Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Hell Comes to Frogtown (1987)





















Sam Hell...Hell comes to Frogtown, nice little play on words there, just like 'Wild Wild West' with James West. This movie came along way after John Carpenter's 'Escape from New York' but the influences are clear. I might also add that this movie probably gave Carpenter a solid reason to cast Piper in the lead of his cult movie 'They Live' which sees him play a similar smartass role.

Sam Hell is one of the last males left alive with a high sperm count, yep that's right. In a post-apocalyptic world (cue lots of desert) where most have succumbed to atomic fallout Mr Hell is one of few who can breed, and breed well. So the organisation of warrior-nurses (a government organisation) grab Hell and force him to breed with sexy females in order to boost the human race...yes you are reading this correctly. Problem is the only group of fertile women around have been pinched by the mutants of Frogtown for...reasons. So its up to the one man army Sam Hell to bust into Frogtown and save the sexy females...then slam dunk em all.

In all honesty this really does sound like a big pile of low budget, cheap-ass, tacky soft porn poo. The entire notion is like something from the Flesh Gordon franchise for nipples sake...errr I mean Pete's sake. One stud left in a post-apocalyptic world who must boink all the lovely ladies as part of his job...oh geez! The funny thing is the movie is indeed a cheap silly throwaway piece of fluff but its also a semi-worthy trashfest.

If you didn't know any better you'd swear this was a John Carpenter flick, but as said that's probably because director Jackson has taken most ideas from 'Escape from New York'. The whole concept of having Hell locked into a government owned steel chastity belt that will explode if he runs off or tries to tamper with it is a blatant ripoff. Sure the idea is childishly amusing and makes for some cringeworthy moments of overacting but its basically a below the belt version (no pun intended) of Snake Plissken's internal explosive device.

His mission is all too familiar as well, a high risk rescue from the mutants of Frogtown. He's gotta zip in and out rescuing the damsels without anyone realising what's happened, only then will his groin be released. Luckily he does have two sexy females to accompany him on the mission...if they can stop trying to hump him of course. Strangely enough this isn't really sexy even though it sounds like it, way too many shots of a half naked Piper for my liking.

Then of course you have the character of Hell who is pretty much a carbon copy of Mr Plissken. He has the shaggy long hair, the unusual attire which looks like a mish mash of styles, weapons galore and of course a gruff, butch, chauvinistic wisecracking persona. The only difference here is Hell is more of a comedic character for the most part, almost like a parody. Seriously though why does he have those two long bits of red cloth at the front and rear of his jeans?? It looks like a native American influence...but why??!

The enemy here are humanoid amphibians, mutants, but I was unsure if they were suppose to be mutated humans or actual mutated amphibians from the atomic fallout. If they were indeed real frogs before the mutation I must ask where on earth all these frogs came from to make up this big population! plus why just amphibians? why nothing else? There also seems to be various types of amphibians too like bullfrogs and a salamander?

Most of the main amphibian characters are rubber masks and bodysuits which admittedly worked pretty well, the large rubber masks were accurate looking and appropriately wet n slimy. It all looks a bit basic these days of course, the mouths don't move very well with no lip sync whilst the rubber suits are obvious, but they do the job and at least look like real frogs. Most background characters are simple makeup jobs which stand out a bit but lets not get too picky here (ahem).

Most of the movie does look cheap and doesn't really have much going for it. There is a sort of car chase sequence near the end, some sort of fisticuffs between characters which is all too fake looking and a little bit of sexy tomfoolery with boobies. I did like the use of the old abandoned steel mill for Frogtown (I presume it was a steel mill, could be wrong). For the most part its all a bit rubbish though, there isn't any real pending threat to anyone at any point which is the main issue. I always got the impression they could just sit down and have a good natter over everything as the mutants don't seem all that bad.

Its easy to see why this has become a cult classic, especially with a title like that. In my opinion its all down to the great performance by Roddy Piper who is a really solid action comedy star and very much underrated if you ask me. This guy has proved himself twice with this movie and 'They Live', he knows how to deliver cornball lines, he's endearing, quirky, amusing, looks good and somehow makes all this shit seem really decent. This whole thing dangles by a thread...If it wasn't for Piper and some good rubber mask work it would be complete pants.

6/10