Saturday, March 7, 2015

Frogs (1972)

While the poster, title and hype would have you believe this film is about mutant killer frogs that are hellbent on devouring people, I'm afraid to inform you that it isn't. My best efforts to summarize the plot for you guys will only further confuse and befuddle you, but here goes: Sam Elliott plays a photographer for some ecology paper and stumbles across some rich white family in Louisiana who have the unfortunate fate of being the targets of killer wildlife. Yes, you read that right. Sam Elliott, the cowboy dude from The Big Lebowski and a ton of other films, is the main character. I guess everyone has to get their start somewhere, and he isn't the first actor to get his start in terrible horror movies, but it still surprises me sometimes when I stumble across a famous name in crappy movies like this.

Although every scene is a quick cut to frogs croaking, hopping, and doing other frog things (as frogs do), the plot doesn't seem to revolve too heavily, if at all, around their actions. Instead, it seems that literally every other animal inhabiting Louisiana is extremely hostile for no apparent reason. The movie starts out pretty slow and actually didn't have me paying much attention until about 45 minutes in when the first person gets killed. Until then, we see Sam Elliott taking pictures of wildlife and coming across a typical rich family full of alcoholic, whiny wasps that can't be bothered to lift a finger to help anyone or anything. In the center of the family is a grumpy old man that barks orders at his maid, butler and family alike. The family stays quiet and does as he says in hopes of getting a shot at his inheritance. This paper thin plot line is as cliche as it is expected, except for the wildlife...

For some reason, this family has had trouble with the animals surrounding their property, including frogs croaking and keeping them awake and snakes overrunning the forest. There's no explanation given, however Sam Elliott seems to think nature is getting revenge. He doesn't give a reason for the revenge, but it's literally the only glimpse of an explanation for the actions of the animals so screw it. After the first person is killed, I knew I was in for some entertainment. This hilarious scene depicts one of the rich assholes running through the forest with a rifle and he accidentally shoots himself in the leg like an idiot. Then, tarantulas start knocking moss off of the trees above him and cover him up while he screams for some reason. I guess he dies from the weight of the moss? I have no idea, but the scene is absolutely hilarious. From here on out, it's nonstop hilarity.

The second death comes to another dude who is picking flowers in the greenhouse when some geckos and iguanas start knocking bottles of chemicals off a shelf. The chemicals form a poisonous gas cloud that kills the man, but not the lizards. Other animals join in the chaos as the movie unfolds, including birds cutting the rope to a man's boat, snakes biting people, alligators eating people, a snapping turtle, and so on. All the while, we are shown stock footage of frogs croaking, I'm assuming to insinuate they are telepathically communicating with the rest of the wildlife? Could that be a thing? Who knows. Honestly, I don't care. It's a wonder why this movie was titled Frogs instead of just Animals. That would have made more sense.

My favorite scene has to be the one immediately after the first person dies and everyone is standing around the lake. At this point, no one is aware that anyone has died, and no one has a reason to be worried, but that doesn't stop this one woman from freaking the hell out for no good reason. In the scene, a dog starts whining which prompts the woman to suddenly yell, "What? What is it? What's wrong with him?! You! Get me out of here! Something terrible is happening!" To which her family appropriately responds, "Get yourself under control. What's the matter with you?" I love it. I'm assuming the director confused what the audience was aware of and what the characters in the story were aware of, otherwise I have no idea why that scene is in the movie. Of course, when the family is aware of the deaths, the asshole grandpa is determined to celebrate his birthday anyway.

The movie is crazy and nonsensical and poorly edited and I love it. The laughs are nonstop for the last half of the movie and it really becomes enjoyable. It's not scary in the least, but what it lacks in budget and acting and editing, it makes up for in a humorously poor budget, acting and editing. It compliments itself by being terrible and takes itself seriously throughout. Oh yeah, there's a scene at the end when the frogs call the old man on the phone and hang up, causing him to fall out of his chair and die for no reason. Yeah, this movie has it all.

2 out of 4.

Come on, a killer frog movie with Sam Elliott? You have to watch this one.

Cheers and goodnight.

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