Frogs (1972)

Frogs (1972)

Cold green skin against soft warm flesh…a croak…a scream.

Jason Crockett is a disabled millionaire who invites his family to his birthday celebrations on his private island in the middle of a lake. Two of his family cross paths with freelance photographer Pickett Smith who is conducting a pollution survey for an ecology magazine. Crockett hates nature and poisons and exterminates any creature that is on his property. However it seems that the poison has had an adverse effect on nature and on his birthday night, the frogs and other creatures decide to get their revenge.

 

I can see how this obscure 1972 film has certain horror fans foaming at the mouth. It’s one of those films that can either be labelled ‘so bad, it’s good’ or ‘so bad, it’s horrific.’ Opinion seems to be divided but I’m definitely in the camp of the latter. It sucks so bad that it really is a complete chore to sit through no matter how cheesy and absurd the idea of killer frogs could be. Your patience for the worst kind of trashy nonsense will be put to the ultimate test, should you dare rise to the challenge and sit and watch this.

Like any true to form slasher film (yes that’s right, slasher film – because the way the film runs, you could quite easily substitute the animals for a guy in a mask), Frogs follows a bland routine of mundane dialogue, death, mundane dialogue, death, etc. There’s not a whole lot of linking anything together, just plenty of bickering between the family members followed up by someone walking off to their death. I think the problem is that everyone in the film plays it straight. Even the script doesn’t throw in any gags. Could anyone really have taken the film this seriously when they were making it?

The frogs don’t actually do anything during the film except appear every two or three minutes after a scene of dialogue. There’s plenty of stock footage of them croaking and leading the charge but not a lot else. Actually there’s plenty of stock footage here generally – snakes, spiders, crocodiles and lizards all get their moments to shine and most of their shining is done by stock footage. The way they each kill off their victims is about as cheesy as you can get. The spiders cocoon an injured handyman in the forest and bear in mind that these are only small tarantulas, not giant monsters. The lizards are even smarter as they knock off bottles of poison in the greenhouse and fumigate another of the rich people with their own weapons. Bear in mind that the bottles do actually say poison on them so why anyone would keep them on the top shelf of a creaky wooden fixture is beyond me. These people are either unlucky or terribly stupid (and that’s not just because they decided to star in this). Another schmuck is fed to the crocodiles. But the manner in which these scenes are filmed is just appalling and I could not even comprehend trying to leave my brain in check to watch someone killed in these ways. It’s just utterly stupid.

The positive, and I repeat the positive, is that the cinematography is great. This isolated mansion looks just that and the surrounding swamps and forests drip with slime – you can almost smell how foul they are. You do get the sense that this bunch of characters are in the middle of nowhere and miles away from help. Oh yeah and the film stars a very young Sam Elliott, who would eventually find fame in the movies portraying grumpy Texans.

 

Frogs is one of the direst films I’ve ever seen. Even the money shots of people being attacked by animals are so ridiculously concocted that it’s hard to take seriously.

 

 ★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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