Many people find this impossible to believe, but wrestling isn't even in my top five when it comes to my favorite forms of entertainment in life. I would much rather pop open a good comic book like World War Hulk, watch the NFL, read a Jeffrey Deaver or Stephen Hunter "popcorn" book, or – thanks to the wonderful and all powerful deity I call DVR – watch just about every show ever made. I tape three different shows off BBC America for God's sake! But most of all, I enjoy watching movies. Always have. Always will. One of the defining moments of my youth was when I used to watch every single airing of Star Wars on HBO, and this was when HBO owned about 25 movies so you would see the same shit every single day. I was like 10 years old and my mom told me that if watched Star Wars one more time she was getting HBO turned off. I called that bluff and I'll be damned, she got HBO turned off. I'm not sure I'll ever forgive her for that.
Over the years I've only become an even bigger movie fan, and thanks to DVDs, have entered into the verge of insanity. I mean seriously, who buys four different versions of Army of Darkness or tracks down bootleg versions of the Roger Corman Fantastic Four movie? Luckily I am blessed that on many different occasions the world of wrestling has crossed over with Hollywood. Like Spider-Man, that blessing is also a curse as every single one of those movies has sucked ass. Feel free to check out my reviews for a sampling of wrestling related movies including: Slammed! (featuring the older brother from Home Improvement and that kid from Dungeons & Dragons), Verne Gagne's The Wrestler (possibly the best, and worst, movie I have ever watched in my life), Sting: The Moment of Truth (which has to be seen to believed), and of course the grand pappy of them all, 1 Night in Chyna.
As you can tell, I'm pretty used to crappy movies starring wrestlers and when WWE announced they were starting a movie production company, a part of me was overjoyed. Sure, I knew it would fall flat on its face, just like the XFL, WBF, and WWE New York restaurant (three other things I liked that I had to watch burst into flames), but I knew we'd get some horrible films to review. I watched John Cena in The Marine and couldn't believe how cheesy it was. I still have Kane's See No Evil on DVD, but it's going to take one hell of a rainy day for me to actually put that one into rotation. The latest release from WWE Films, and the biggest bomb of them all, comes out on DVD next week. Steve Austin in The Condemned.
To prepare myself for that DVD I decided to head back into the vault and watch one of the movies I've had around forever, starring one of my favorite wrestlers, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Until The Rock came along, Piper was pretty much considered the most successful of all wrestlers who went into movies, and that was solely because of one film, John Carpenter's They Live (which will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, believe it or not). They Live is an awesome social commentary movie that also involves aliens and the world's longest street fight. They Live was the only good movie for Piper, as the rest of his acting career can be put right next to Hulk Hogan's Mr. Nanny and Bill Goldberg's Universal Soldier 2. Unfortunately, I'm not going to review They Live, I'm going to take a crack at one of Hot Rod's earlier movies titled Hell Comes to Frogtown.
Right from the start I knew this was going to be long day as the main menu was absolutely horrible. Check out the screen cap for the poorly designed scene selection option. Did you also notice the Strat Movie option at the bottom? As Jim on The Office would say, "Lord, beer me strength."
The movie started off with a voice over from a woman saying that, "in the latter days of the 20th century, there arose a difference of opinion. The leading experts at the time believed a nuclear war would only involve the exchange of a few bombs and then the suitably horrified combatants would sit down at the peace table. They were wrong, in just 10 days, 10,000 years of human progress was literally blown to dust."
We then fast forwarded ten years to see that the world is still in a post apocalypse state. Apparently the human race has been devastated by the radiation and it has caused the majority of the few remaining men to become sterile. Enter Roddy Piper, the babyface of the movie, who we immediately find out is a serial rapist and is being tuned up by a mean prison guard for his latest sexual assault. Two nurses broke up the beating and explained that Piper's victim isn't pressing charges because she found out she was pregnant. "This man is holding a loaded weapon," said one nurse, not even cracking a smile. The guard went to hit Piper one more time, but the blonde nurse grabbed him and I-shit-you-not gave him a hip toss. This is going to be one for the books.
Turns out that the nurses worked for an outfit called MedTech and they offer Piper full immunity if he is willing to go out into the wasteland and "perform under stress." Roddy took the words out of my mouth when he responded, "are you serious?" This was great as Roddy was now wearing something that resembled a steel jock strap that read "Property of Provisional Government." Piper signed a contract that said he would help MedTech team head into Frogtown to get back a group of fertile women and then impregnate them. Piper and two MedTech women headed into battle in what looked to be a pink PT Cruiser with a machine gun on top. To be fair, if women ran the military that probably would be their version of a Hummer.
Along the way to Frogtown, Roddy asked the girls to make a pit stop and made a run for it. In what was actually a funny scene, the steel jock strap Roddy was wearing basically electrocuted his balls and got him to stop running. The blonde MedTech girl then told him that if anyone other than her unlocked the jock strap a one ounce charge of plastic explosive will detonate. I'm not Timothy McVeigh or the Unabomber, but one ounce doesn't sound that threatening. Then again, it is located on Piper's frank and beans. The blonde girl than stopped the electric shock by touching her earring. She then explained that the "proximity sensor" is located in her right earring and will send the electric shock to his balls if he gets too far away. Get this, she then said her left earring had a "directional finder" which would allow her to find him. Why Piper didn't just break her neck and rip off both earrings is something that was never explained.
Piper and the two girls made camp for the night and in one of the oddest scenes ever filmed by man, the blonde girl came out of her tent wearing nothing but a bra and panties. Keep in mind she was also wearing her Steve Urkel glasses as well. Piper told her to get bent and that he would see her in the morning. It got even weirder. The blonde again tried to seduce Piper and this time he went for it. A couple seconds later she touched her earring and Piper got zapped in the balls. Apparently one of her directives was to keep Piper stimulated for as much of the trip as possible. The other MedTech girl, a brunette, found all of these amusing as she continued to clean her machine gun in the most phallic way possible.
Later that night we got our first shots of gratuitous nudity as the brunette MedTech girl woke Piper up and said she wanted to have sex with him, "to see if the rumors were true." Before the two could get too far, the blonde MedTech came out and threatened to touch her earring. That prompted Piper to kick the brunette out of his sleeping bag post haste! The next day, our three heroes came across a slutty looking girl in the desert. After tying her up, the group discovered the girl was fertile and injected her with "Ovadol" to facilitate pro creation. I wonder if Signature Pharmacy sent that one to Stephanie McMahon? Piper, with a history of sexual assault, balked at having sex with the girl because she's not his type. The blonde MedTech girl, "trained in the art of seduction techniques," began to strip for Piper in order to get him in the mood. That didn't work, most likely because the stripping routine was so wooden it wouldn't have turned on a guy returning from his third tour of Iraq, and the blonde girl was felt sad because she couldn't excite Piper. This had sappy music and everything. Classic~!
The next morning we found out that the slutty girl was actually one of the fertile women who were being held for ransom in Frogtown. She explained that the others didn't escape with her because they were "passives" who believed that, "only the truly meek will inherit the Earth." Holy cow, the blonde also told Piper that if her earrings lost contact with her body the steel jock strap would explode. Even though it doesn't make sense, score one for the writing team.
Our heroes finally made it into Frogtown, which looked like a deserted oil refinery. The first place they entered was a bar that was full of mutated frogs. The blonde, now dressed like slave Leia, was led into the bar as Piper's prisoner. This bar was exactly what you would get if you crossed Mos Eisley Cantina from Star Wars and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And picture it done on the cheap to boot. Piper walked up to the bar and said, "bartender, give me a drink!" I guess in Frogtown there is only one type of alcohol. Piper took a big gulp and had a great cross-eyed look before doing a huge spit-take. "You never could hold your liquor," said a guy at the bar. That guy turned out to be "Loony," a friend from Piper's past.
There was a girl frog stripper dancing at the bar and she ran into Roddy and the blonde saying, "I love you" to the blonde. We were then told that this girl was MedTech's contact and that "I love you" was code for "everything is going to plan." Piper met a frog wearing a fez at the bar and the frog told us the exposition of how the nuclear war created the mutant frogs and that the humans herded them "like cattle" onto reservations. The fez wearing frog offered to buy the blonde MedTech girl, but this got interrupted by another frog named Bull. Oh dear lord.
At this point we were finally give Piper's character name. "Hell. Sam Hell." This led to maybe the greatest part of the movie, Bull telling the fez wearing frog to, "shut you hoooooooooole!" I can't do it justice here, but it is simply wonderful. Bull said that only he is allowed to buy and sell women in Frogtown and began an immediate auction for the blonde. "I shall start the bidding at five lillys!" I'm not sure what it a lilly is for currency, but it's probably doing quite well against the American dollar right now. In another slap in the face, no one bid on the blonde. Bull punched out Piper and took the blonde away.
Somehow Piper was able to track down where they took the blonde and he overheard a mysterious conversation between the frogs and a masked human wearing a gas mask. Shortly thereafter, Piper took a pratfall off the balcony and was knocked unconscious again. Piper awoke to find himself chained up with Bull wielding a chainsaw about to eviscerate him. Just as the chainsaw was going to hit Piper, it ran out of gas. While this was going on, the blonde MedTech girl was laying on a table while the captured fertile girls did the most unsexy ceremony to prepare her for the "dance of the three snakes." The only thing worthwhile in this never ending scene was that all the girls were wearing very sheer clothing, so you could see all their tits. A bit of silk fabric rubbed up against the blonde's earring and we cut to Piper screaming as his balls were being shocked. Piper screamed for Bull to cut off the jock strap and Bull said, "I got to tell you, you're one weird dude." With his chainsaw gassed up, Bull cut off the jock strap, which did not blow up. "It's a fake," said Piper, "she tricked me!" As Bull laughed, the jock strap blew up in his face.
The frog stripper ended up freeing Piper, but she was then quickly killed by Bull, who shockingly was not dead despite a bomb blowing up in his face. Piper then took out the drillbit that was shoved into the stripper's chest, and used it to kill Bull. I was half expected Piper to proclaim, "you've just croaked."
The blonde was forced to perform the dance of the three snakes in front of the Frogtown leader. How to describe this dance? Hmmmm. Have you ever seen the episode of UK's The Office when David Brent did his famous dance sequence? It was like that, except even more uncomfortable to watch, and not 1/1,000,000th as funny. The Frogtown leader stood up and yelled, "you have aroused the three snakes!" and revealed that the three snakes were his three penises.
Did you read that? The frog had three dicks.
The blonde refused to have sex with the frog and instead kicked in the family jewels! At that exact moment, Piper burst into the room and shot the leader's guards. Piper was about to shoot the leader, but he jumped away and ran. Piper and the blonde then gathered up the fertile women and made their escape in the pink PT Cruiser. Driving away like a bat out of hell, our heroes were soon caught by the mysterious gas-mask wearing guy. That guy was named "Sodom." Sodom took off his mask and revealed… the evil prison guard from the opening scene in the movie! It's a swerve! M. Night Shyamalan and Vince Russo would be marking out big time right now.
Sodom explained that he had been selling weapons to the frogs in exchange for Uranium. Sodom then gave the Uranium to "renegade scientists" to process so he can have the only nuclear bombs since the war. During all this exposition, B-film's best Deus Ex Machina was revealed as we learned Piper was strapping a ninja sword on his back. As Sodom threatened to shoot the blonde, Piper convinced one of the "passive" fertile women to hand him his sword, which Hot Rod then proceeded to throw directly into Sodom's chest!
IT GOT EVEN BETTER! It turned out that Sodom was standing on the edge of a cliff, and the camera showed him falling off. Unfortunately, this movie is so cheap you actually see Sodom land on some padding below and an unmistakable pillowy noise is heard. "Poof!" This has become the greatest film of all time. Piper and the blonde run to where Sodom's body should be, but they discover he is gone, but luckily Sodom has left the sword that was sticking in his chest along with his gun. Piper grabbed the sword and took off "to finish it." Piper caught up to Sodom, who was playing possum. Piper assumed Sodom was dead and turned around to leave. Sodom then got up and aimed his rocket launcher at Piper. Sodom's foot slipped and made a small sound, which allowed Piper to immediately turn around and shoot Sodom directly in the brain.
Piper came back to find the pink PT Cruiser blown up and the frog leader taking credit. Piper and the frog leader then have a one on one battle with the frog getting the heat until Piper pulled out a miracle hope spot. What did Piper do? He poked the frog in the eyes. Seriously. Piper juiced and threw the frog off a cliff, but the frog grabbed onto Piper's leg. No problem, Piper grabbed his ninja sword and cut off the frog's hand.
Piper, thinking all the girls were dead, was shocked to find out that they had just hidden when they saw the frogs arriving. Piper was so relieved he grabbed the blonde and passionately kissed her. The blonde told Piper that after he finished his duties he would get a week's worth of sleep. Piper asked, "what do you mean, when I finish my duties?!" Piper then turned around to see the fertile women, and I-shit-you-not harp music began playing. Our heroes then drove away into the sunset.
After a little research I found out that actually made a sequel to this movie! Here's the plot: "In the sequel to Hell Comes to Frogtown, the Mutant-Frog leader of Frogtown kidnaps a professor and forces him to make a serum that will turn everyone into Frogs, they also kidnap some people to test the serum on. And courageous Sam Hell will have to save them." Somehow, Roddy Piper actually turned down the script for that one, possibly the only script he ever turned down.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: Now that's what I call a cult classic. Ridiculous plot. Horrible acting. Cheesy special effects. Gratuitous nudity. This one truly has it all. You have to wonder what it was like to be in the meeting when this movie was pitched and what the hell was going when someone actually said, "Sure, I'll finance that." To be fair, Roddy Piper does ooze charisma throughout the movie and I can see how Hollywood would have told him that he would be a big star one day. His facial expressions alone in this movie make it worth watching. If you are a fan of bad movies, or Roddy Piper, you'll actually enjoy this movie. Right now I'd do anything to get the MST3K boys to take a crack at this one. Click HERE to get your copy of Hell Comes to Frogtown to your door, it's certainly more fun than watching TNA's Impact or ECW most weeks.
Special Thanks to the Dr. Keith Show's own Keith Lipinski for his help with this review. On this week's Dr. Keith show will be Adam Pearce and a surprise guest from the old ECW.
Guest Booker with Gabe Sapolsky DVD
Ring of Honor's Respect is Earned PPV
Irv Muchnick's Wrestling Babylon book
The legendary IWA-Japan King of the Death Match tournament featuring Mick Foley and Terry Funk
THE TWF "MENTAL WELLNESS TEST!"
With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).