Monday, 20 January 2014

Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988)

One of the best exploitation movie titles ever belongs to this curious piece from the late 1980s. I’m not at all familiar with the works of co-director, co-writer and co-producer Donald G Jackson but apparently he was known for his ‘Zen’ approach to film-making that involves the use of no script whatsoever, leading to predictably ramshackle results. Thankfully someone did write a script for HELL COMES TO FROGTOWN and what a lot of delirious fun it is.
In the kind of post-apocalyptic future where you can still find a nice clean white nurse’s uniform, Sam Hell (Roddy Piper) is one of the few surviving fertile males. He’s captured by a group of warrior nurses who declare his genitals to be government property, slap an electronic chastity belt on him that will explode if handled incorrectly, and explain that his purpose is now to impregnate as many fertile women as possible.
It just so happens that a group of scantily clad young ladies with working ovaries has been captured by a gang of human-sized mutant frogs and so, as a result of one of the most ridiculous plot devices ever in movie history, Mr Hell gets driven to Frogtown in a pink van accompanied by sexy Nurse Spangle (Sandahl Bergman) and machine gun-toting Centinella (Cec Verrell). After various sexual shenanigans that Robin Askwith would be proud of, they arrive at their destination. Hell and Spangle go in undercover as a slave trader and his slavegirl. In Frogtown they meet Looney Tunes (Rory Calhoun playing a more insane version of his character from MOTEL HELL) who helps them infiltrate the lair of frog boss Commander Toty (Brian Frank). Will Nurse Spangle escape the clutches of Commander Toty and his three mutant willies? (Yes you read that correctly). Will Hell kill the frogs and save the girls? Will a Samurai sword magically appear on his back to get him out of a tight spot at just the right moment? You can bet that it will.
The kind of movie you might expect to get if the writer of CONFESSIONS OF A WINDOW CLEANER had been asked to write the script for a no-budget post-apocalypse MAD MAX rip off that had to feature giant frogs as the villains, HELL COMES TO FROGTOWN is actually a lot of fun, and certainly worth a look. Steve Wang’s animatronic frog heads are actually terrific and give the film a tremendous boost in terms of production value if not exactly believability. Performances are what you’d expect with this sort of thing, but everyone seems to be having a good time and joining in the fun.
Arrow’s limited edition Blu-ray and DVD combo pack presents HELL COMES TO FROGTOWN in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and includes several extras. In ‘Grappling with Green Gargantuans’ Roddy Piper recalls his movie career and FROGTOWN in particular. ‘Creature Feature Creator’ is an interview with Steve Wang who provides the background on his amphibian creations. Finally in ‘Amphibian Armageddon’ actor Brian Frank remembers what it was like to play the evil lead frog in the film. There’s also an extended opening scene from a very dodgy-looking VHS transfer and a trailer that’s as much fun as the movie. A very nice package from Arrow, and how could you resist a film from a director who then went on to make something called THE TOAD WARRIOR?

HELL COMES TO FROGTOWN gets released in a limited edition Blu-ray / DVD combo pack by Arrow Films on 3rd February 2014


  1. I'd not heard of Toad Warrior before - at a glance, it looks like a thematic sequel of sorts, and while it lacks Roddy Piper, it does have Joe Estevez.

  2. Apparently Donald Jackson denied that it was a sequel, but it certainly sounds as if it has similar elements!