The Frogs was another low point in the career of Ray Milland, along with The Thing With Two Heads. Pollution was to cheap monster movies of the 70s what atomic radiation was to cheap monster movies of the 50s. In other words it was the catch-all explanation for anything and everything.
In this movie’s case pollution, which Ray Milland’s corporations are heavily guilty of, is to blame for wild animals (NOT just frogs, despite the movie’s title) going berserk and viciously attacking human beings.
Milland plays Jason Crockett, whose palatial southern mansion is the film’s location, where various butt-kissing family members of the old codger have come to jointly celebrate the 4th of July AND the patriarch’s birthday.
Sam Elliott plays freelance photographer Pickett Smith, who is doing a photo feature of the wilderness areas threatened by Crockett’s polluting industries. He’s caught trespassing on Crockett’s own estate but the old man invites him to stay for the festivities anyway, since he finds Elliott’s open insolence a refreshing change from the sycophantic behavior of his brow-beaten family members.
Adam Roarke, a mainstay of B-movies in the 60s and 70s, plays Milland’s spineless, womanizing son Clint Crockett.
Joan Van Ark, later star of television’s Knot’s Landing, portrays Milland’s daughter Karen Crockett, who becomes Sam Elliott’s love interest.
Lesser stars play various ill-treated wives of the Crockett men, black servants of the crusty old coot and Milland’s other son, who tries to shock the old man by bringing his black girlfriend (Judy Pace) to the family get-together.
Frogs plays like a Tennessee Williams play getting invaded by a typical Nature Goes Berserk movie. In between the drinking, scheming, philandering and the hate-filled insults the cast starts to get thinned out through deadly attacks by various animals on Milland’s estate.
Through it all an increasing number of frogs besiege the mansion, their croaking acting like a rallying cry for the rest of the rebellious animal kingdom, or … something. The death scenes are all hilarious as generally harmless animals appear to be killing the cast members in a series of awkwardly put-together scenes.
Unfortunately for the most part Frogs is talky and slow-moving and NO- there is NOT any appearance by a frog large enough to swallow a man whole, despite all the dishonest advertising and movie posters.
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