Hell Comes to Frogtown poster


Tagline: A new breed of enemy has taken over the world…Sam Hell has come to take it back.
Directors: Donald G. Jackson, R.J. Kizer
Writers: Donald G. Jackson (story), Randall Frakes (story & screenplay)
Starring: Roddy Piper, Sandahl Bergman, Julius LeFlore, William Smith, Eyde Byrde, Lee Garlington, Nicholas Worth, Rory Calhoun, Brian Frank
18 | 1hr 26min |Action, Sci-fi, Comedy
Budget: $7,000,000 (estimated)

Review



Back in the mid-80s, the World Wrestling Federation would take the mainstream media by storm.

Thanks to some savvy ties with MTV and pop culture icon Cyndi Lauper, promoter and owner Vince McMahon would conquer the sport’s low-key territorial system by taking his product national, sinking all of his capital into a make-or-break wrestling extravaganza known as Wrestlemania.

One of the event’s main attractions was super villain Roddy Piper, whose highly publicised feud with the A-Team’s B.A. Baracus and Rocky III co-star Hulk Hogan would gain nationwide exposure. Piper had all the prerequisites to be an action hero. With a cartoon physique, a background in physical combat, and the kind of larger-than-life personality that could blow a hole in your head, it wouldn’t be long before Hollywood came knocking, and it did so in the form of John Carpenter, who would cast Piper in the lead role of his 1988 tongue-in-cheek sci-fi vehicle They Live!

Hell Comes to Frogtown 1988 Review
Nuclear fallout would wreak havoc with Piper’s spray tan.

Having acquired a taste for the big time, ‘The Rowdy One’ would take a hiatus from the rough and tumble schedule of the WWF in order to forge a full-time career on the silver screen, but without Carpenter to guide his particular talents that was never likely to happen. Evidence of this can be found in his subsequent star turn as the eponymous Hell in Hell comes to Frogtown, a similarly goofy sci-fi romp lacking the deft intuition of a director of Carpenter’s calibre, and one which put him on the acting shelf for more than half a decade. Still, the movie’s wacky premise is tailor-made for Piper’s particular talents.  

Somewhere in the far future, nuclear war has reduced the male race by approximately 68 percent, leaving most of them sterile. Women too are predominantly infertile, and if extreme measures are not taken the human race will soon be staring down the barrel of extinction. That’s where Medtech come in, a female-run organisation whose job it is to recruit virile men to locate fertile women and impregnate them, and the legendary Sam ‘Hell’ Hellman is the most potent specimen they have ever come across. After signing a contract which binds Hell to the national duty of ‘fucking for freedom’, his penis becomes government property and is immediately attached to a tracking device with an access flap for when his wiener is called into action. If Hell tries to escape the torture of unabashed intercourse, or if he tampers with the device in any way whatsoever, his pecker will be blown to splinters by the distance-triggered explosive clamped to his nut sack.

Hell Comes to Frogtown 1988 Review
Calvin Klein’s plastic explosive range would bomb big time.

The only thing standing in the way of Hell’s salacious exploits are a mutated race of giant frogs who have developed an unseemly penchant for their female human counterparts. This is a race of women who have somehow managed to avoid any and all physical defects, surviving on a planet which is essentially a boiling pot of pollution. In fact, the only life form which has been affected are the warty kind, who are now suspiciously human in appearance and have acquired an absolute understanding of the English language, a highly complex form of communication which they presumably became fluent in during their time as students of the anglo-amphibian school for mutated frogs.

During their evolution the frog community have formed a militant group for amphibian civil rights, which like all power structures has become decadent at its core. Marched out to Frogtown like a band of freaks, the former pond dwellers are pissed that the human war has transformed them into intelligent, prosperous creatures, and feel that a lifetime of dubious cross-breeding is the course to cure their woes. But when Hell’s reluctant love interest is kidnapped by the nefarious Bull (as in frog) it is time for our titular hero to chew frog spawn and kick ass among other, more pleasurable duties. 

Hell Comes to Frogtown 1988 Review
Hellman would resort to finishing himself off.

Hell Comes to Frogtown is mired in crass humour and cheap innuendo, while Conan The Barbarian‘s Sandahl Bergman takes sexy to another stratosphere as Hell’s eventual squeeze, Spangle, her skimpily-clad screen time certainly one for feminists to chew over while they try to digest the movie’s musclebound quest for male-led liberation.

As for the ‘rowdy one,’ he would trawl the B-movie doldrums right up until his death in 2015, and though wrestling fans will remember him more for his feuds with Hulk Hogan than his less glamorous silver screen escapades, there was always a place for Piper in the entertainment industry.

The man was a born performer.

Most Absurd Amphibian


Arabella is Frogtown’s resident dame, a lizard-faced, pearl-wearing moll who might have belonged to the pages of The Great Gatsby were it not for her horrific mush. Arabella is played by the otherwise resplendent Kristi Somers of Return to Horror High fame, and her performance as the effervescent, man-eating amphibian is really quite wonderful.

Most Absurd Moment


After being forced to perform ‘The Dance of the Three Snakes’ for Commander Toty, Spangle is horrified when the horny toad reveals his three-pronged inspiration for the song, one that is usually confined to his underpants.

Most Absurd Dialogue


Forced into coitus with an improbably pristine nuclear survivor, big lug Hell suffers a pang of conscience, leading love interest Spangle to question his manhood.

Hell (in his defence): ‘Maybe you ought to try making love to a complete stranger in the middle of a hostile mutant territory, see how you like it!’

Well, if you insist!


★★★☆☆

This is silliness at its most unrepentant, a post-apocalyptic romp as innocuously racy as a ‘Carry On’ production and just as farcical. In spite of Piper’s shortcomings as an acting talent, he more than qualifies for the B-movie pantheon, where his in-your-face charisma and stinking one-liners complement the kind of hackneyed, hare-brained schlock fans of the genre relish in, and in those terms ‘Frogtown’ is one you won’t want to miss.


 

Written by Cedric Smarts Editor-in-Chief

Science Fiction Writer, Horror Enthusiast, Scourge of Plutocracy, Creator of vhsrevival.com

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