FROGS. 1972

Director: George McCowan

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

I was a yunker when Frogs was released & I jumped in the car with friends & we were off to the Midway Drive-in Theater all excited because we'd seen the poster which showed a hand sticking out of a frog's mouth & hey what could be cooler than a giant frog movie, it'd have to be at least as good as that sucky giant spider movie.

The movie ran its boring course, with frogs standing in for birds in this lame version of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.. The frogs have no special talent to kill, they're just frogs. If you lived in any of the towns near Midway Drive-in Theater you'd see more frogs & toads than this film could muster at least twice a year, during the early spring migration of adults to their breeding ponds, then when the tadpoles emerged by the millions as young frogs. So a movie showing a few frogs on the patio while people worry the world is coming to an end was about the stupidest visual cue for horror we'd ever seen.

But we sat through it patiently because the advertising poster had promised there'd eventually be a giant frog & it'd eat someone. We were willing victims of exploitation films & all we asked was that the worst films imaginable had at least one minute's worth of wow-cool. We were easy marks; it didn't take much to send us home satisfied.

There was no giant frog. After the film was all over, there was a coda of an animated frog that hopped out center-screen, & swallowed the hand that was in its mouth. That smug frog seemed to be looking down at all the cars in the drive-in saying, "You suckers, the makers of Frogs sure screwed you."

At that point a great nose arise in the drive-in as first a few then everyone began honking their horns & screaming out their windows, "rip off! rip off!"

The horns honked & honked & the management came on the speakers to apologize but the horns kept honking, people kept screaming, there was actually a risk of a riot. A lot of speakers were ripped loose from the speaker-poles & taken home that night by people who wanted something beyond oversteamed hotdogs & stale popcorn for the money we'd all spent.

Ray Milland appeared in a handful of good horror films including especially The Premature Burial (1962), X, the Man with X-Ray Eyes (1963), but as his box office cache diminished, he took roles in lousier & lousier horror movies, like The Thing With Two Heads (1972) wherein football star Roosevelt Greer's head gets grafted alongside his own, which is more wonderfully stinkeroo even than Frogs played from his wheelchair.

In his autobiography he never mentioned any of these films, as he was embarrassed & ashamed to have fallen so low from his glory-days of Dial M for Murder (1954) & The Lost Weekend (1945). I doubt his poor ghost would feel better about it if he found out the worst of his worst had become something of a cult favorite in the category of "You Gotta See It To Believe Anything Could Be This Bad."

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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