Saturday, June 16, 2012

Frogs (1972)

It’s not as if one starts watching an early-’70s horror movie titled Frogs with expectations of greatness, but it’s reasonable to assume the picture will deliver a few rudimentary thrills over the course of a brisk narrative. Alas, something far less insidious is in store for the unlucky viewers who dive into this amphibian atrocity. Noteworthy only for its extensive use of real animal footage, Frogs is among the dullest movies of its type, dragging through long, uneventful sequences in between nasty shots of swamp critters eating people. Despite the film’s title, frogs are not the only killers on display here; in fact, frogs are presented like evil masterminds goading their fellow beasties toward mayhem. Because, really, when one tries to list the fiercest predators in the natural world, aren’t frogs the first things that come to mind? The story begins with nature-magazine photographer Pickett Smith (Sam Elliott) riding his canoe around a private island in Florida while he takes pictures of animals and pollution. Soon, he’s invited to join the island’s residents, the Crockett family, for their annual Fourth of July celebration. The patriarch of the clan, Jason Crockett (Ray Milland), is domineering but wheelchair-bound, a rich prick who gets off on controlling the lives of his children and their spouses. (Quasi-notable actors playing his relatives include Adam Roarke and Joan Van Ark.) The Crocketts are preoccupied with a frog infestation on their island, so Pickett offers his counsel as an ecology expert, initially guessing that extreme weather changed breeding patterns. Yet after various island residents turn up dead, Pickett suggests nature is striking back after years of pollution. Nonetheless, Jason denies the obvious until it’s too late—but, hey, you knew that would happen, right? Hack director George McCowan devotes most of his energy to staging gruesome death scenes involving alligators, snakes, spiders, turtles, and other creepy-crawlies. If the movie zipped along a little faster, Frogs might qualify as effective kitsch, but even though the picture just squeaks over the 90-minute mark, it’s padded to the point of extreme tedium. Therefore, unless scales and tails get your motor running, it’s best to stay out of the swamp.

Frogs: LAME


Tommy Ross said...

I love the scene with the leechs! Omg, I had totally forgotten about this flick til now. Now I'll go back to forgetting about it, thank you!

Cindylover1969 said...

How DID that lass get killed by the turtle, anyway?

Kevin Mac said...

Snapping turtle. I understand they deliver quite a bit.

This movie seemed to play on late night weekend CBS in Los Angeles at least once or twice a year it seemed. I watched it at least three times. To a kid, this was great Sci Fi! I'm sure it doesn't hold up as an adult :)