Studio: American International Pictures
Release Date(s): March 10, 1972
MPAA Rating: PG
An environmentalist Pickett Smith (Sam Elliott) investigates the wildlife around the private island home of Jason Crockett (Ray Milland). Pickett is invited to join in the family’s 4th of July celebration but the family finds they are going to be happy just to survive when the amphibians and reptiles surrounding their luxurious island begin revolting…and nature outnumbers man!
Directed by George McCowen, Frogs is a low-budget horror film. The eco-horror film was met with largely negative reviews but has gained a cult following over the years.
Frogs is another entry in the “it’s so bad, it is good”. Frogs took on the idea that the little creatures of the environment, working together, could kick humanity’s butt. As a kid (without cable), anytime Frogs (or anything of that ilk like The Swarm, Day of the Animals, Ants, etc.) came on, I had to watch it…and Frogs (with its extreme lack of frogs) was a favorite. If frogs were in the movie, would that matter? Frogs aren’t particularly intimidating.
The plot for the film is pretty typical of eco-horror. A nice weekend is ruined by the uprising of animals. The weird part about this movie is that it is called Frogs…when there aren’t really any frogs. The people are menaced by toads, snakes, lizards, crocodiles, and even a snapping turtle (yeah, the slowest animal is dangerous). The movie is just gloriously cheesy.
The movie has a total, ’70s feel and the cast includes that. Ray Milland by this point had fallen from his Oscar winning turn in The Lost Weekend was down to doing low-budget horror like this. He is joined by a (mustache-less) Sam Elliott and Joan Van Ark. I particularly like the glamorous Judy Pace (who looks at the camera even question why she is in this movie) and Hollis Irvings’ Aunt Iris whose quest for butterflies leads to doom.
The movie also does have that great ’70s look. The film has a certain texture to it that modern film doesn’t have and can’t recreate. Since the movie is horror, low budget, and in nature, it has a lot of light flare and a gritty look to it that actually elevates it a bit.
Frogs is a great movie for mocking. It possibly has one of the best posters with a frog with a human hand in its mouth…Today the Pond…Tomorrow the World! It is fun, cheesy, and not scary but it somehow seems to have its own style that some of these bigger budget movies (that are just as bad) don’t have. If you are going to make a bad movie, at least have the bad movie be fun…like Frogs.