Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Hell Comes to Frogtown”

Dear Frank,

So I should have written this post sometime during 2011, as it was heavily requested during the last round of open calls for what I should tell you about. It didn’t happen. You know why, Frank? I really didn’t want to watch this movie! But I got called out, and god forbid I quaver at the feet of any challenge. Even the challenge of a 1987 post-apocalyptic pseudo-comedy starring Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Thus, here’s this movie! The backstory: Apocalypse, of the nuclear kind. And there are dudes who make frog noises and they’re not allowed to have guns? I’m guessing they’re the titular frogs? I am mentally preparing myself for a great deal of literalness. Because, lest you think the title was some sort of fancypants metaphor thing, we establish right away that Rowdy Roddy Piper’s character is named Sam Hell. I bet at some point, he comes to Frogtown!

But first, he’s in jail, getting a bottle broken over his head for some sort of grievious offense against a dude’s daughter — I’m guessing it’s a SEXY offense? Oh, it totally is, because it’s just been revealed that the guy’s daughter is pregnant, which is a miracle in these barren apocalypse-y days, and is thus very interesting to the ladies of Med-Tech, some sort of government organization devoted to making more babies, because doing it naturally isn’t working out so well. This is delivered with all the subtlety and wit that you’d expect from a movie about giant mutated frog people, just so we’re clear.

Propaganda posters! World-building!

Because Roddy is some sort of super-sperm stud, Med-Tech claims him as government property (to the point where they put a crazy chastity-type belt on his junk), and asks him to go on a mission of impregnation — impregnation and also investigating some sort of kidnapping out near Frogtown. (I TOLD YOU FRANK! I TOLD YOU THIS MOVIE WAS ABOUT A GUY NAMED HELL GOING TO FROGTOWN!)

Roddy pitches a bit of a fit about riding around in the bright pink Med-Tech PT Cruiser, but reluctantly gets in with the main Med-Tech lady, a blonde chick in glasses known as Spangle, as well as a Tasha Yar-esque machine gun lady.

Frank, here is some banter from their road trip!

Spangle: “There’s a war going on.”
Hell: “Yeah? Where’s the front?”
Spangle: “Don’t you take anything seriously?”
Hell: “I used to take everything seriously. Then they blew it up.”

I like the part where all the Med-Tech ladies are tough, badass and gun-toting. I don’t like the part where none of them can act, but eh, what can you do?

Oh, now I get what the mission is, by the way! They’re rescuing fertile women from the mutants of Frogtown and then Roddy has to knock them all up. GOOD MISSION. For some reason, though, Roddy’s not into it and tries to make his getaway, forgetting that he’s got a government-issue tracking device on his junk, which gets activated and I guess tases him or something? Who knows. The important thing is, Spangle has power over his junk. Oh, good.

Now they’ve made camp, and Spangle just strolled out of her tent wearing this:

And I just did this:

Roddy, not being one to ignore an obvous hint, pulls her down for makeouts, but she freaks and activates the penis-belt. Apparently to maximize potency she has to constantly cocktease him. It’s her job. Man, it’s a shame this movie wasn’t made in the 30s; Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn could have totally rocked these roles.

And now the machine gun lady is seducing him! Oh, Spangle catches them and aborts their fun. Cocktease: The Movie!

There’s more driving the next day, and Frank, I know you’re thinking to yourself, it’s been at least two minutes since a nubile young lady wanted to fuck Roddy Piper — but don’t worry, this movie is looking out for you! On their way to Frogtown they get “a live one” — a fertile girl! Who the scientist lady ties up and injects with an aphrodisiac so that she’s ready to party. (LET’S JUST LEAVE THAT ALONE LET’S NOT EVEN THINK TOO HARD ABOUT THIS FRANK FRANK I REALLY DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT OH MAN LET’S JUST LEAVE IT ALONE.)

Oh, but Roddy Piper’s not in the mood to fuck the drugged captive on command! So then scientist lady, “trained in the art of seduction,” takes off her clothes to inspire him. Which works — he then bangs the girl, who’s totally okay with that the next morning. Of course.

If you don’t think about the GIANT ENORMOUS CONSENT ISSUES HOLY SHIT FRANK LET’S SERIOUSLY NOT TALK ABOUT IT, it’s kind of a nice scene between Spangle and Hell, but it’s immediately counteracted by the next scene, where they prepare to break into Frogtown by pretending that Spangle is Roddy’s slave, and he puts a collar on her and yanks her around a whole bunch, but look, let me focus on what I need to to get through this–


Before they enter Frogtown, Roddy throws away her glasses and takes her hair down and tells her she looks nice. MOTHERFUCKER.

Because allow me to make this quick note about Rowdy Roddy Piper: He is not objectively good-looking. His body is kinda flabby. His hair is the worst. He is in every way nothing I find attractive. And yet — he is actually really charming on screen! When he isn’t, you know, raping women. It’s really confusing, Frank! Really, really confusing.

Anyway, to complete the cycle of literalness — we’re in Frogtown now! It is a town full of people who are frog-mutants — AKA “greeners.” At the Frogtown bar, Roddy meets an old prospector friend who’s looking for uranium or something. I dunno. The point of this scene is the frog lady stripper doing sexy dancing; I’m really not sure what else we’re supposed to be learn.

The part of me that likes the Muppets is kind of on board with the talking frogs. Just for the record. It almost distracts me from the part of the scene where Roddy Piper tries to sell Spangle for monies!

Oh no! Before he can seal the deal, this frog guy with an eyepatch steals her! And Roddy got knocked out! DRAMA. First, though, that frog stripper lady from before tries to fuck Sam Hell. It’s kind of sad, actually, because he just shoves her off without even giving her a chance. SHE SEEMS REALLY NICE, RODDY, THROW HER A BONE!

Well, now Spangle is being prepared for frog-raping! Frog-raping starts off pretty Sapphic, just for the record.

Okay, it's just a lot of waving veils, but whatever.

Oh, now the scientist lady is being forced to dance for the main frog boss guy. More dialogue:

“Dance for me!”
“The only dance I’m going to do is dance on your grave!”
“Dance for me, or die!”
“Modern or ballet?”

This scene is kinda funny! Frank, I seriously don't understand this movie.

She’s actually terrible at dancing, but the frog king guy’s into it — not that it matters, with Roddy saving her. Hooray! Spangle doesn’t get raped by a frog, Frank. That’s what this movie has going for it. REMEMBER HOW THEY HUNTED DOWN A FERTILE WOMAN AND TIED HER UP AND THEN MADE RODDY FUCK HER WITH THE USE OF DRUGS? Apparently, I still do. Sigh.

Anyhoo, Spangle and Roddy free the fertile women from the frog king guy’s harem, though the prospecter gets killed in the process, the machine gun lady lays down some cover fire, and the pink PT Cruiser filled with gals ready for knocking-up escapes.

And now there’s a Mad Max-esque gunfight. (It is not particularly exciting. None of the action has been particularly exciting.) The PT Cruiser gets bombed! How sad. And Roddy has a big fight with the main frog guy on Vasquez Rock, I think? What matters is that he wins the fight. Everything’s fine. In case that wasn’t clear.

“I told you the plan would work!” says Spangle.

“Plan? That was a plot to murder me! I ought to kick your butt,” Roddy replies.

“Oh, just try it, buster!”

And they kiss. Because, you know, that’s how it works, when you put a bomb on a guy’s junk and then cock-tease him for a while and then he drags you around by a collar around your neck and nearly lets you get raped by a frog dude.

More banter:

“You have to save yourself for fertiles!”

“I have enough.”

“Oh no you don’t.”

And then he gives the machine gun lady a necklace for some reason. And then he’s reminded of his mission to impregnate all the newly rescued harem girls. “A soldier’s work is never done,” he says, then drives their new ride (a camoflague jeep) out into the desert. AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

On the one hand, this wasn’t as bad as Zardoz. It was even, at times, perversely charming, in a Troma Studios kind of way.

On the other hand, not being as bad as Zardoz — not saying much.


About Liz Shannon Miller

Liz Shannon Miller is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor, and has been talking about television on the Internet since the very beginnings of the Internet. She is currently Senior TV Editor at Collider, and her work has also been published by the New York Times, Vulture, Variety, the AV Club, the Hollywood Reporter, IGN, The Verge, and Thought Catalog. She is also a produced playwright, a host of podcasts, and a repository of "X-Files" trivia.

Posted on January 10, 2012, in All the Spoilers, Movies and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. “And yet — he is actually really charming on screen!”

    No one can resist the Hot Rod.

  2. The only thing I want to know: what was Worf reacting to?? I’m deadly curious.

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