Frogs (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byGeorge McCowan
Written byRobert Hutchison (story and screenplay)
Robert Blees (screenplay)
Produced byGeorge Edwards
Peter Thomas
StarringRay Milland
Sam Elliott
Joan Van Ark
Adam Roarke
Judy Pace
Lynn Borden
Mae Mercer
David Gilliam
CinematographyMario Tosi
Edited byFred R. Feitshans Jr.
Music byLes Baxter
Distributed byAmerican International Pictures
Release date
  • March 10, 1972 (1972-03-10) (U.S.)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States

Frogs is a 1972 American horror film directed by George McCowan.[1] The film falls into the "eco-horror" category, telling the story of an upper-class U.S. Southern family who are victimized by several different animal species, including snakes, birds, lizards, and butterflies. Nature, the movie suggests, may be justified in exacting revenge on this family because of its patriarch's abuse of the local ecology.[2] The film was theatrically released on March 10, 1972.


Wildlife photographer Pickett Smith is taking photographs of the local flora and fauna as he canoes through a swamp surrounding the island mansion estate of the wealthy and influential Crockett family. Throughout the swamp are numerous indicators of pollution, which Pickett believes are connected to pesticide use on the island plantation. After Clint Crockett accidentally tips over Smith's canoe, he and his sister Karen escort Smith to the family mansion where he meets the entire Crockett family. The family's grouchy, wheelchair-bound patriarch Jason intends spending the next day enjoying both the Fourth of July and his birthday celebrations uninterrupted. Pickett tries calling out, but the phone is dead. Jason sends a man named Grover to spray pesticide in order to get rid of the frogs, which have been unusually prolific this year, disturbing everyone's sleep with cacophonous song. Pickett later discovers Grover's corpse covered in snakebites in the swamp not far from the house. Jason orders him not to mention it to anyone else.

Early next morning, Michael Martindale sets out to check on a possible downed telephone line. He accidentally shoots himself in the leg and is rendered immobile by strange white moss hanging down from the trees. Tarantulas descend from the branches and kill him.

Back on the estate, Jason's daughter Iris Martindale sends her son, Kenneth, into the greenhouse to collect flowers for a centerpiece. As he gathers the flowers, dozens of tokay geckos enter behind him. The geckos swarm over the stacked shelves, knocking over numerous jars of poisonous chemicals, and the resulting toxic gas asphyxiates him. Seeing the danger posed by the animals, Pickett suggests that everyone leave the island, but Jason is adamant that nothing will ruin his birthday celebration.

While chasing a butterfly, Iris is frightened by snakes and baby alligators, and in a panic, falls into a swamp, where leeches latch on to her. Fatigued, she falls down near a rattlesnake, which bites and kills her. Her husband, Stuart, comes looking for her, falls into the swamp, and is eaten by alligators.

On Pickett's advice, Charles and Maybelle (Jason's butler and cook, respectively) decide to leave, along with Kenneth's fiancée, Bella Garrington. Clint takes them across the lake in his speedboat. Clint searches the nearby grocery store while the others walk on. A flock of birds appear, and they run off behind a building; their fate is left unknown (though a strewn-open suitcase is seen later). Clint discovers his boat is adrift, the tether having been gnawed through, and swims to reach it. A cottonmouth kills him in the water. His wife, Jenny, tries to rescue him, but gets stuck in the mud and is killed by an alligator snapping turtle.

Karen and Pickett leave with Clint and Jenny's children; Jason refuses to join them. They cross the lake in Pickett's canoe, encountering an alligator and water snakes, which Pickett dispatches with the boat paddle and a shotgun. They make it ashore and reach a road, where they hitch a ride with a woman and her son. She tells them that she is heading to Jefferson City and has not seen a single person or car for the past hour, while the boy shows them a huge frog that he took from summer camp.

That night, Jason, now alone in his mansion (save for his dog, Colonel), witnesses hundreds of frogs breaking into the house and staring at him. The phone rings, but when he answers it, the line is still dead. Looking around the room at his stuffed animal trophies adds to his tension, and he collapses and dies, apparently from a heart attack. All of the lights in the mansion flicker out.


Actor Role
Ray Milland Jason Crockett
Sam Elliott Pickett Smith
Joan Van Ark Karen Crockett
Adam Roarke Clint Crockett
Lynn Borden Jenny Crockett
Dale Willingham Tina Crockett
Hal Hodges Jay Crockett
Judy Pace Bella Garrington
Mae Mercer Maybelle
David Gilliam Michael Martindale
Nicholas Cortland Kenneth Martindale
George Skaff Stuart Martindale
Hollis Irving Iris Martindale
Lance Taylor Sr. Charles
Carolyn Fitzsimmons Lady in car
Robert Sanders Young boy in car

Production notes[edit]

The film was shot in Walton County, Florida, on the Emerald Coast in and around Wesley House, an old Southern mansion located in Eden Gardens State Park in the town of Point Washington, situated on Tucker Bayou off Choctawhatchee Bay.


Frogs received a score of 29% on Rotten Tomatoes.[3]

A reviewer from found it odd for a horror film to be titled Frogs when all the killings in the film are done by animals other than frogs and discussed the acting: "Sam Elliott is good as always. He manages to feel like the outsider while also feeling like part of the group. It makes his role work in ways that it might not work in someone else's control. Ray Milland is also fairly good as the patriarch of the Crockett family. He personifies that bullheaded 'you listen to me because I'm always right' attitude in such a believable manner that you think he is that guy. The rest of the cast isn't as great as these two, but their lack of good performance only helps to make their deaths more fun to watch. They overact or underact in the perfect ways to make the movie priceless."[4]

Frogs was shown on the MeTV show Svengoolie on January 8, 2022.


  1. ^ "Some of the Worst Horror Movie Taglines of All Time!". BloodyDisgusting.
  2. ^ "SomethingAwful review of Frogs".
  3. ^ "Frogs". Rotten Tomatoes
  4. ^ "Frogs". Retrieved 26 August 2016

External links[edit]