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If this movie ultimately fails to be scary (and it does), it's not because the filmmakers didn't try; they did their darnedest to make those frogs look as menacing as possible. But it was all for naught, because frogs are fundamentally un-vicious creatures and, well, they cannot be trained to look mean. They don't care about us annoying humans! They just want to hop around! So this movie can't hold a candle to, say, "The Birds". That doesn't mean it's not enjoyable though - it is, in a schlocky way. It's colorful, it's beautifully photographed, and Sam Elliott is rather cool, as 70s leading men go. (**1/2)
Despite a seemingly hokey premise, Frogs is one of the more memorable
and effective entries in the nature-revenge genre.
Family living in Florida's Okefenokee Swamp have been exterminating the local wild life, now it seems that the creatures are all out to kill them!
Frogs is a movie that never fails to be sweat-inducing, especially to those who don't like reptiles! All manner of swamp wild life is used for this film - snakes, spiders, gators, lizards, heck even a turtle! So with all these critters coming for our unsuspecting human characters there's plenty of tension to be had! Director McCowan makes good use of the boggy setting and gives it an atmospheric feeling of certain doom! The eerie score also helps as well.
The films cast is good. Veteran Ray Milland is perfect as the Crockett family's stubborn elder. Young, attractive Sam Elliot is decent as a nature photographer who happens on the scene. Joan Van Ark is good as Elliot's love interest and Adam Roarke as her no-account brother. The supporting cast is also on cue.
While Frogs may be a B thriller that's best taken tongue-in-cheek, it's solidly done and is sure to cause a few chills!
*** out of ****
While it's pretty obvious that this film was done on a low budget (i.e. the same shots are repeated over and over and over) this is a pretty effective horror movie and deserves a look. The death scenes are well executed (and the end is quite chilling), the music is appropriate (it's sounds almost like an "angry swamp"), and the locations are put to good use. It's definitely a b-movie and is not at all "great cinema", but it's still a minor classic and should have some kind of cult status.
The free-lance photographer Pickett Smith (Sam Elliott) is taking
pictures of the pollution in a swamp in Florida for a magazine of
ecology in his canoe. Out of the blue, he is hit by a motor boat
piloted by Clint Crockett (Adam Roarke) and his sister Karen Crockett
(Joan Van Ark) and capsizes.
Clint and Karen invite Pickett for the party in the private island of their grumpy grandfather Jason Crockett (Ray Milland), an old fashioned disabled patriarch that enjoys celebrating his birthday on the 4th July with his family.
Pickett realizes that the island is infested of frogs and reptiles and Jason has ordered his caretaker to poison his real estate to get rid of the amphibians and creepy crawlies. But soon Picket realizes that they are living the payback of nature against mankind.
The trash "Frogs" is probably one of the first movies to defend the ecology and absolutely ahead of the time. This is the first feature of Sam Elliot, who acts with the veteran Ray Milland. The story is funny and never scares but entertains. My vote is five.
Title (Brazil): "A Invasão das Rãs" ("The Frogs'Invasion")
I honestly think this is an underrated movie.
The plot seems good, although it was carried out weakly, I still enjoyed the movie. Revenge of nature is not an easy thing to portray on film, and this film did its best.
Ray Milland gave an over-the-top-but-still-very-entertaining performance as Jason Crockett, the grumpy old man responsible for toxic waste dumping all along the island he lives on. Sam Elliott was great as an early-career role of Pickett Smith, the hero. Joan Van Ark was alright as the joyful Karen Crockett, the girl who has a crush on Pickett. Adam Roarke was excellent as Clint, Karen's goofy cousin. And everyone else...well... don't hold your breath.
The music was a little off-beat but good nonetheless. The effects were a little ridiculous but still alright.
Not too bad of a movie. Only watch knowing its gonna be bad.
Statistically, this movie was a hit. Made for $200k, it grossed over $2 mill in the US alone. This was the secret of success for American International Pictures. Keep the budgets low, and the base of horror fans will show up and you'll make a profit. 1972 was the year for horror. A large number of films catered to the horror fan, many were cheaply made. But they all made a profit. Frogs is an example of a movie poster created before the movie was filmed. Frogs don't kill anyone in the film, but they made a cool poster. So they were thrown into the mix of alligators, lizards, snapping turtles, snakes, spiders, etc. Since many of these creatures make people queazy, it must have seemed like a slam dunk to film- fearmakers. However, the animal performers are less than convincing. Especially the alligator, where producers sped up the film to make him look like he's moving quickly. The acting is as good as can be expected for this type of film. Joan Van Ark and Sam Elliot debut here (Van Ark had done a soap). Milland is good as the cranky old rich stereotype. If you're looking for a "tame" horror picture to keep the kids interested, this might be it. For adults, it's value is mainly nostalgic.
Even though the film can never really top the brilliance of its own tagline ('Today the pond! Tomorrow the world!'), "Frogs" is a hugely entertaining and surprisingly well-made ecological horror film. These typical "creature features" were guaranteed hits back in the 70's and pretty much every animal species got turned into ravenous monsters enthusiast horror filmmakers, even the most unlikely ones like worms ("Squirm") and rabbits ("Night of the Lepus"). In this film, the frogs aren't just vicious killers but also strategic army generals that mobilize a whole island's ecosystem to commit nasty murders! The frogs are merely supervising whilst humans are being killed off by spiders, lizards, snakes, alligators and oh yes even a turtle! Pickett Smith is a freelance photographer who ends up at the private island home of obnoxious industrialist Jason Crockett during his annual 4th of July/birthday celebration. Also present are a dangerously increasing amount of frogs that no longer put up with the pollution and pesticides on the island and they plan a large-scaled attack on the Crockett family. "Ten Little Indians"-style, all the island's residents are imaginatively killed by ill-natured critters. The story naturally is silly and hardly ever scary, yet it's praiseworthy how director George McGowan attempts to build up an atmosphere of tension. Much like Hitchcock did in "The Birds" (only better), McGowan simply zooms in on the frogs and puts the emphasis on their eerie croaking. So, even though they're simple frogs they look a bit ominous! The best aspect of the film unquestionably is Mario Tosi's colorful camera-work that shows the beautiful environment from many creative viewpoints. The young Sam Elliot is quite good in his heroic role but the shows is obviously stolen by Ray Milland as the grumpy and bossy millionaire who thinks he can afford himself everything. The rest of the cast is quite wooden and their gruesome animal-inflicted deaths actually come as a relief. "Frogs" stands for great campy fun, not a single dull moment and a high body count! Damn, the 70's were cool.
Yes, this was very cheesy, but there are some slick scenes and the characters are all killed off in very convincing ways, making this one both slick and cheesy at the same time. I recommend that fans of B movies check FROGS out, they will not be disappointed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Frogs" is set in Florida around a prominent southern family whose
patriarch Jason Crockett (Millan) is polluting the island he owns. In
the mean time a naturalist/photographer Pickett Smith (Elliot) is
taking pictures of the area, just from a shot or two he sees the place
is polluted. While in his canoe he's capsized (Flips it himself) by
some of Crockett's family, Karen (Van Ark) and Clint (Roarke) who likes
putting back some brews. They apologize and he comes to the mansion for
a wash and talk. While all this is going on you have the constant sound
of frogs and a lot of crowing. Old man Crockett can't stand the sounds
of frogs and complains about them 24/7. He wants them wiped out.
Crockett sent out a guy named Grover to look into this and goes missing
in the swamp and you guessed it, he's been killed by the frogs or is it
toads, well lets say nature. Smith gets the notion that nature may be
fighting back, taking revenge for what man has done to them. Jason says
that's hogwash and does not care. One by one people start getting
knocked off, often in amusing and also boring ways by just about every
creature you can find that slithers in a swamp. One that stands out is
Kenneth (Cortland) who gets knocked off in the green house when some
reptiles start breaking various glass jars containing "poison". So of
course he goes over to investigate and is overcome but he fumes. The
lizard's just laugh at him. Various family members and other
miscellaneous people get killed and it's all very silly. To list a few,
Michael (Gillian) basically trips and is over taken by canopy of
spiders webs and spiders, snapping turtle attacks Jenny (Borden) stuck
in mud, snake takes down Iris (Irving) along with leaches (fake as can
be and way overacted,) Clint killed by a snake in the water and to top
it off they kill off the blacks who worked on the estate. I mean who
can't out run turtle? At least they finally brought out a gator to kill
poor old Stuart (Skaff). Old man Crockett decides he's not going
anywhere and will stay at the estate. Amusing how Crockett was barking
out orders as if he had control over his family and workers to stay and
die with him. So when the rest hightail it he stays behind with his
poor dog. Smith, Karen and Clint's kids escape with some trouble and
hail a driver on local road. Amusing how the driver stops and picks
them up with a loaded shotgun in Smith's hand. Its hinted that this is
going on elsewhere. As for old man Crockett, eventually he falls out of
his wheelchair and is overcome by frogs bouncing around at his windows.
I had read about this film for some time and finally saw it on "THIS TV" network. I'm glad I didn't hold my breath to see it because it was silly indeed. It's mostly boring, rather then a terrible film. The acting is not great, that's for sure. Even Millan who is good, just sits around and bitches about the frogs all day. He plays the same angry crippled old man from The Thing With Two Heads. Joan Van Ark looked good. I'd say she was one of the better parts of the film, along with Sam Elliot doing an early role. There really weren't that many special effects accept for the opening and closing credits which I think they spent most of the budget on. The biggest problem is that Frogs aren't dangerous, so you have various other creatures from the black lagoon doing the dirty work on the humans as the frogs pull the strings from behind. It comes off as amusing far more than scary in any way. I love the toad walking around on the cake with icing on his feet and Millan blowing away the snake in the dining room. The deaths are silly to impossible. This was one the early nature strikes back films and so man more came about after this. Overall it is silly but it's actually and good watch just to pass some time, laugh a little and remember the 70's. I'm always up for seeing nature strike back at man. So, 5 out of 10 stars.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Photographer Elliot, also an ecology expert, is taking snap shots of
wild life, and especially pollution entering the river near a island
swamp owned by millionaire curmudgeon Milland. It's 4th of July and
Milland is having relatives(..mostly grandchildren and
great-grandchildren)over for a birthday celebration which will be
rudely interrupted by reptiles and other animal life disturbed by the
poisons and pesticides he had used to kill off mosquitoes and vermin
that were annoying/bothering them. It's up to Elliot to perhaps
persuade the others to leave the island or else suffer the wrath of the
animals who seem to be everywhere.
Using mostly natural sounds, Les Baxter's score is sparse but eerily effective, and the presentation, besides the hokey murders, is mostly understated and cold. While the movie might be titled "Frogs", the filmmakers use other wild life to attack and/or kill Milland's family, such as spiders, alligators, snakes, leeches, and birds...even a large turtle is shown closing in on a victim whose leg is trapped in the mud!
The dopey premise isn't quite played to it's campy potential..in fact the direction is rather subdued(..as are the cast, even though there are some emotional fireworks as the bickering between family members gets sometimes heated) though the kills themselves are often quite laughable.
Director George McCowan, cinematographer Mario Tosi, and editor Fred R Feitshans Jr make sure to establish the presence of frogs, even though they are merely ribbeting and hopping around, en masse, aggravating those attending Milland's gettogether. And, we get plenty of images of life surrounding the island such as snakes, lizards, and other reptiles always present as characters move about, startled by them when coming across these potential predators.
Like many other "when animals attack" genre movies, mankind seeks to harm them by poisonous means, met with retaliation when the creatures have had enough. Milland spends a fair amount of time barking orders at his family, or balking them for speaking "out of turn". Elliot remains zombie-like, and I'm guessing he doesn't exactly list this movie among the favorites in his impressive resume. Probably the most unpleasant death scene would be where one poor fellow is overcome by an alligator who catches him in the "death roll." A young Joan Van Ark(..pre-Knot's Landing)is Milland's beloved granddaughter who becomes a love interest for Elliot. Bad decision to market the film as a possible killer frogs flick..the title should've probably been different as well. Probably the weirdest scene has one dying from asphyxiation after lizards caused bottles of poisons to burst on the ground, with the victim unable to free himself from the greenhouse. Also strange is a scene where one victim shoots himself in the leg with a shotgun, and is subsequently accosted by spiders, "webbing" him afterward! Milland's incessant demands to remain on the island("I won't let anything interfere with today's schedule!")despite the obvious signs of real danger is rather mind-boggling.
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