Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake (1981) Poster

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Rana The Legend of Shadow Lake: Croaks early on
Platypuschow10 March 2018
I'm not a Troma fan, in fact I'd go as far as to say that my opinion of the average Troma film is somewhat derogative.

This early Troma title is very different from the others and yet succeeds in somehow being worse. Allegedly a horror comedy I can assure you in contains minimal horror and absolutely no comedy, looking at the cover I know that's probably hard to believe.

Rana: The Legend Of Shadow Lake otherwise known as Croaked : Frog Monster From Hell is not about a giant frog as the cover art would suggest and is more a Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954) type, except despite being made in the 50's the monster looked better then.

With very little actually happening, looking terrible when things do and with little to no redeeming features Rana is actually worse than the cover would suggest and that's really quite impressive.

Nice to know Troma was awful from day one.

The Good:

Funny cover art

The Bad:

Daft concept

Weak horror, poor comedy

Dishonest cover

Oddly boring

Things I Learnt From This Movie:

An actual giant frog would have been considerably more interesting

This makes the Toxic Avenger look intellectual
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Grade Z Classic!!!
shark-4325 April 2004
This "film" is a Grade Z classic - I have to laugh when I read other comments of these low,low budget horror/monster movies and people are actually ticked off that they weren't "good" - as if these things could be considered well made, well executed horror films. Example, this thing was shot over the course of a COUPLE DAYS in 1975 using local people with a budget that wouldn't cover a sandwich run to the deli. What do you expect??? But for those twisted ones who enjoy, devour and laugh like crazy at badly made cinema, well, this one is amazing! There is truly Ed Wood type dialogue in this flick - awful, unintentionally hilarious dialogue - in fact the THIRD line of the whole film is "We're so isolated on this island" Yes - now THAT'S exposition! The performances are terrible, the guy playing the crazy Ol' hermit gives a 110% and it is a horrible peice of mugging - he's the kind of cliched crazy old timer who actuallys says "heap o' trouble" THREE times in the course of a minute - I kid you not. You never see the "creature" until WAY near the end and the costume is ridiculous. My friends and I laughed a lot at this piece of trash - so if you're looking for a Sam Raimi or even a John Carpenter - no this is not for you - but if you howl at Ed Woods films and seek out campy trash from the 1970s - then look no further.
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Another Bill Rebane Creature Feature
Bezenby12 May 2014
If you know Bill Rebane, you'll know what to expect here: Low budget antics with local actors, z-grade effects, and yet an overall charming atmosphere. This is one of his better efforts as it actually has things happening during the plot.

A guy and his gal end up on an isolated island and in between heavy petting, he recounts and incident from his childhood while growing up on the island with his father. When he was but a kid, some folks ended up on the island looking into some sort of legend (and of course the treasure implied by the legend). You've got some treasure hunters masquerading as loggers, and odds with local crazy hunter Charlie (they exchange pot shots at each other fairly regularly), two scientist chicks, and another scientist guy who very early on gets killed by some creature in the lagoon.

Bottom line is: there's a crazy frog monster in the lake in the middle of the island and he's not too happy at being disturbed. The loggers are next on the menu (and the also clash with our narrator's dad several times), but when old Charlie gets plugged our frog guy goes mental and it's up to our survivors to get off the island before Rana gets them all, and who will survive (except the narrator, of course, but then we've got to find out why he came back).

Much more exciting than Rebane's Alpha Incident and The Game, Rana is a more straightforward horror film which pleased me to no end as I'm a sucker for a regional film. The plot moves very fast (for a Rebane film) and there's even a smattering of gore here and there. The acting is what you'd expect if you know Rebane's films, and some of the music was downright funky. Rather high incidents of slow motion throughout, for some reason.

To summarise: If you're curious about Bill Rebane, try this one, Demons of Ludlow and the Giant Spider invasion. Lesser works included the strange film The Game, the boring Alpha Incident, and the so-so comedy Twister's Revenge.
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Bill Rebane's Black Lagoon homage Sci-Fi-Horror-Thriller Z-Grade Cult Classic!
retromaster200024 July 2005
This film was a lot better then I thought. It was pretty much a throw back to "Creature From The Black Lagoon" except half man half frog & he had a weapon also guarded gold treasures. This is an excellent throwback tribute to Jack Arnold's Sci-Fi Classic the monster suit isn't as good as in Lagoon, but hey what the hell Rana was done a lot lower of a budget then Jack Arnold's Lagoon. I saw this movie finally when I bid & won on ebay. My mom purchased it was a VHS used in good condition got that during X-Mas 2005. I enjoyed pretty much every sec. down to the needle. It was pretty bloody is one reason I really liked it bloodier then Lagoon but not as scary almost though. If the suit would of been better but it's damn good for the budget. The Frog Man likes the younger girl the one that was swimming around in the lake in the sexy one piece pink swimsuit. Yeah Rana got her in the end after Kelly's father was killed. Kelly & the Female Palentologist's young niece were there & that is when Rana broke in & attacked them. He took her over his shoulder this is a lot like in Lagoon when The Gillman takes Julia Adams off the boat & dives back into the lagoon with her. Well I ain't telling much about Rana all u B & Z Graders should see it I loved it! By the way I will be getting the DVD release of it from Troma under it's a.k.a. title "Croaked: Frog Monster From Hell". Which I got & was very disappointed in cause it ran only 89 mins. I also have the old Burbank VHS as I stated & that one ran about 93 mins. Stupid because Troma originally distributed the film why they cut out 3 or 4 mins. for the DVD release makes no sense. Doubt there will ever be another more commercial DVD this being such an obscure 70's monster flick. Along with Rebane's other 70's Sci-Fi Efforts besides, "The Giant Spider Invasion" from 1975. That just got a 2009 2-Disc DVD Deluxe Treatment. That one seems to get the most attention. Which is a shame his 1977 Sci-Fi Effort "The Alpha Incident" was doubled billed with Star Wars at the theaters back in 1977. It was the second feature to Star Wars. Rebane stated in the commentary on the new Spider Invasion DVD, he didn't know if Alpha or his 1987 Horror Slasher Effort "Blood Harvest" got the bigger share of the pie. He never did get the money for Spider Invasion's theatrical gross. Neither it's enduring Cult Status as a mainstream Drive-Inn Sci-Fi Classic. Rana is one of my favorites of the 70's though. So I gave it a 6 but Octaman '72 & Zaat '72 are better they got an 8 for their type.
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Really bad & thankfully obscure 70's monster film.
poolandrews19 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake is set on an isolated Wisconsin island called Rana which refers to a lake god worshipped by Indians, presumably a long time ago. We begin with a man named Kelly (Glenn Scherer), isn't that a woman's name?, telling a woman named Chris (Doreen Moze), isn't that a man's name?, about local legends & the way things used to be when he was 11 years old... Cut to that point in time & the young Kelly (Brad Ellingson) lives on the island with his Father John Morgan (Alan Ross) who happens to be the local Ranger, things were usually very quiet on the island with just Kelly his Father & an old hermit named Charlie (Jerry Gregoris who also has co-writing & co-producing credits) but ever since Kelly found a rare bone fragment that was 125 millions years old things had become busier on the island. A local university sent female paleontologist Dr. Elli Hatley to investigate & her niece Susan (Julie Wheaton) went along for the ride. Three men posing as loggers also turned up at about the same time, Burley (Jim Iaquinta), Cal (Bruno Alexander as Bruno Aclin) & Mike (Michael Skewes) while yet another paleontologist named Sorensen (Lorry Getz) was attacked & killed by something that lives in the lake... Kelly carries on to explain that in the legends that surround the island it is said that somewhere at the bottom of the lake there is huge amounts of gold, but the legend also states that a prehistoric frog creature known as Rana guards the gold & kills anyone foolish enough to attempt to locate it...

Co-photographed under the pseudonym Ito (?!), co-produced & directed by Bill Rebane Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake is a pretty dire film on all accounts. The script by Gregoris, Lyoma Denetz & Mike Landers is tediously slow, dull & boring to the extent that those 96 minutes felt considerably longer. The character's have no personality or likability, the dialogue is stiff, unnatural & really flat I mean people just don't talk like this do they? The basic story could have had potential if the flashbacks were used to unravel a mystery but here they are just used to pad the running time out & there really isn't any need for Kelly to be narrating the film apart from the fact it's an easy way for Rebane to cram a lot of dull exposition in with the least amount of effort. The whole film is just stupid & doesn't gel at all & what about Rana the frog creature himself? Well he makes an appearance at the end for about two minutes & that's it, the rest of the film we just get point-of-view shots & a rubber claw. The extremely predictable twist ending leaves the door open for a sequel which, thankfully, has yet to materialise.

Director Rebane again shows his general incompetence here straight from the opening sequence featuring really jerky aerial shots of the island to the way everything looks to have been filmed in natural light so the brightness & colour levels appear to shift all over the place & it's not an easy film to watch. One more thing Bill, where does all that neon lighting come from in those underwater caverns? He fails to create any sort of tension, atmosphere or excitement & as a whole Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake is a real chore to get through. Every other shot seems to be of a landscape, a tree, the surface of the lake or some local wildlife just to stretch it out even further & it reminded me of a really dull & dry wildlife documentary in terms of content, entertainment value & style, basically very little on all three accounts! There are a few gore scenes, someone has an arrow pushed through them, a body severed in half, someone has their face crushed against a tree & some severed fingers.

With a budget that probably wouldn't buy a round of drinks in a pub these days Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake is a shoddy production from beginning to end, terrible static cinematography, music that feels like it belongs in a different film & Rana himself when he eventually turns up is obviously just a guy in a rubber wetsuit painted green & a silly rubber mask. The acting is awful although there is a great scene when a goat tries to stand on a box in the background & falls off in spectacular style! Plus there is absolutely no reason for it whatsoever...

Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake is a real chore to sit through & is of very little, if any, entertainment value. I'll give it two stars because one or two bits of gore & the bizarre but cool goat scene, although in themselves they are hardly recommendations to watch this. Apparently Troma released this under the alternate title 'Croaked: Frog Monster from Hell' which is a cool title for a crap film, one to avoid.
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This time, the frog dissects you!
Coventry9 November 2009
I hadn't even heard about "Rana" a.k.a "Croaked: Frog Monster from Hell" until a friend of mine mentioned it a couple of weeks ago, but I instantly wanted to see it for a number of reasons. Number one: Hello! It's a movie about a giant killer frog monster! What more reason do you need? We've seen angry frogs before in the early 70's eco-horror trash fest "Frogs", but they were only normal sized and boring killer frogs! Plus, one of the taglines I encountered stated: "This time, the frog dissects you!" Best cheesy tagline ever! Number two: this is another accomplishment of the notoriously awful director Bill Rebane, who also made the insufferable creature features "Giant Spider Invasion" and "The Capture of Bigfoot". Of course, in my wild enthusiasm, I actually forgot that this thing is probably rare and ultra-obscure for a good reason. Could it possibly be any worse than the other Rebane stinkers, like the aforementioned ones and also "The Demons of Ludlow" and "Monster-a-Go- Go"? Oh yes, sire! This is bad film-making in the purest meaning of the term: long boring stretches of footage that is completely irrelevant, one-dimensional characters, inept dialogs and a total absence of excitement and bloody action. The titular monster is nowhere to be seen until late in the film, but unlike as in "Jaws", you'd wish they never bothered to show it at all once you finally see it. Speaking of "Jaws", there are multiple more heavy influences from that film, like the music and the underwater P.O.V. shots, but I can hardly hold that against Bill Rebane because practically all horror movies around that time imitated the successful gimmicks of Spielberg's summer blockbuster. The plot is narrated by a guy, as some sort of warm fireplace story to his girlfriend in their holiday cabin, and describes a traumatizing encounter of his own childhood. In the story, the narrator is an 8-year- old kid, living with his father near a swamp. After the mysterious disappearance of an anthropologist in the area, another much better looking anthropologist of the female kind comes to investigate. More and more people start to vanish in the swamp, like poachers, but obviously nobody believe the crazy old guy when he says that the legendary frog monster is to be blamed. Rana, as he/she/it is called, looks more like the inbred cousin of Creature from the Black Lagoon than like a frog or any type of amphibian whatsoever. "Rana" is pretty boring during the first hour, but then suddenly quite a lot happens in the span of only a few minutes. One of the characters stumbles over a skull with the eyes still in its sockets, there's a gunfight in slow-motion at the pier and the monster's claws can be admired as he crushes the head of a poacher into a tree. After these three minutes of outrageous action, everything gets boring and tedious again. Couldn't you have spread the a little, Mr. Rebane?
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chickiesinger982 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I thought the frog monster would be featured more in the movie. You only see the monster maybe 3 minutes in the entire movie! The times the monster is featured you don't see the monster most of the time. You see through his eyes, which was probably done for budgeting purposes. The movie mostly focuses on a old man who wants no one on the island. Frog Monster had potential but they dropped the ball! The box was very misleading. The Frog Monster attacks a scientist and her niece. Not a group of lovely young ladies as the movie box makes you want to believe. I'm usually a fan of these types of movies but this movie really struck out.
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What the heck?
NerdBat14 December 2017
Okay, so the cover art and poster are complete lies for this film. It's a classic swamp thing type movie. From the art you would think it's a movie about a giant Frog right? No, it's just some green guy walking around making Frog noises. I found it funny the monsters name is supposedly "Rana", which is the name given to the creature by Native American tribes. The word "Rana" is simply the Spanish word for Frog. How very creative (not!). I was disappointed, this was one of the worst, most boring creature features I think I've ever seen. It just dragged its feet for way too long, the acting was horrendous and the monster design could not have been more basic.
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Truly a painful experience...
dharmabum31 January 1999
Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake is one of the most truly horrible visions ever put on film. The excruciating acting and horribly conceived script take it to a rare level of high comedy.

The plot involves a kid who finds a frog bone. The bone turns out to be from some kind of vague fossil frog or something, so a paleontologist shows up to look around this isolated island. Meanwhile, a bunch of true wizards are trying to swim to the bottom of Shadow Lake to find a buried treasure. There's a fair bit of bad early 70's music, and obscure scenes of the kid fishing and playing with deer. Jerry Gregoris, the film's producer, plays crazy Charlie, who tells the kid of a strange creature who lives in the lake, "half man... half frog... half, I dunno WHAT! They called him Rana...". People get killed by this guy running around in the Creature from the Black Lagoon's suit after someone dumped a gloppy bucket of green paint on it. Eventually Rana gets what's coming to him and the horrible secret at the bottom of Shadow Lake is revealed.

Scenes such as the kid, Kelly, feeding baby deer, fishing and trying to be cool in front of the paleontologist's beautiful (ha!) assistant are ugly. Even uglier is the adult Kelly narrating the tale while he makes out with his somewhat sleazy girlfriend. Watch for the scene when crazy Charlie's goat takes a tumble in the background.

This film is for the truly sadistic. If you somehow manage to find a copy, view at your own risk.
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Another Troma snoozefest...
DevilPaul1 January 2006
The version I saw was titled "Croaked: Frog Monster From Hell". Well, this movie did have some funny parts in it but not enough to sustain a 90 minute flick. In between each funny part you had to bear through 10 - 15 minutes of just talking, talking, talking. The plot involves an island, a lost treasure, a little kid and the adult he becomes that narrates the movie, a scientist, and some yahoos looking for the treasure. In certain scenes in the pond where Rana lives you clearly hear an oboe playing the Jaws theme. Rana turns out to be more like the creature from the black lagoon than he does a "frog monster". I won't spoil the ending but hopefully you can stay awake for it.
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About As Bad As You're Going to Get
Michael_Elliott15 April 2017
Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake (1981)

1/2 (out of 4)

Kelly tells the story of when he was 11-years-old and staying with his father by a large lake. He tells the story of how one summer a half-man, half-frog creature began stalking people.

Bill Rebane directed this film and it's without question one of the worst films of its kind. In fact, I'd argue that this was one of the slowest and weakest films ever made for the genre and the only thing that really saves it is the fact that Troma bought it and gave it a much better title: CROAKED: FROG MONSTER FROM HELL. That title alone is exploitation gold but it also seems that Troma knew that the film itself couldn't be sold so they came up with a crazy title to get some sales.

As far as the film goes, it's really a throwback to the various monster pictures of the 1950's drive-in era. Movies like ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES and THE GIANT GILA MONSTER is what this film tries to be like but the problem here is that the film is deadly dull from the word go. We keep hearing a lot about this monster but we never clearly see him until the very end. And when he does arrive it's easy to see why the filmmakers didn't want to show it off as the creature costume is downright awful. I mean it's really, really bad and certainly one of the worst that you're ever going to see.

The performances really aren't any better and the gore effects are pretty tame and not at all creative. The film clocks in at around 89-minutes, which is honestly about eighty-minutes too long. RANA: THE LEGEND OF SHADOW LAKE just doesn't have a single thing going for it outside of its great title and alternate title. I'm sure they were trying to do something but it just seems like they had no money so instead of anything good we were just given a boring talk-fest.
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