Plot: What’s it about?
Jason Crockett (Ray Milland) has a house full of animals and seems to like them, though he hates the ones that roam around his home. Seems kind of strange, eh? Well you see, the ones outside his home are alive, while the ones inside are dead and stuffed, trophies if you will. Crockett is old and bitter to be sure, and he abhors the thought of animals making their way onto his lands. In an effort to stop the local wildlife from doing just that, he sets poison traps all over the place and they seem to work well enough. Of course the animals don’t like this practice, but will they do, stage a hostile takeover? Soon, Crockett invites his family and friends to his rural home and they all have some fun, celebrating his birthday. The folks think everything’s cool, until it begins. The frogs have had enough of Crockett and with the help of the other swamp creatures, they storm the house to gain some revenge. The snapping turtles are mad! The scorpions have had enough! The frogs and toads simply can’t take it anymore! In this epic battle between man and nature, which side will emerge to control the swamps?
When comes to movies where animals go bonkers and attack people, I simply can’t get enough of them. I have a special place in my collection for them, you can find Jaws, Komodo, Lake Placid, Anaconda, and even more of them all together. I am very pleased to add to that section this movie, Frogs and I think it brings a lot to the table in terms of animal attack quality. Of course the idea of frogs attacking people is funny, but when you add in scorpions, spiders, and even snapping turtles, we’re talking classic in the making, folks. The actual attack scenes are pretty cool and besides, who doesn’t want to see Joan Van Ark wrestle with some swamp creatures? The kills have some blood, but I would loved so much more in terms of gore and such. As it stands, this is more fun than sick thrills, but it still offers a lot to fans of this terrific genre. This movie certainly isn’t for everyone (but which ones are?), but little froggies are so cute and you can’t help but love them…until they kill you. MGM has given this movie a new transfer and included the trailer, which stands as enough in my book to make this one an easy call. If you like movies of this ilk, then Frogs is one you can’t afford to miss. Ribbit! Ribbit!
It takes a special brand of director to tackle a film about killer swamp animals, but even more special director to make that unusual concept work. And as Tyler Durden might say, his name was George McCowan. McCowan might not be a name you’re that used to hearing, but he did some terrific work before he passed on 1995. He did some other films projects, but was best known for directing such television shows as Barnaby Jones, Hart To Hart, Starsky & Hutch, Fantasy Island. I’ve seen a few other films by McCowan and I think Frogs is his finest work. I know many of you will scoff at the storyline and pass it by, but this movie offers some cool visuals and atmosphere at times. You might be laughing when it happens, but isn’t having fun a good thing in the end? McCowan’s work may never get the respect it deserves, but I will hold a special place in my collection for the film. Sam Elliot (The Big Lebowski, Road House) appears in this flick and while he doesn’t have highest billing, he gives the best performance. Believe it or not, Frogs was a strong factor in Elliot’s later success. Some other folks turning up (maybe dead) in this picture include Lynn Borden (Savannah Smiles, Hell Hole), Adam Roarke (El Dorado, The Stunt Man), Joan Van Ark (Held For Ransom, Tv’s Knotts Landing), and Ray Milland (Survival Run, Terror In The Wax Museum).
Video: How does it look?
Frogs is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame version included on the disc’s flip side. This is the best we Frogs fans could have dreamed for and as such, smaller flaws will be cast aside for the greater good. Yes, some flecks and grain are present on the source print, but this is minimal and the overall image is fantastic. The colors have a swampy, natural scope and never get mucked up, while flesh tones seem in order also. No contrast problems either, as shadow depth is solid and no detail loss is evident I could discern. Sure this isn’t a perfect transfer, but given the source material, it’s a damn good one!
Audio: How does it sound?
The original mono track is used and sounds good, though never impressive in the end. The animals make some humorous noises and this track replicates them very well, no serious problems at all. The sound effects come across in clear form, but of course don’t have the dynamic range a full surround track could offer. The music fits the material to perfect and also sounds good here, no distortion I could detect. The dialogue, human and amphibian, emerges well and volume and clarity are at acceptable levels. An alternate Spanish track is also found here, as are subtitles in Spanish & French and English captions.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The film’s theatrical has been included, but nothing else in terms of bonus materials.