Stars: Roddy Piper, Sandahl Bergman, Brian Frank, Rory Calhoun, William Smith, Lee Garlington, Cliff Bemis | Written by Randall Frakes | Directed by Donald G. Jackson, R.J. Kizer
Arrow Video are well known for their line of cult favourites from horror and science fiction films of the past and here we see them go to the vault and come out with a big pile of stinking cheese in the form of Hell Comes to Frogtown.
Directed by the late Donald G. Jackson and R.J Kizer, Hell Comes to Frogtown follows the character of Sam Hell, played by professional wrestler and part-time actor, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (They Live), who is taken prisoner by a female government who have taken over the United States after a nuclear war. Sam Hell must rescue a group of fertile women who are being held captive by a mutant tyrant. Oh, and the mutants in question, well… they’re frog people, dude’s that look like frogs. The leader is called Commander Toty (sounds like Toady) for God’s sake. This is the 80’s, and this is a b-movie, after all.
It’s a post-apocalyptic movie that uses its setting and back-story of nuclear radiation to up the goofiness to eleven and cover it with the ripest of Stilton. It’s very corny and very silly, but the charm and humour is undeniable and that explains why this film is a cult favourite. The interactions between Sam Hell and Spangle (Sandahl Bergman – She, Red Sonja) are some of the standout moments in the film and provide plenty of entertainment. Bergman is fun to watch and, with Piper, they keep the movie from deteriorating, because the acting is pretty terrible elsewhere in the film, especially when you begin to realise that Bergman and Roddy Piper are saving it from deteriorating. Oh dear.
Roddy Piper is likeable in his role, and he isn’t a bad actor really, though he was never going to go much further than films like this and They Live. It has its moments of dragging, but all in all it is an enjoyable sci-fi comedy that doesn’t take itself seriously and keeps its tongue in its proverbial cheek for its near-90 minute running time.
While it isn’t going to impress everyone, and might not necessarily translate well to people who aren’t existing fans, it is a worthy re-release of a film that is, plain and simply, fun viewing. The picture quality on the new transfer is impressive and I doubt that the film has ever looked or sounded better than it does in Arrow’s edition.
The special features include interviews with Roddy Piper, Brian Frank who played Commander Toty and special effects designer Steve Wang, as well as extended scenes and trailers, offering some nice little retrospective opinions of the film from people who were involved heavily in the process. The only difference between this and the previous, limited, and now gloriously over-priced release? The original booklet is not included here!
Hell Comes to Frogtown is re-released Blu-ray on December 19th, courtesy of Arrow Video.