director George McCowan
“It’s the day that Nature strikes back!” Indeed.
Frogs is a notorious example of a “natural horror film” or environmental revenge horror. The notoriety is for taking a very unscary, unlethal animal and promising true terror, notoriety for hilarious lameness.
Sure, frogs aren’t inherently scary. But the funny thing about Frogs is what it does have going for it. The cast includes the terrific Ray Milland, here older and in a wheelchair, still the best actor on the screen. It features a young and hunky Sam Elliott, and solid B-list actresses Joan Van Ark and Judy Pace. The parts of the film that work are the parts that are usually missing from horror films, the rather solid establishing of the rich Southern family on their plantation-like island home. Where the film fails is in its death scenes and overall general concept.
The frogs aren’t even really the main monsters. There is death by lizard, by snake, by alligator, by snapping turtle, even by Spanish moss. Why frogs get top billing? Are they the commanders in chief of nature?
A memory was triggered about another horror film with a frog in its center, 1953’s The Maze, which I caught several times as a child, with recurring disappointment. Somehow, still, I have to think that the monster in The Maze was a little more satisfying than the critters in Frogs. But it’s also interesting that despite failing at the part of a horror film that usually redeems a bad horror film, Frogs has a few qualities lifting from abject lameness.