The Sorrows of Young Werewolf (eyeteeth) wrote,
The Sorrows of Young Werewolf

Brekekekex koax koax, motherfucker

Probably my favorite thing about cable is the ready availability of really cheesy horror and action/adventure flicks. Cassie and I often while away an hour or so (sometimes a whole evening) watching such gems as Boltneck (originally entitled Big Monster on Campus) and Snake Eater III (not Snack Eater III, unfortunately). Yesterday I found an amazing Joan Van Ark movie from 1972, Frogs, which concerns the revenge a bunch of lizards and amphibians exact upon a nature-hating millionaire in a wheelchair. There are many shots of efts, anoles, geckos, etc. crawling around this Southern patriarch's lawn in large numbers, in what is undoubtedly intended to be a menacing and horrible way. There are also tarantulas, and, although the movie takes place in a swamp, scorpions. It was basically an hour and a half of this: shot of lizard, arthropod, arachnid, etc. crawling about, shot of person looking aghast, shot of same lizard, arthropod, arachnid, etc., shot of person screaming, shot of lizard, shot of screaming and falling on face, shot of lizards crawling on person while person futilely claws at them, shot of person lying ashen and still. There's one great scene in which monitor lizards kill a guy in a greenhouse by knocking over several jars clearly marked POISON. The "poison" appears to be a mixture of bleach and ammonia, for the greenhouse quickly fills with a cloud of lethal gas.

Reviews that I've found online have tended to be oddly positive, many of them overlooking the dull script, the wooden acting, and the long minutes during which the only "action" consists of stock footage of iguanas. And even the negative reviews fail to note the most remarkable aspect of Frogs: the fact that the so-called frogs, shown in a seemingly endless series of time-consuming jump cuts, are quite obviously toads. Toads swarming over the lawn, toads in the teacups, toads in amongst the knickknacks on the shelves -- hundreds and hundreds of toads! As far as I could see there wasn't an actual frog in the entire movie. Why? Okay, so using actual frogs would have been impractical, because frogs have to be kept moist and keeping frogs moist while simultaneously trying to get footage of them would have been a nightmare, but then why didn't they just call the movie Toads? Wouldn't that have been simpler than requiring every character in the movie to say something like "I hate those damn frogs" or "Watch out for the frogs!" while looking directly at a whole slew of what are obviously toads?

The original movie poster and the cover of the goddamn DVD both feature a frog with a human hand protruding from its mouth, not a toad with a human hand protruding from its mouth, so I guess frogs were considered a bigger box-office draw than toads. What I can't figure out is why. Did someone decide that frogs are just inherently more scary, or what?

Tonight was a double bill, not counting the first twenty minutes of Day of the Dead, which quickly lost out to mopping the bathroom floor. The first was a paint-by-numbers slasher flick from 1981 entitled The Burning. Fortunately it proved to be better than that other movie about a guy stabbing people in the woods near a summer camp, because if it hadn't I would have had to off myself, or go mop the bathroom floor again. For a slasher it was slightly better than average, but the neatest thing about it was that it featured Jason Alexander in his very first movie role. He stands out as the one who can act.

The second movie, the prosaically titled Office Killer, wasn't as good, but I knew I had to watch it as soon as I saw that it was about a copy editor who goes berserk and starts murdering her coworkers one by one. At first I thought this was going to be some art film masquerading as a horror movie but really about the soul-crushing nature of modern office work, kind of like a bloodier Office Space, but no, despite the offscreen narration and film-noir lighting it's pretty much a slasher. (In case you were wondering what Molly Ringwald has been up to in the post–Brat Pack years, you'll find her playing Final Girl here.) Also, I spent the whole time wondering where the hell I had seen the crippled mother before; turns out (which I should have known) she's Alice the librarian from that famous first scene in Ghostbusters. Thirteen years later she looked exactly the same.

My message here is twofold. One, frogs are generally smooth and moist while toads are generally bumpy and dry. Two, don't cross a copy editor, because each and every one of us is liable to snap at any moment. That is all.

Total word count: 54,959
Tags: bad movies, copy-editing
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