Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988) Review by RevTerry

I never really got into professional wrestling. I'm not really a sports guy and I am ashamed to say at some point I may have said something about it being fake in a derogatory way. Over time, though, I have learned to respect the love the fans have for the medium and now look at it in a different light. While it may not be my style the product itself holds many parallels with the genres that I indulge in and I can no doubt relate to the passion for something many may regard as corny or just plain stupid. Judging a person based on the fact that they are devoted to a dated media sensation is throwing rocks in my glass house at the very least. More than that, just (really) listening to a fan explain the sweaty ins and outs gives insight to the fact that our life's loves reside in similar unexplainable, ridiculous areas in the slice of bologna called life. It also helps that there has been quite a bit of overlap when it comes to wrestling and cult films. “Rowdy”Roddy Piper is a great example of being both a legend in the ring and one for genre fans. Most notably for taking on the alien status quo in John Carpenter's They Live but in that same year he was in another one of my favorites, Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988).
The movie takes place in the ravaged post apocalyptic remains of all out nuclear war. Fallout has mutated human life in various ways including the inclusion of frog-like people and mass sterilization. With population dwindling fertile men are a hot commodity and the government (now mostly run by women) sets up a group, MedTech, to aid and monitor fertility. Enter Max Hell(Piper), who since the big war has pretty much just been running from town to town having sex and getting into hi-jinks. When news of a few women getting pregnant after hanging out with Max gets back to MedTech they dispatch a unit to enlist him. Papers are signed, electronic exploding chastity belts are engaged, and he’s sent on a mission to Frogtown, the toad mutant reservation, to rescue some fertile females. To make sure nothing happens to his rare swim team he is accompanied by attractive duo of Spangle(Sandahl Bergman) and Centinella(Cec Verrell). The three make the trek into frog town to rescue the ladies and ultimately save the human race. Along the way we find out that after the apocalypse no woman can resist Rowdy Roddy Piper, MedTech offers training in lingerie, and that mutant frog people have three dicks.
While the plot is a little loose and the logic slightly bonkers the cornball action and science fiction concepts play well together in the horny mess. It takes its cues from some of the more remembered dystopic 80s flicks but it's more than unique. There is a lot going on in there but it never feels like someone is throwing shit at a wall to see if it sticks, more like a small glimpse at a imaginative original-content universe that someone has been plotting on Tumblr. Standard wasteland get-up for the cast but combined with some fun rubber frog heads. Each frog person or “greener” has specific details built into the design that hint at a cartoon-esque personality. Plenty of attempted one liners and the bulk of the dialog misses in the best kind of ways. Lots of gunplay and action but surprisingly low boob count for the subject matter, and the fact that it's a New World Pictures production.
I don't know anything about wrestling but I do know Roddy Piper is awesome. A lot of the films dialog and moments are only saved from a rapey vibe by the lovable confused tough guy facial expressions. Supposedly the part of Max Hell was written with legend Tim Thomerson, while i'm always down for more Jack Deth (dry hair is for squids) I don't think I would trade him for Piper in this one. His inclusion is not only one of the highlights but most often the reason this movie gets remembered and watched. 80s Fantasy great Sandahl Bergman, as she does in other flicks, elevates her role from the depths of eye candy despite plenty of awkward scenes. It’s a little strange to hear Nicholas Worth’s voice coming out of a rubber frog head but you couldn't pick more of an iconic villain for your bad guy. Cec Verrell plays an attractive lady with a gun, which she is good at (see Silk 1986).
Hell Comes to Frogtown is an ambitious, entertaining oddity in the sea of 80s post Apocalypse films. Plus it's a great example of what professional wrestling has given trashy movies and even if, like me, the wrestling gig is not your normal flavor, that is a pretty fucking cool thing. So if you are not the wrestling friend in your crew then I implore you to let that dude rant at you for a little while, the cheesy plots and characters might seem familiar or at the very least the excited obsession will mirror that of your common cult Cinema enthusiast. If you don't have a wrestling friend then ask the Pokemon guy if he can hook you up with one, it's my experience that they know each other. If that sounds too social for you, maybe there is a podcast you can skim through or some shit, but really how judgmental can you be after reading 5 paragraphs of some nerd’s feelings about a dude fucking his way through frog land? 
Rest in peace Roddy Piper, thanks for the awesome flicks!
| 1988


Directors: Donald G. Jackson, R.J. Kizer
Writers: Donald G. Jackson (story), Randall Frakes (story)


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