I’m not here to tell anyone that FROGS(1972) is cinema’s unsung masterpiece, but I also don’t get everyone’s dysfunction when it comes to insisting that it’s a wasteful piece of crap either. Its ecological message may be peripheral at best and it equates suspense to animals being thrown at the cast members–both of them clearly just wanting to get the hell away from each other–but a movie that saves its gnarliest and most drawn-out death for the dotty old lady who chases butterflies has to have its heart in the right place. Ray Milland plays one in a series of Nasty Old Bastard roles he did for AIP, here essaying the part of the sour patriarch of southern royalty who insults his family members in between multitudinous tumblers of brandy whose plantation estate is besieged by the local fauna on a July 4th celebration turned decidedly scaly. Sam Elliot, future Malboro Man, is our denim-clad ecologist hero who chops up cottonmouths like he’s on the cover of a men’s magazine. Laying down the beat is Lex Baxter, giving us a bonkers, electric score that bestows even laughing lizards with a slithery sense of menace.

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