Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988)
Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988)

Genre: Sci-Fi Adventure Running Time: 1 hr. 26 min.

Release Date: January 8th, 1988 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Donald G. Jackson, R.J. Kizer Actors: Roddy Piper, Sandahl Bergman, William Smith, Lee Garlington, Cec Verrell, Kristi Somers, Suzanne Solari, Danelle Hand, Nicholas Worth

 


 

I

n the late 20th century, a difference of opinions existed over nuclear war. Some believed it would involve just a few bombs before peace talks started settling disputes. Others were certain worldwide fallout would devastate the planet. The latter party was correct. In just ten days, humankind is virtually blown to dust. A decade later, the remaining scattered governments try again to rehabilitate earth.

War reduced the male population by 68%, leaving the vast majority sterile. Children, and therefore future soldiers, are in short supply. Notorious ladies’ man and sexual assault suspect Sam Hellman (Roddy Piper) is in prison, but discovered to be fertile when one of his accusers turns up pregnant. With his reproductive organs being considered the property of the government (always in search of potent young men), the Med Tech authorities release him when he agrees to inseminate women in the wasteland for the army. Led by Dr. Spangle (Sandahl Bergman, playing the scientist who is instantly sexy once she has removed her enormous, black-rimmed glasses and let down her flowing blonde hair) and guarded by Corporal Centinella (Cec Verrell), Hellman crosses the heavily-armed border patrol into Frogtown, the mutant reservation that houses hostile Commander Toty (Brian Frank). The rogue creature has kidnapped fertile human women for ransom and it’s up to the threesome to retrieve the girls and impregnate them.

Spangle attempts to seduce Sam from the start (she’s been trained in seduction techniques), while Centinella can’t wait for an opportunity to try out the stud. Minutes later, the group comes upon a runaway fertile woman, perfect for governmental use. In this exploitive, male-fantasy excuse for a movie, bevies of scantily clad women line up to propagate with the lone breeding warrior. “We’re going to get them out and then you’re going to get them pregnant,” orders the good doctor. Anti-condom posters, grateful girls, more anti-condom posters, and a love triangle populate the world of Sam Hellman. And that’s before they even get to Frogtown.

In the Mos Eisley Cantina-styled dwellings of the mutant frog people (by-products of nuclear warfare), hilariously silly costumes, large prosthetic heads and masks, wild cackling or croaking grumbling, and slimy makeup effects create a constant sense of ridiculousness. Reinforcing the amphibian themes are lilies for currency, the insult “flatlips” thrown about, and the evil first lieutenant’s moniker “Bull” (Nicholas Worth). Extremely poor acting and unconvincing dialogue additionally patronize the picture, highlighted by Piper not taking anything seriously – even though his character is supposed to be exactly the kind of sarcastic renegade that he could embody without much of a performance.

Meanwhile, classic film and television star Rory Calhoun has a brief role as Lonny O’Toole, a.k.a. Looney Tunes, a relic of a miner who aids the mission, but it doesn’t add any respectability to the production. And extreme camera angles that distort objects and perspectives complete the nonsensical premise, which manages to have few action scenes and less suspense, despite a “Mad Max” type of finale, replete with heavy artillery and combat vehicles. It’s all supposed to be purposely comical (or hokily salacious, when it comes to the frog leader’s three-headed reproductive organ), especially with Sam’s acknowledgment of the villain’s longwinded expository rant that allows for unlikely escape, but the humor is continually overpowered by the numbing lack of sincere adventure.

– Mike Massie

  • 3/10