Published on August 24th, 2015 | by Brando Quiring0
Hell Comes to Frogtown
Look, we all love They Live, but wrestler and actor Rowdy Rodder Piper (Rest in peace) also made the cult film Hell Comes to Frogtown.
The 80s was a tremendous decade. It gave us the best cartoons, the funniest clothes, a larger than life wrestling personalities that would influence a generation, and a view of the future that either had us in flying cars and cities on the moon or crawling around a scorched, nuclear wasteland. The confluence of all these things occurred in January of ’88 with the cult film Hell Comes to Frogtown.
This hidden gem starred the late, great Rowdy Roddy Piper as the semi-titular Sam Hell, a former soldier who wanders the ruined husk that was once the USA in his search for a place where he can be at peace.
The world Sam travels is one that has been destroyed by what is referred to as both a nuclear and a biological war. A war that has left the vast majority of humanity sterile and thusly on their way to extinction. The government has fallen and has been replaced by a group of quasi-military, pro-procreation nurses called MedTec, whose mission it is to round up fertile men and women and see to it that they breed to ensure the survival of the human race.
Piper’s Hell is on Medtec’s radar because in his travels across the wastes he has left a trail of babies, so they want him for their breeding program. There is one catch in their plan however, as the mutant inhabitants of Frogtown have kidnapped the area’s cadre of fertile women and are planning to use them as sex slaves in order to propagate their own, slime covered species. Upon capturing Hell, the leader of the local MedTec nurses Sandahl Bergman’s Spangle harvests enough biological material from him that he becomes mildly expendable when compared to the women, so Sam is sent in to the mutant stronghold to retrieve the women.
Hell is not one to cooperate with what might amount to a suicide mission, however, and is unwilling to cooperate. To deal with the insubordination Spangle attaches a personal sized, electrically charged nuclear chastity belt to him to keep him from running off.
This all sets the stage for what is actually a really great ride through yet another B-movie version of an apocalyptic future where six foot frogs are the enemy. The performances are as campy as one could expect from a low budget, late 80s sci-fi flick that stars a professional wrestler, with nothing stellar but also nothing that causes fits of laughter. Piper’s Hell is especially believable as it is basically the character he played on television for a decade, minus the kilt.
The effects are a different matter. The frog costumes are fairly well done, but Jim Henson’s Ninja Turtles they are not. The image of a mutant frog man telling Hot Rod that he is, “one weird dude,” while subtly shaking his head to make the lips on his latex mask move will always bring a smile to my face. Add to that famous scenes like The Dance of The Three Snakes (which also has some interesting practical effects) or the scene where the frog torturer gets vaporised by an exploding chastity belt, and the movie gets pretty memorable.
In spite of the cheesy performances and the corny effects, Hell Comes to Frogtown is a great adventure through the pessimistic, yet strangely hilarious 80s inspired apocalypse. It has likable characters, a coherent if ridiculous storyline and a premise that is highbrow enough for an apocalyptic, sci-fi epic but is played in this case mostly just as a way to make sexual references and as an excuse to fit Roddy Piper with a samurai sword and an atomic chastity belt.
While They Live might be Roddy’s more famous and quoted work, Hell Comes to Frogtown is a great flick to enjoy a beer with some friends and remember a great name in the world of 80s entertainment.
R.I.P. Rowdy Roddy Piper.