Considering Rowdy Roddy Piper would go on to make They Live only a year after the release of Hell Comes to Frogtown, I had high hopes for what he could provide with a performance in a post-apocalyptic world. It seems like the right theme for him to slip into, and if any actor were to prosper in the apocalypse environment, it’d be the man that wrestled Mr. T at Wrestlemania. His acting credits are few and far between, so you’re more or less left in the dark when you enter a film that stars Piper, and given that my only other experience is a John Carpenter directed masterpiece, it’s key to point out that my hopes were high.
Maybe I should’ve lowered my expectations by a significant level, because while Hell Comes to Frogtown is a funny film, it comes into the category of eventual self-deprecation. Films that, at the time, probably weren’t as funny as we find them now. There are a number of factors and reasons for it being so funny, and the prime reason is that Roddy Piper is just having a hell of a good time hamming it up. Chewing his way through the scenery on a level that makes Bruce Campbell look like a serious actor, it’s up to Roddy Piper to save the world from the terrors of whatever it is going on in Hell Comes to Frogtown.
Roddy Piper’s cock is forcefully manned as a government weapon as he shoots, kicks and one-liners his way through the streets of a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by frogs, freaks and firepower. It’s the gaudy action movie the late 80s had to offer, but without the substance of frequently enjoyable one-liners or coherent storytelling. It feels a bit all over the place, and for better or worse, that’s the appeal of Hell Comes to Frogtown. The changes in pace and a great handful of the scenes have that certain twinkle in their eye, where under all the seriousness, the cast and crew know they’re making a film to be mocked. Or at least, I hope that’s what happened here.
I’m all for films that don’t take themselves seriously whatsoever. There’s a whole sub-genre to be explored of these sorts of films, Hell Comes to Frogtown being a cult piece of entertainment that doesn’t get enough love for it to be considered one of the all-time classics of the genre. It’s certainly not worth loving that much either, because aside from a handful of scenes throughout, there isn’t really all that much replay value to it. It borders on enjoyable so few times that it does disappoint me that Hell Comes to Frogtown isn’t more of a worthwhile experience. It’s a late-night movie, I’d struggle to knock this one more considering it knows what type of product it is. I don’t often offer out free passes on bad movies, but I think Hell Comes to Frogtown earns it in an odd way.