Hell Comes to Frogtown (1987) — Not nearly as cool as you’d think it would be

“Eat lead, froggies!”

Justin’s rating: Dante had it better.

Justin’s review: Let us take a moment and examine a little guy we like to call the Action Movie Anti-Hero. This is a guy we’ve seen popping up like the plague especially in the ’80s, one that continues to both pox action cinema and provide a role model for developing mass murderers.

The AMAH holds two cards in his beefy hands: He’s chock-full of testosterone, and he is a cranky jerk. The game consists of him forming as many plays from those two cards as possible, never once wavering into the land of sensitivity or smart thinking. He’s there to kick butt, take names, and then forget the names due to decreased cranial capacity. What I’ve never really understood is why AMAHs are so revered within film. Sure, we enjoy watching a smart aleck be irreverent toward authority while dual-wielding shotguns, but there’s no good explanation for why all of the other “good” characters in a film let them get away with as much as they do.

I guess the common excuse is that the AMAHs are near-legends, men of virility and vigor, but give me one person who will continue to look at a guy starry-eyed in hero worship after said guy has slapped them around and proclaimed their mothers to work in questionable professions, and I’ll show you someone ripe for being a lifetime victim.

Today’s character study in anti-heroes comes in the form of a stocky Roddy Piper (They Live), who plays Sam Hell (seriously), one of the remaining viable men after World War III. The quality of his sperm is enough to overcome his other dubious attributes — jackholism, sexual promiscuity, criminal tendencies — to place him in a position of importance in the country’s medical program. Apparently, we’re still at war with whomever we mutually nuked, and only by making more babies does one win.

It’s like a sex ed film devised by the bored guy in class who thought, “You know what? It’d be pretty flippin’ cool if I was the last guy on earth! I could get away with anything, because everyone needs me!”

You know, I once sat next to that guy. He smelled.

It turns out that Hell’s mission is to infiltrate “Frogtown,” an underground pipe plant of sorts, to rescue some fair virgins from the clutches of evil amphibian mutants. It won’t be easy: Hell must face the mother of all chastity belts, chainsaws, sexually charged frog-ladies and his dignity if he is to succeed.

I bet I’m probably making this sound 50% cooler than it has any right to be. Hell Comes To Frogtown grew a cult reputation by its outlandish premise and deliberately sloppy filmmaking. To throw out a made-up statistic, 100% of the admirers of this film are completely male. This is the sort of movie you’d show to a girlfriend if you have a thing for being thrown out onto the sidewalk and told where to shove it. It’s so demeaning toward women that rumor has it (a rumor I just now created) all of the females that worked on this movie have since met with horrible fates.

Sure, you can titter nervously as Hell spews out awkward come on lines and the women around him swoon and cite his “reputation.” You can sit there in stony silence as he has his way with anyone he wants but then rejects others just to hurt their feelings. And you can give your eyes a fit of good rolling when one of the main female characters does the clumsy “Dance of the Three Snakes” to woo a toad king. Ultimately, it’s not as sweetly ironic as it’s meant to be, and instead falls into the Land of Woebegotten Mysogyny.

Other than its rather odd setting, this flick is a dud in all departments. Frog it.

Didja notice?

  • Nuclear war uses a lot of nuclear bomb stock footage
  • His name is Sam Hell. Seriously.
  • His penis is “Property of the Provisional Government”, according to his chastity belt
  • That is the pinkest military truck EVER
  • Thrill to the wonders of Roddy Piper overacting for any reason whatsoever
  • The frogs’ leader is named Toady. Of course.
  • This guy seems upset to be forced to have a lot of sex as a job
  • The military makes frilly camo panties
  • I’m starting to think this movie was made to appease Piper’s ego
  • I don’t think it’s called “making love” when it’s “rape”
  • She’s been trained in seduction techniques? That’s got to be a fun school.
  • Take the glasses off! Take the glasses off!
  • Frogs like to shout the last part of each sentence
  • Exploratory surgery is best done with chainsaws

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