Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

THE ECOTERRORIST GENRE




Frogs (1972)


Okay, there's no ecoterrorist genre but there should be. If there can be sexploitation, blaxploitation and other sub genres, this is good as a ecoterroiotation. In the 70's there were a few horror movies basically trying to spank us humans for ruining the earth and having it rise up to get its revenge (Food Of The Gods comes to mind). 

This one happens to a rich family of wastrels and is laughable but hey, you get to see how incredibly hunky Sam Elliot looked in the 70's (although he's still very handsome today). I noticed, looking for info about the film, that they called it eco-horror but I don't think that's strong enough - I like mine better.

"I love turtles" boy, Portland native son...
Aaaaand that's about all that's interesting that you can say about this movie, besides the appearance of Joan Van Ark (who back then looked like... Joan Van Ark) and Ray Milland. Frogs? We're supposed to be afraid of frogs? Oh but it's not just frogs - they throw in snakes, lizards, alligators and even tarantulas and butterflies into the mix. Butterflies? Really? And my question was - are all those nasty, scary amphibians and alligators and the different kinds of snakes and lizards really overtaking the state of Florida?

Good Lord, turtle boy looks like THIS now?
Living, yes. Overtaking? No. In spite of our spanking in the 70's, the habitats of these creatures continues to dwindle (which is why you're always hearing of them showing up in houses and neighborhoods). So our basic plot is that there's this rich southern family (without a trace of any Southern accent) whose tradition has always been to congregate in the Crockett family's plantation by a lake for a fourth of July celebration combined with the birthdays of several of the family members. 

One son brings a model - African American. I think the movie maker was trying to compensate for the fact that the 'help' was also African American. Maybe.

So enter Pickett Smith (Sam Elliot) who's taking photos of the destruction of the water and plant life by pollution, garbage, and general human neglect. He's in a canoe which is suddenly tipped over by a passing speedboat. It's two siblings of the family. They pick him up, taking him home where he meets this vapid family with their patriarch, a wheelchair-bound Ray Milland. (Can we say PLOT POINT?)

He doesn't like Pickett snooping around, and Pickett tries to warn him about the destruction of the ecosystem around him but the crochety old man doesn't like bugs and the sounds of frogs drives him nuts. Maybe he should go to Arizona or something.

Now people start disappearing. They attempt to phone for help (one land line) but it's dead (smart froggies). During the course of the movie they showcase a ton of creatures and I wondered how many were actually native to Florida. Alligators and crocodiles, yeah. But I was thinking no way was there so many different slimies living down there. Lesson 1 for me. There are (today) 33 different kinds of frogs and toads. 

How many Squamate Serpentes? Leave the Google alone, I'm just tryin' to teach you a little something, grow up. That's fancy talk for snakes. There are a whopping 53 different types, some venomous, some not - some native, some introduced. Yikes.

That was lesson 2 for me 'cause I'm watching this thinking nu-uh, there's not going to be rattlers AND boas AND water snakes AND... yup there are. In fact, if slimy and not so slimy things scare the hell out of you, perhaps you should stay out of Florida 'cause I lost count of how many different kinds of Squamate Lacertilia (lizards) are down there. 

So I thought I was going to get to make fun of this movie but nope - not about the wildlife anyway. Oh, and this was all filmed at Eden Park - the source of all these different species for the movie no doubt. And don't forget the turtles - 26 different kinds (including tortoises). My sincere apologies to Florida. That was lesson 3 - they have a good reason to be concerned that there is plenty of healthy habitat for all these crawling, slithering and hopping things to live.

Anywho people are dying and the frogs are getting into everything. But Jason (Ray Milland) is firmly ignoring all of this... nonsense 'cause he wants his party dammit. I love in the description of the movie it claims that 'the frogs and other animals plan to get revenge for the constant pollution around the area'. Pffft... He doesn't seem to care much that his progeny are dying one by one due to different creepy crawlies.

Jason is adamant (and stupid) about his party but the survivors bug out (sorry about that). The survivors hitch a ride with a woman who has just picked up her son from camp - and he is carrying one of the huge toads... our cue I guess to the eventual infiltration of these smart killers everywhere. Meanwhile, Jason is inside and the toads make their final stand - they break through the glass (Really?) and cover him as he lies on the floor. Oh he'll be dead all right - those warts'll kill you.

After the blessed credits roll they show a cartoon frog eating a human hand. Cute. These kind of movies has one thing in common (besides the revenge of nature against man) - they're heavy handed as hell.