Here we are back in Tennessee Williams’ deep south land on the old plantation. Granddaddy played by Ray Milland with a ‘fright’ grey toupee on, has all the family around to help celebrate both his birthday and independence day. There is so much family around the place that it’s hard to tell just who is related to whom.
The son of the house drives his speedboat too near to a rowing boat on the lake, overturns it and the occupant, who’s a pollution expel taking photos of the district. He is offered a change of clothing and refreshment up at the big house. Then he meets the family and guests which include the dusky lovely Judy Pace (last seen in ‘Omega Man’). She’s come along as guest of the photographer son of the house, and she gets togged up in the very latest in African outfits to go on the lawn to play croquette.
All the while we are meeting the family there are shots of the lawn and nearby swamps and of every reptile you can name running, jumping or merely sitting there poking its tongue out. The first hour passes uneventful and you begin to wonder if the film isn’t merely going to turn out into ‘Son of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’. There’s the alcoholic son, the discontented wife and sure enough honey the dignified coloured servants. Even the two kids begin to resemble the ‘no neck monsters’ from that other movie.
But as the last half hour begins the director decided to liven things up and we are given a fair variety of violent deaths . . . One guy trips, shoots himself in the leg and is covered by fast moving spiders . . . an old gal out catching butterflies is done in by a passing snake . . another son is gassed to death by poisonous fumes let loose by a friendly looking lizard . . . the mother of the kids is bitten by a turtle and drowns . . . an elderly man meets his death by crocodile (shades of Captain Hook in ‘Peter Pan’) . . . the servants flee by boat to a nearby island and from the look of things the vultures attacking them are straight out of Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’.
The title players, THE FROGS, come into their own at finale time taking over the house and causing the death by heart failure of Big Daddy – sorry Ray Milland. If you can bother to sit through the first dreary hour I guarantee those with ghoulish tastes will be more than satisfied.