Welcome to the JOE-DOWN, a back-and-forth movie review blog by two snarky newspapermen named Joe from Minnesota, Joe Froemming and Joe Brown. We will take turns selecting a movie — any movie we want — and review it here. For this installment, Brown picked “Hell Comes to Frogtown.”
The Movie: “Hell Comes to Frogtown”
Starring: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Sandahl Bergman, Cec Verrell
Director: Maximo T. Bird (real name: Donald G. Jackson)
Plot Summary: (From Rotten Tomatoes) After a nuclear war, the survivors are divided between horribly mutated beings who live on desolate reservations and fertile women who are searching for scarce virile men in order to multiply and start a new human society.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 50 percent
Brown: Last week, we had more of a thinking man’s movie with “Blue Velvet.” So I figured here on the JOE-DOWN, we needed a movie that catered to me and Froemming’s lizard brain.
Or, in this case, frog brain.
I give you “Hell Comes to Frogtown.” A much different movie than last week’s David Lynch joint. Instead of having a psychotic sex-crazed lunatic as a villain, we now have a psychotic sex-crazed lunatic as our hero!
Also, anthropomorphic frogs, because this cult movie is (REDACTED) insane. Of course, what can one expect from a movie directed by Maximo T. Bird, who is partying somewhere up in heaven with Ed Wood.
I’m a well-documented wrestling fan, so I knew this was on “Rowdy” Roddy Piper’s resume and the dude was great in “They Live.”
Here? Well, there’s only so much you can do when paired with frogs who sound like a dead ringer for Olmec from Nickelodeon’s “The Legends of the Hidden Temple.”
Froemming, let’s get your thoughts before we perform the Dance of the Three Snakes.
Froemming: What in the Sam Hell did you make me watch?
Froemming: This movie answers a hypothetical question nobody ever asked: What would it look like if you made “Fury Road” before it existed, but instead of a blood-pumping feminist masterpiece, it was more like Mad Max in a softcore porno with humanoid frogs that look somehow stranger than the animatronic house band at Chuck E. Cheese and was written by red-pill folks?
Answer: “Hell Comes to Frogtown.”
This is a very odd movie, and I told you that it was somehow more confusing to me than “Blue Velvet” was. Frank Booth I get, Commander Toty? Not so much.
As I strap an explosive to my crotch for the government, why don’t you kick this off?
Brown: Quick question before we start: Where does this rank for you as far as the weirdest movies we’ve reviewed here on the JOE-DOWN?
Froemming: Oh it is up there. But frankly nothing will be weirder than “The Room.” You?
Brown: Yeah, this is “Birdemic” territory for me.
Anyways, we join a post-apocalyptic world where parts of the globe are nuclear wastelands instead of the entire globe being that way due to mutually-assured destruction that made the Cold War so problematic.
After a cold open where a man who looks like a beekeeper shoots a scavenger and ribbits, we are brought into an interrogation. Here, a cop named Captain Devlin is assaulting Sam Hell (Piper) for allegedly raping his daughter. He goes so far as to nail Sam in the head with a bottle, not unlike how Roddy Piper smashed Jimmy Snuka’s head in with a coconut.
But as things are getting violent, a nurse comes in saying the daughter dropped the charges because she got pregnant from Sam.
So just to bring you, dear reader, up to speed: Our protagonist is a rapist. And the government needs his help because, in the nurse’s words, he’s carrying a loaded weapon. That weapon is his penis and testicles.
And this is nowhere near the most offensive part.
Froemming: I never thought we’d watch a more sexist movie than “The Wicker Man,” but here we are.
See, after the world went to war with nukes and somehow didn’t destroy the planet, 68 percent of the male population died, which is a nightmare I imagine that keeps the MAGA folks up at night, polishing their tiki torches. So Sam, having raped his way across this country of ours, has impregnated his victims along the way.
Brown: Sam Hell is the worst Johnny Appleseed ever.
So the government has Sam sign a contract absolving him of his crimes in exchange for his — ah, um, — yeah, his ability to get women pregnant.
I am tripping over my own words here in order to remain employed, folks.
Also, in a post-apocalyptic world, why the (REDACTED) does the government think a signed contract means anything. Did Immortan Joe have Max sign a contract saying he can take his blood and give it to the weird Powder-looking people?
Brown: From this point on, anytime I agree to the terms on my iTunes account or something with my PlayStation, I’ll imagine Apple or Sony coming over and putting an explosive codpiece on me.
Basically, because Sam is the most fertile man they’ve ever encountered, this company, Med Tech, makes it so it’s Sam’s patriotic duty to have sex with women for procreative purposes. The government owns Sam’s reproductive organs. First the government turns the friggin’ frogs gay, now they’re making us mate for them? WAKE UP, SHEEPLE!
Final point about this lab scene: This movie came out in the late ‘80s. The height of AIDS. And there’s posters everywhere saying “NO CONDOMS.”
… Bad message there, movie.
So having Sam in this deadly codpiece that will explode if he ventures too far from our leading lady, Spangle, and being protected by Centinella, they head off into the desert, where Sam learns they are on a mission to free a harem of women from the clutches of a violent dictator of a wasteland city.
This sounds oddly familiar…
Brown: You’re right, Froemming. This movie is “Fury Road” with a Velcro shoe budget.
I like that in a post-apocalyptic world where our merry band of heroes are off to liberate a harem of fertile women from Frogtown, they deem it fit to drive to the place in a bright pink ‘50s-style car with a turret on the roof.
I do want to mention that Centinella is a badass and I wish she had more screen time. Also, a mechanical hand and a giant rig. That would have been an intriguing, original character, right Froemming?
Froemming: Look, this movie is obviously a ripoff of the original “Mad Max” films, but came out decades before “Fury Road.” Who stole from who?
Brown: Yeah, “Fury Road” kind of stole from this. BUT, “Hell Comes to Frogtown” didn’t have THE (REDACTED) DOOF WARRIOR!
Froemming: The Doof Warrior is the best thing ever.
So they head on out and reach a border, which is run by the guard we saw earlier who rightly wanted to kill Sam for raping his daughter. But Centinella works her magic with the giant gun and they make their way past.
Brown: Question: What border are they protecting? There’s wasteland on all sides of this border crossing and yet, they have to drive through the checkpoint in order to go to Frogtown?
It’s like this wasteland needs a wall. A great wall. And Frogtown will pay for it!
Froemming: Frogtown isn’t sending their best. They’re rapist. They bring drugs. And some, I assume, are good people.
And on the first night camping out, we find that even our hardened women heroes are no match for the charms of Sam Hell, who looks like a wisecracking mushroom that’s come to life, and they both throw themselves at him.
This truly is a dark time in their world.
Brown: Did they ever establish if Spangle is fertile? She’s supposedly a master in the art of seduction and she wears what I can only describe as military-issued lingerie to try and bed (or sleeping bag in this case) Sam. Turns out, she tries to arouse Sam only to give him a shock with her codpiece-controlling earrings.
Froemming: She is infertile. We learn this at the end of the movie when she wants to have a sex-romp vacation with Sam after he knocks up the harem of women.
(REDACTED) this movie is baffling and wrong on all levels.
Brown: Don’t knock Sam for being America’s greatest patriot since the guys who got bin Laden.
Later in the scene, we see Centinella try to hook up with Sam and she admits she’s not fertile, but she’s lonely. You do you, girl.
Here’s my question: If Sam’s sperm is so valuable, why are they bringing him along for a life-and-death mission to save these women? Why not have Centinella lead a band of soldiers or wasteland wanderers to do this? He’s more valuable than gold thanks to his… ahem, loaded weapon (movie’s words, not mine).
Froemming: Why does Sam, in the future, keep a bucket of chestnuts in his car and call Mac from “It’s Always Sunny” the N-word? Some questions just can’t be answered, my friend.
Brown: OK, focus. Now for what I think is the most (REDACTED)-up part of the movie.
On the way to Frogtown, our trio come across a lone woman walking the wasteland. They eventually catch up to her and knock her out.
And it turns out, she’s fertile, so Spangle says it’s time for Sam to do his government-issued duties.
… Which are having sex with a drugged woman who cannot give consent. HOLY (REDACTED), MOVIE!
… The hero of our movie is Brock Turner. I’m not trying to be funny (rape isn’t funny). This is legit what was on the screen.
And the woman thanks Sam and Spangle afterwards. This is the most anti-feminist movie ever made.
Froemming: Oh yeah, this movie went full-Cosby here. I can laugh at the stupidity of the sexist BS from “The Wicker Man.” It’s over the top. And I am laughing at the morons who made that film.
But I will not laugh at rape. And that’s what this was. Spangle drugs the woman, and Sam assaults her.
I was very, very creeped out by this. And having Spangle encourage this made me vomit a little.
Brown: Ugg, let’s move on.
So after… that, we get to the outskirts of Frogtown where they formulate a plan. Centinella will be waiting for a flare from Sam and Spangle to attack Frogtown with the car’s turret while Sam and Spangle infiltrate Frogtown. The way they do this is to disguise Spangle essentially as slave Leia. I’d also like to mention that apparently Spangle has restraints in the trunk of her car like she’s Dennis Reynolds. They’re her TOOLS.
And they arrive at Frogtown, which I laughed at when the sign had “If you lived here, you’d already be home” on it.
Froemming: Frogtown looked eerily like those big factory farms in southwest Minnesota and I had flashbacks of when I worked down there. Now I assume those places are run by frog-people.
And like any sane person in the middle of nowhere, Sam and slave-Leia head to the local watering hole, where we see a frog stripper and I don’t know what made me more uncomfortable: This or the naked duck woman in a Playboy magazine in “Howard the Duck.”
Brown: When are we reviewing “Howard the Duck?”
Here in this club, Sam meets a frog-man named Leroy who gives some exposition about how the frogs came to live here. All the while, I was hoping he would tell me where the Shrine of the Silver Monkey was. He is a dead ringer for Olmec. I know “How Did This Get Made” referenced that in their podcast but it’s damn true.
Also, an old friend of Sam’s, Looney Tunes, is post up at the bar. He’s kind of inconsequential.
While this chat continues, in comes Bull, the second-in-command of Commander Tody, who rules Frogtown with an iron fist.
Froemming: Or iron frog feet?
Brown: Trying to get Bull away, Sam says that they’re bartering over Spangle.
Which, again, Leroy’s told to SHUT HIS HOLE. I will never tire of this scene.
So, Spangle is taken away by Bull to join Tody’s harem.
Froemming: Add sex trafficking to the list of things disturbing about this film. But hey, Sam has a smile on his face the whole time.
That’s make it worse somehow.
Bull knocks Sam out, and he awakens in the frog-stripper’s room, where she wants to sleep with this legendary rapist.
Add beastiality to the mix now. *sigh*
When can we watch “They Live” so I can like Piper again?
Brown: Ready to have your mind blown?
In the trivia section of IMDB, apparently New World, the film’s distributor, pushed for the part of Sam Hell to be played by Daniel Stern. Only, Stern wanted to change parts of the character, so he was shot down.
Imagine one of the Wet Bandits being legendary for impregnating women.
Froemming: Imagine him narrating the movie like “The Wonder Years.”
So Sam is about to sleep with this frog-lady with a bag on her head, which I feel is pretty damn insulting to that woman, when his codpiece goes off warning that his dork is about to explode.
Brown: Telling a woman to put a bag on her head for sex is unfortunately like the seventh most offensive thing in this movie.
Froemming: Well, Sam has to get near Spangle and the frog-lady helps him out, only to fall into wires or something and he takes off on his own.
It’s like the director wasn’t even trying at this point to make any sense of this film. Again, more baffling than any David Lynch movie I have seen.
Brown: Keep in mind that you’re asking for cohesiveness in a movie directed by a man who goes by the alias Maximo T. Bird.
Froemming: That man did ALL the cocaine.
Brown: Oh yeah, he is the real-life Sam Sylvia from Netflix’s “GLOW.”
Back to Spangle, who is going through this LSD trip of a ritual with this harem of women, who turn out to be passives. They play the parachute game everyone does in kindergarten gym class with some scarves that brings Spangle to the edge of orgasm somehow. This is to get her in the right frame of mind for the Dance of the Three Snakes, a ritual that Tody makes women perform for his pleasure. If a woman fails, she is killed.
Froemming: If they succeed, they will wish they were dead. Because it is (REDACTED) disgusting.
Brown: Yeah, go ahead and guess what the three snakes are, dear reader. Your worst idea is the correct one. I also imagine the Dance of the Three Snakes is what Trump made his wives do.
Both Sam — who escapes a torture session with Bull but not after Bull cuts off the explosive codpiece — and Spangle escape their respective peril and signal Centinella.
Froemming, did you notice that Tody wears a Mercedes Benz hood ornament around his neck like he’s a reptilian Beastie Boy?
Froemming: I was laughing too hard when Spangle kicked him in his three snakes to notice.
Our heroes are on the run, and Bull catches up with them. And because Piper was in this, I assumed these fight scenes would have some old-fashioned wrassling in them. They don’t and I was very upset about that. Also, Sam gets hit in the face a lot in this, causing him to bleed in one scene. The next? Face is clean. He must be Wolverine or something.
Brown: He also gets knocked out at one point of this movie by a hit to the gut. Unless you’re Houdini, I don’t think a gut punch will knock you out instantly like a bonk to the head.
Froemming: Maybe he had a big lunch and the punch caused him to poop himself and that knocked him out?
Brown: And, during the escape, Sam gets a sword. Wha… how? When did we ever come across a sword?!
Froemming: Forget Wolverine, this man is the Highlander!
Brown: So we get the lamest Mad Max chase scene with Tody and co. chasing the bright pink car full of women and Sam.
Froemming: It’s like the chase from “Fury Road” recreated by a 10-year-old with random action figures! Not very thrilling at all.
Brown: Eventually the chase is halted by a shady character called Count Sodom, who was selling uranium to Tody. And it turns out that Sodom is actually *in my best Velma voice* Captain Devlin! Tody and co. have been disposed of (by rocket launcher, I think? I don’t remember), but Devlin wants the Med Tech crew killed because he’s sick of women ruling the world.
Folks, this is the InfoWars of movies. Meninists are more subtle than this.
Froemming: He’s Making Frogtown Great Again!
Sam fights off this guy, tracks him and kills him. He then steals the rocket launcher and heads off to finish off Tody.
Here it is, folks:
Brown: If there’s one thing we’ve come to learn about “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, he chews bubblegum and kicks ass.
With all the threats eliminated, Sam is finally able to perform his government-issued duties of giving these ladies the sex, something that he legit seems intimidated by.
And, in a plot point that is only briefly mentioned and very baffling, apparently Sam had a family before the war and kept a necklace that used to be his daughter’s. Then at the end of the movie he gives this necklace to Centinella for reasons?
Froemming: Well, if “Arrested Development” taught me anything…
Brown: There’s still so much I wish we could discuss about this movie but we’ve reached the end. Let’s hop in our pink car and go to recommendations.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
Brown: I’m very torn about this. There is a lot I enjoyed about this movie and I can see why it’s a B-movie classic. But time is not kind to this one. I’d ultimately say watch it, just know that you’re going to get offended by the movie’s terrible, terrible morals.
Froemming: Oooof. I would have to say no. There are moments I enjoyed, buy the sexism and all really turned me away from liking it.