What’s It About: Movie opens in a peaceful swamp with some guy taking photographs on a canoe. He’s mostly taking photos of the wildlife but also he’s snapping away at sewage and pollution. After a while his boat is over turned by some dick in a motorboat. The driver and his sister apologize profusely and invite the photographer to their rich father’s estate on the island.
WAIT A FRIGGIN’ MINUTE!!! THE PHOTOGRAPHER IS SAM ELLIOTT!!!!! WITHOUT HIS TRADEMARK MOUSTACHE!!!! THIS IS INSANE!!! I’ve never seen him without his dark beautiful soup strainer. I did not recognize him until I heard his equally beautiful rugged voice. I saw his name on the credits but I was waiting for him with his moustache. Madness! Sheer lunacy!!!
Now where was I? Oh yeah, so Sam Elliott MY LORD HE IS EVEN MORE HANDSOME WITHOUT HIS ‘STACHE BUT I CAN’T CONCENTRATE WITH HIM CLEAN-SHAVEN meets the old southern coot in his plantation and hits it off well with him and the rest of the annoying family. Also the whole estate is littered, literally littered with thousands of frogs. Not Frenchmen but the amphibians mind you. The rest of the film’s soundtrack is provided by croaking and ribbits. So the old man is having a 4th of July party for his birthday and his whole clan is I STILL CANNOT BELIEVE HE IS WITHOUT HIS MOUSTACHE—I HONESTLY THOUGHT HE WAS BORN WITH IT staying at the house and if I have to hear how annoyed they are at the constant croaking once more time I’m going to go bananas. Seriously, just stare at this gorgeous rugged man who’s now staying with you guys.
Sam Elliott volunteers to look for a missing employee who went to spray pesticide in the swamp to get rid of the frogs. Yeah he’s dead but the old man doesn’t much care when Elliott tells him. Meanwhile the frogs are getting more abundant in the estate. At dinner a huge snake hangs from the chandelier but the old man shoots it down with a revolver he had conveniently tucked away in his wheelchair. How a snake got to be able to hang from a chandelier is anyone’s guess. Another family member goes out into the forest with a shotgun. He’s distracted, trips and somehow shoots himself in the leg. Now I rewatched this scene about three times because I really don’t know how this is possible but he falls and a swarm of tarantulas attack him. Also, somehow, he gets cocooned by moss and other vine-like flora. Sam Elliott sensing the ultimate peril on this island estate warns that everyone should leave but the old man must have his Fourth of July birthday bash—For not only him but America! Soon another guy gets trapped in a greenhouse and lizards knock over poisonous chemicals which kills that guy. So far we’re about half-way through the movie and not one frog attack or frog related horror scene. Also Sam Elliott STILL does not have his moustache. Hmmmmmm.
Soon after the loopy aunt wanders off into the swamp chasing after butterflies and snakes distract her into a small pond full of leeches which nearly kill her but she manages to escape. Then a rattlesnake bites her, killing her. Frogs look on. Her husband goes off looking for her and meets a grisly end by a very realistic yet lifeless alligator. Again some frogs look on. By now I’m thinking the frogs are the overlords psychically controlling or ordering all the other creatures of the bayou to attack.
Elliott, the old man’s son and the servants leave the old man to get off this island. The servants are killed off screen by birds. The son swims out to get his motorboat which somehow was untethered from the dock is killed by a water moccasin. His wife seeing his death through binoculars goes to help him but gets stuck in mud at the waters edge and is killed by a snapping turtle. I’ll repeat that—killed by a snapping turtle. A TURTLE!! Elliott’s moustache is still nowhere to be found.
Despite 95% of his family and staff killed by amphibians and reptiles, the old man is still not going anywhere. He’ll celebrate alone if he has to. Elliott leads the children and the daughter out of the house and onto a canoe fending off snakes and alligators with the canoe paddle. They make it to the other side of the lake onto the mainland and hitch a ride with some lady and her kid. The kid shows them his new pet—A FROG!!!! This is the last we see of Elliott and the other survivors so I don’t know if they are eventually killed by newts and salamanders or even fireflies. Maybe Sam Elliott’s magical moustache finally grows in and shields them from harm. We’ll never know.
We reach the conclusion of this fable with the old man getting accosted by hundreds of really angry croaking frogs breaking into the house. He then suffers a heart attack. Frogs again just look on and hop on his corpse. Happy Birthday Old Man!
Is it Actually Scary: Somewhat having the same impact as Night of the Lepus, frogs are not scary, neither are lizards, turtles or butterflies. Snakes could be as well as alligators but they are never used in scary ways. This looks like it could be a nature show with people getting attacked. This had to be Steve Irwin’s scariest movie though I’m sure.
Scariest Moment: I don’t think I’ll ever get the image of Sam Elliott without his moustache out of my mind.
How Much Gore: Not much. Most deaths are implied or off-screen.
Dumbest Moment: Has to be the death by snapping turtle scene. The likelihood of anyone, at any age, being killed by a turtle is absurd. And this scene had an adult chick who was ridiculously stuck in mud and watched in horror as a turtle s-l-o-w-l-y approached her to murder her. I’m pretty sure you would have time to get out of mud or simply grab the turtle by the sides and turn him on his back! And the turtle is about the height of her shin, so what did it do slowly gnaw her leg off? Laughably the most ludicrous death I’ve ever seen on film.
Any Nudity: Just Sam Elliott without his moustache and shirtless…twice!!
Overall: Regardless of the trauma I endured watching Sam Elliott talk without a bushy handlebar hairline above his small naked lips I had fun watching this ridiculous eco-horror film. Again, another 70s environmental message horror movie. The old man carelessly and shamelessly polluted on his swamp and is now paying the ultimate price. Death by army of Frogs! I’m still chuckling at the fact that this film is titled Frogs and not one frog attacks a human. Not one jumps in the way or in the direction of someone. The poster shows a frog with a human hand in his mouth which implies two things: One, that these frogs are gigantic and two they are tongue-lashing people to death and eating them. Wrong on both counts. If I saw this in theatres in 1972 I would seriously ask for my money back just on the principle of false advertising. However, I did enjoy this flick for the so-bad-its-good factor and for seeing not one but a dozen different animals dispatch humans. It’s as if the filmmakers just bought a pet store and wanted to utilize every animal they had. But beware, SAM ELLIOTT COULD NOT GROW IN HIS FACIAL HAIR IF HE WANTED TO. Just consider ourselves fortunate that every role he’s had since this he was allowed to leave on his symbol of strength and manhood. The world just might not be the same if he lost it again.Score: 7 (out of 10)