The great nuclear holocaust has come and gone, and humanity is hanging on a string. Women rule what’s left, and the world is filled with giant mutant humanoid frogs who have started their own communities. Fertile human males have become one of the rarest things on Earth. This really low-budget sci-fi adventure chronicles the exploits of one of those men, the wandering loner Sam Hell (as played by former wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper). The tale begins as Hell is caught and tried for raping a woman. Realizing that he is fertile, Medtech, the organization devoted to repopulating the world, takes him and forces him to wear high-tech underwear designed to control his lusty tendencies and to keep him from squandering his seed on infertile ladies. The organization then forces him to go deep into froggy territory to bring back the fertile women stolen by the amphibian’s leader.
Release Year: 1987 | Director: Randall Frakes | Runtime: 1hr 22min | Genre: Sci-Fi | Source: Owned | Unstarred Review
Hell Comes to Frogtown Review
I’m a big fan of They Live and I was always vaguely away that star Roddy “Rowdy” Piper had also been in a movie called Hell Comes to Frogtown around that same time. I didn’t know anything more about it and always figured it was about a small town, named Frogtown, that goes up against a bad situation. Zombies. Criminals. Something like that. It turns out that’s not at all the case. This movie is literally about a guy named Hell who goes to a town populated by frogs. How did it take me this long to watch this?!
So why journey to a town populated by mutant frogs? You would need a really good reason to do that right? Well Sam Hell (Piper) has the best reason. You see, it’s the post-apocalypse and humanity has been significantly reduced, leading to the creation of a company whose goal is to repopulate the earth. They need the right people for this and apparently, Sam Hell is legendary, roaming the country and leaving a path of pregnant women in his wake. So the heads of the operation (her and her colleagues are described as “warrior-nurses” on Wikipedia which is fitting) kidnap him and fit him with an electronic chastity belt so he can’t just go throwing his penis around willy-nilly. Also they can use it to electrocute him if he tries to escape. Which he does, and they do. A lot. His mission is to help them get into Frogtown and rescue a group of girls who were kidnapped by frog mutants, and then put babies in them.
This is a real movie.
Not surprisingly, the tone of the whole thing is very light. They never poke direct fun at the premise but there’s a lot of jokes and humour. Some of it falls flat (an extended sequence where a frog lady tries to bone Hell wears out its welcome real fast) but everyone, particularly Piper, seem very aware of the kind of movie they are in and lean into it. It teeters into overly campy territory a few times but it never goes too far with it like say, Tammy and the T-Rex (thoughts on that gem here).
The idea of a movie where women are throwing themselves at a guy because of his legendary sperm slinging could be…problematic…but it’s handled surprisingly ok. Or at the very least better than I expected it to be. Everything is consensual, women are spearheading the whole operation and doing most of the work/ass-kicking. Hell is a bit of a bumbling idiot, only getting a couple of heroic moments in the third act. He is hardly the standard action movie lead and it helps with the absurdity of the whole thing,
My biggest problem with the movie is that it takes far too long to get to Frogtown where we are introduced to a fascinating world. These creatures (derogatorily referred to as “greenies”) were a direct result of the nuclear war fought by the humans and were promptly shunned by the remaining humans, forced to scavenge for scraps and live in a rundown city. Naturally, they resent the humans but we do meet some who are on the side of humans and vice versa. There’s even rules and a hierarchy to their little society. It’s more world building than I expected and it’s disappointing how quickly we move on from it. Even the make-up and costumes are pretty good. And one of the boss frogs yells and whips shit. So Frogtown is a happening spot and we should all be sad we don’t get to see more of it.
Hell Comes to Frogtown is more Hell Visits Frogtown But Has to Duck Out Early Because He’s Super Busy and that’s too bad. I expected a dumb piece of 80’s science fiction nonsense and while it’s certainly that, there are hints of a stronger story here that I wish were explored a little more, which is a complaint I never expected to be making about this movie. There ARE sequels, but the Internet has made it very clear I should not watch them. I will abide.