones do you guys love the most and what I should track down immediately? The bar can't go too low. I live for this shit!
Posted: 22 May 2017 20:59 by Ancient_of_MuMu #248878
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Egg Shen wrote:
On a serious note, I fucking love these shitty B grade Post Apocalyptic films from the 1980s. Which ones do you guys love the most and what I should track down immediately? The bar can't go too low. I live for this shit!
Warriors of the Wasteland a.k.a. The New Barbarians. Our hero drives around after the apocalypse in The Homer:

Posted: 22 May 2017 21:46 by SebastianBludd #248880
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There's also Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone. It came out in 1983 and is pretty terrible but it was in constant rotation on HBO so I watched it several times. I don't remember much about it other than Michael Ironside as the cyborg villain creeped me the hell out.
Posted: 23 May 2017 02:17 by Ancient_of_MuMu #248885
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My daughter was telling me the other day that a few years ago my wife and I were watching post-apoc movie "Cherry 2000", and she came in and started watching it with us, and I said to her "one day in the future you will stumble across this film, and realize that is the movie you watched 10 minutes of when you were 11, and you will probably only remember that guy's shorts", and then promptly the guy in the shorts died.

So all I can recall of Cherry 2000 is that Melanie Griffiths is in it, she has red hair, and in spite of that isn't the titular character, and that according to my daughter there is a guy with an awesome pair of shorts in it.
Posted: 23 May 2017 09:18 by Mr. White #248891
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Blood of Heroes is a great one about sports in a post apocalyptic world. I remember enjoying it a lot, but I don't think it has the zany or the goofy like a Hell Comes to Frogtown. Takes itself a little more seriously.


Hardware's another good one. Great 2000AD sort of vibe. 1990 release so just at the tail end of the era.


Not exactly straight post-apocalyptic, but you definitely want to check out the recent Death Race 2050. It's made in that 70s/80s straight to video style and has all the right beats to include all the silly gratuitousness. I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. On Netflix last I checked.


Posted: 23 May 2017 10:27 by Sagrilarus #248896
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Egg Shen wrote:
I wasn't sure if I should have posted this review here, but man we talk about movies and shit so much in the forums I figured why not.

The first time I came to F:At the front page showed Will Smith with a review of Hancock. Caught me off guard, but it was cool nonetheless. That was just shy of 10 years ago. So there's plenty of history with "other things trash" on the site.
Posted: 23 May 2017 10:33 by Mr. White #248898
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Egg Shen wrote:
Plus I figured Rowdy Roddy's Piper's infinite radness would restore balance to the site after seeing Black Barney review that CG Baby Movie....

Yeah, this was needed to cleanse the site.

Ya know, I used to think that resume-gate was the lowest point in F:AT's history, but nah, it's got to be Barney trying to convince us to watch that Baby Movie.
Posted: 23 May 2017 16:28 by Ancient_of_MuMu #248937
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B Grade post apoc movies of that ilk that I have in my collection:
1990: The Bronx Warriors, Battletruck, Blood of Heroes, Cherry 2000, Damnation Alley, Deathrace 2000, Deathsport, Hell Comes to Frogtown, Megaforce, Prayer of the Rollerboys, Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, Warriors of the Wasteland

And as a bonus, here are the epic shorts from Cherry 2000:
Shortsguy.jpg
Posted: 24 May 2017 11:17 by engineer Al #248995
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I stayed home sick from work yesterday, which was the perfect time to dig up my VCR copy of HCtF and watch while lying in bed. It was a pretty perfect way to kill some pain. Goofy frog costumes, hot nurses from the future and a chick with a huge machine gun. What more can you ask for? Some lessons that I learned:

1. If women ruled the military, combat vehicles would be painted pink.
2. After the apocalypse, all women will have hairstyles from 1980’s MTV.
3. The best possible thing to yell when you burst into a room brandishing two shotguns is: “EAT LEAD FROGGIES!”

Also, I noticed in the credits that the screenplay is by Randall Frakes. Thinking this name looked familiar I looked him up on the internets. Turns out this is a man with a varied and interesting career. Not only did he write the screenplay for this gem and for ROLLERBLADE, but he also penned the novelizations for TERMINATOR and TERMINATOR 2 as well as doing “Special Visual Effects” for ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and, “Synthesizer Effects” for ALIENS. What a strange and wonderful world we live in.

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