Follow TV Tropes


Film / Frogs

Go To

"Cold green skin against soft warm flesh... a croak... a scream."

Frogs is a 1972 eco-horror film directed by George McCowan, starring Sam Elliott and Ray Milland.

Fed up with their home being polluted, frogs and other animals start attacking humans around the Southern island plantation of an old rich man celebrating his birthday.

Nature strikes back with these examples:

  • Artistic License – Biology: The lizards that knock over chemicals in the greenhouse and kill a man with poison gas should have been killed by the toxin themselves.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Jason is a selfish guy who's largely responsible for pushing the animals over the edge and doesn't even care about his relatives dying. He does have a couple Sour Outside, Sad Inside hints though, or Pet the Dog moments with Pickett.
    • Clint is a somewhat boorish drunk boater who's somewhat mean to his wife, bullies his cousins a bit during the festival games, and openly admits he only bothered coming to the party to stay in Jason's will.
    • Stuart sounds a bit classist while talking about Grover in one scene, and goads his sons to fight Clint in one of the contests (standing on a log while whacking each other with sacks) when they don't want to.
    • Grover is implied to have been somewhat shiftless by the other characters and is shown to have killed all kinds of animals with his pesticide spraying.
    • Downplayed or subverted with Iris and Michael. Michael is rude to the kids, throws a frog across the yard at one point, and pauses driving to randomly shoot at birds once. However, he's also gracious and thankful to Maybelle when she brings him a glass of water for his drive, is willing to leave the party to inspect the downed phone lines without complaint, and bothers to drive around a pair of lizards on the road instead of running them over. Iris is portrayed as a bit spoiled, and irritated that new environmental regulations the Crockett's business has to adopt will cost them money, but she's also nice to Smith, shows concern for Grover, and dies in a pretty frightening, humiliating, and drawn-out way.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Jenny and Clint argue in a lot of their scenes and he grabs her arm in an argument.
  • Child Hater: Michael insults Jay and Tina twice with little provocation.
  • Children Are Innocent: Clint and Jenny's kids Jay and Tina enjoy playing outside and don't really come across as bratty. They later shown concern for their parents and bother to say goodbye to Jason at the end.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Implied with Karen and Clint, whose parents aren't seen or mentioned.
  • Covers Always Lie: The toads are not giant-sized nor eat human flesh, and they just want the pond, thank you very much. For that matter, they're about the only wildlife that doesn't kill anyone. Oh, and toads are not frogs.
  • Does Not Like Guns: Jenny says this almost verbatim.
  • Drunk Driver: Clint, although he's more of a drunk boater.
  • The Dutiful Son: Crockett's grandson Michael is the member of the family who seems to spend the most time around him and carries out several of his requests.
  • Evil Cripple: Old man Crockett has been in a wheelchair for fifteen years since an accident and cares more about keeping his birthday festivities on schedule than about the growing body count or whether his own grandchildren are in danger.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Of the "mess with nature, and nature messes with you" variety.
  • Going in Circles: Iris staggers off the path to avoid a rattlesnake, stumbles around in the brush for a while, falls in a pond full of leeches, and eventually finds her way back to the same path ... and the same rattlesnake, still coiled up by the butterfly net she'd dropped earlier.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: Most of the deaths occur during the 4th of July, which is also old man Crockett's birthday.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Michael becomes prey to the swamplife after he accidentally shoots himself in the leg while tripping.
  • Intimate Open Shirt: Michael's brother Kenneth is introduced talking to his girlfriend Bella while having the top few buttons of his shirt undone.
  • It Can Think: Possibly; the frogs retreat when Sam Elliott is about to exterminate a crowd of them, before he can actually do anything. A tegu bites through a boat's tether, allowing water moccasins to swarm the man who swims out to retrieve the drifting vessel. Snakes and baby alligators seem to herd Iris back towards the rattlesnake she'd previously evaded. In-Verse, Crockett openly mocks this possibility.
  • The Jeeves: Charles the butler is constantly calm, efficient, and polite even when talking about how he wants to leave.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The film is set in Florida (or at least shot there), but the lizards are represented by black and white tegus (from South America) and tokay geckos (from Asia), and the spiders are Aphonopelma chalcodes, a tarantula native to Arizona and Mexico. The titular "frogs" are actually cane toads, native to Central and South America, but those are excusable as cane toads are an invasive exotic species in Florida.
    • Ironically, tokay geckos and tegus are both found in the wilds of Florida now, but hadn't yet become established from escaped pet stock when the film was made.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: While looking for his wife Iris, Stuart is ambushed by alligators and is killed.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Most of the Crockett-Martindale family are fairly nice to Charles and Maybelle the servants (save for Jason, when they want to leave), and Karen and Iris also express concern for Grover when he doesn't come back.
  • Noisy Nature: Justified with the frogs' constant chirping. Played with when old man Crockett starts hallucinating that his trophy room's preserved animal heads are vocalizing like living animals.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Jenny feels that her grandfather-in-law Jason hates her. Jason's son-in-law Stuart is also ordered down to the dock by him to check on how Smith is with Clint and Jenny even after pointing out that they'd be up there to tell Jason themselves within a couple minutes.
  • Opt Out/Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Three characters decide to leave Crockett mansion as the bodies start piling up.
  • Posthumous Character: Grover, an employee of Jason who is mentioned a few times early on but found killed by snake, having likely been dead for a few hours.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Played up heavily with lizards, snakes, alligators of various sizes, and a huge alligator snapping turtle.
  • Sacred Hospitality: For the most part, the family is surprisingly polite and cordial to Smith during his stay at the island. Even in the midst of his worst self-centered meltdown and argument with his remaining family, Jason pauses to thank Smith for asking if he'll be alright on his own. Smith for his part is somewhat respectful of them as well despite some distaste for the pollution around the island.
  • Shirtless Scene: Provided by Sam Elliott. His shirtlessness in this movie would later get him a starring role in the film Lifeguard.
  • Significant Birth Date: Jason was born on the fourth of July and mentions that Michael, Karen and Stuart also have birthdays within the same two weeks.
  • Species Title: Antagonist Title, but most of the killing is done by other critters, such as alligators, snakes, spiders, and lizards. The frogs (actually cane toad stand-ins) are only depicted as killing Old Man Crockett, though we never see how they accomplish this on-screen.
  • Spiders Are Scary: As Michael writhes helplessly on the ground, tarantulas starts falling from trees, which then proceed to cocoon him in web and moss, presumably killing him.
  • Sports Hero Backstory: Clint, who was a football player in High School and college, where he dated a cheerleader (his future wife Jenny), and proudly keeps his old trophies and jerseys. Unusually for the trope, he hasn't let himself go (aside from becoming a bit of a drunk) and boasts that he hasn't put on a pound since those days.
  • The Stinger: After the credits, an animated frog hops out with a human hand hanging out of its mouth, only to swallow it with a cartoony gulp and hop away.
  • Terrifying Pet Store Rat: One of the reptiles shown during the opening credits (presented with suitably-ominous music) is a seriously-misplaced tokay gecko.
    • Nearly the entire onslaught of animals is this trope, ranging from corn snakes to tegus to anoles to arizona blond tarantulas. The only notable exceptions being the alligator and water moccasin. And maybe the cane toads.
  • Today, X. Tomorrow, the World!: The tagline used on some of the posters.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The fate of Bella and the servants is left ambiguous, as they're last seen being harassed by birds but not actually dying. (Their scattered luggage is found by the second fleeing group, but it's unclear if the trio got fatally ambushed or just dropped their bags to run to safety faster.) Also, Crockett's Irish setter Colonel is last seen slinking away as the toads invade the old man's house.