Cheesy, funny, and above all entertaining, Hell Comes to Frogtown is an eighties post-apocalyptic movie with a soul. The main plot is ludicrous, characters zany and special effects rudimentary. However, all this somehow just works and makes for one hell of viewing, no pun intended. We follow Sam Hell, a naughty adventurer caught by the government and sent on a dangerous mission. And while there have been many similar movies, experimenting with this genre, this one stands out. Mostly because our main character is played by Roddy Piper, who filmed John Carpenter’s masterpiece They Live that same year. His honest approach, robust figure, and flare for the theatrical brought a sense of fun and adventure to the movie. We should also mention Sandahl Bergman as Spangle, who was also great. Just imagine if they cast Pam Grier as Centinella, a plan that didn’t come to fruition sadly.
I simply had to give away some of the plot, something that I really didn’t want to do. Mostly because Hell Comes to Frogtown is best viewed cold, without knowing anything about it. That way, the journey through this strange land is much more entertaining. I want this movie to blow you away as it did me when I first saw it. The atmosphere is vibrant and exciting as we’re following an easily understood and refreshing storyline. There are a lot of hilarious scenes and the script is creative and snappy. I think that the opening scene will be enough to hook you in, as it usually happens with great movies. You will immediately know what kind of movie this is and whether you’re going to like it. And with a runtime of just eighty minutes, this is a short and sweet ride that will leave you wanting more.
Following a brutal nuclear war, Earth has become a desolate wasteland populated by a small number of survivors. The radioactive elements poisoned the air and the water causing all kinds of mutations and posing a constant threat to those still alive. Sam Hell, a tough but fun guy wanders the wasteland living day by day when he’s caught by the last remnants of government. It turns out that he’s the man they’ve been looking for all this time, a man who can help them start a new civilization. However, the road to this bright future hides all kinds of danger. Sam must venture far, to the town of Frogtown to complete his mission. The provisional government sends two of their best agents to help him, Spangle and Centinella. They are deadly, skillful and sexy and with them by his side, Sam has nothing to fear. Or does he?
I think it goes without saying that most of these movies from the eighties are rip-offs of Mad Max. On the other hand, Hell Comes to Frogtown features some unique story elements that you might have seen in the latest part of the franchise, Fury Road. I’ll leave them for you to discover. If you’re a fan of this subgenre of movies, you’ll find this one refreshing and charming. It doesn’t take itself seriously and it has a particular raunchy vibe that it doesn’t deviate from. Some of the themes may not be so current now, but they sure were back in the eighties. It’s also poking fun at gender roles, something that’s always fun.
Despite all the sexual tension and general story, there’s really not that much nudity here. Most of it is pretty tastefully done, so you can watch this movie with pretty much anyone, even the hardcore prunes. Finally, if you’re looking for similar movies check out Cherry 2000, Spacehunter, Escape from New York and Dead End Drive-In.
Directors: Donald G. Jackson, R.J. Kizer
Writers: Donald G. Jackson, Randall Frakes
Cast: Roddy Piper, William Smith, Sandahl Bergman, Cec Verrell, Kristi Somers, Rory Calhoun, Cliff Bemis
Fun Facts: Kristi Somers spent three hours in make-up each day for her role as Arabella, and it took a half hour to remove all of the make-up at the end of the day.
IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093171/