In a post-apocalyptic future, where mankind has battled it out using nukes to do their talking, the world is a wasteland, filled with women who are sterile and very few men with any kind of potency. Oh, and there’s mutants, mutants who are like human frogs. Enter Sam Hell (Roddy Piper), a ne’er-do-well who happens to be quite gifted when it comes to sperm count. What’s left of our government has seized him and claimed rights to his genitalia, and now, with a scientist and a badass warrior woman, Sam has to travel to Frogtown, a notorious den of corruption and danger, to free a harem of fertile women for him to later impregnate. That’s right. He’s got to help save them so he can have sex with them, in an effort to save the human race. Because humanity is dying off, and there’s no babies except from a select few who are left alive who still have reproductive skills. In order to free these fertile women, Sam and his companions must outwit and defeat the local Frog overlord and skedaddle back to what remains of civilization. But this won’t be easy, because Sam’s crotch is in a chastity belt designed to keep him from using his, uh, abilities, and it’s set to explode if he’s too far away from the lead scientist in charge of their mission. Oh, and she’s been kidnapped by the Frog overlord. Can Sam help save the day, and his genitals, or will the Frogs rule supreme?
So I first saw this back in the 80s when it was released on VHS, and let me tell you, the hype back then was real. Rowdy Roddy Piper was fresh off the (cult) success of They Live and everyone was pumped to see what he was going to do in this post-apocalyptic thriller. I was disappointed in the movie and didn’t like it very much. I distinctly remember finishing the film and thinking it was a real turd. Has time changed my opinion? Yeah, mostly. I mean, it is a turd, but goddamn it’s a fun turd. It is highly entertaining, with lots of groan-worthy, “witty” banter, plenty of action, some nudity, tons of broad comedy, and there’s even a little social message mixed in there, if you’re paying attention. In the midst of the funny situation Sam finds himself in, we learn that he doesn’t control his own genitalia anymore. They belong to the government now, and are even locked up for their protection. Sam is essentially nothing more than a sex object to most of these women, and while that might seem like some kind of male adolescent fantasy come true, it is in truth quite terrifying. A male gets to finally experience what nearly every female in society has to put up with every day: judged solely by sex appeal. Now I don’t want to pretend this is the thrust of the movie (see what I did there?), because it’s not. Mostly the film is concerned with action, pacing, and good humor. It’s a satire of post-apocalyptic movies and it’s great fun. But that little subtext is there, if you’re looking.
Oh, and one other thing: While this movie was made to satirize Mad Max and their ilk, isn’t it funny that almost thirty years later we get a Mad Max sequel that is essentially the same story as that told in Hell Comes to Frogtown? Think about it: beautiful women, chattel, on the run from a twisted maniac overlord, with only a badass warrior woman to lead them, and a goofy but equally badass male to help out. Hmmm. Also, gotta love that soundtrack, which echoes the original Planet of the Apes, and the frog makeup and masks are terrific. In any case, here we are, and this film is a true classic. Fun, funny, with plenty of beefcake action for those that like that, and plenty of boobs for those that like that. This is a do-not-miss.