Frogs (film)

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 and lizards, as well as the occasional butterfly. 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 as a double feature with Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster.

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


Wildlife photographer Pickett Smith (Sam Elliott) is taking photographs of the local flora and fauna as he canoes through a swamp surrounding an island containing the affluent mansion estate of the wealthy and influential Crockett family. Also evident throughout the swamp are numerous indicators of pollution, which Pickett believes are connected to pesticide use on the island plantation. After Clint Crockett (Adam Roarke) accidentally tips over Smith's canoe, he and his sister Karen (Joan van Ark) escort Smith to the family mansion where he meets the entire Crockett family. The grouchy, wheelchair-bound family patriarch Jason (Ray Milland) intends on spending the next day enjoying both the 4th of July and his own birthday celebrations uninterrupted. Due to the mutual dislike of the fauna around the mansion, Jason sends a man named Grover to spray pesticide in order to get rid of the frogs. Pickett later discovers Grover's corpse covered in snakebites in the swamp not far from the house. Despite this warning, Jason continues with his celebrations the next day.

Early next morning, Michael Martindale (David Gilliam) 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 surrounding trees. Tarantulas descend from the branches and kill him.

Back on the estate, Jason's sister, Iris Martindale (Hollis Irving) sends her son, Kenneth (Nicholas Cortland) into the greenhouse to collect flowers for a centerpiece. As he gathers the flowers, he fails to notice dozens of tokay geckos entering 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 should leave the island, but Jason is adamant that nothing will ruin his birthday celebration.

In the meantime, while chasing after a butterfly, Iris is frightened by snakes and baby alligators along her path, and in a panic, falls into a swamp, where leeches latch on to her. She manages to detach a few, but fatigued, she falls down near a rattlesnake, which promptly bites and kills her. Her husband, Stuart (George Skaff), comes looking for her, but falls into the swamp and is eaten by alligators.

On Pickett's advice, Charles (Lance Taylor, Sr.) and Maybelle (Mae Mercer) - respectively Jason's long-suffering butler and cook - decide to leave, along with Kenneth's fiancée, Bella Garrington (Judy Pace). Clint takes them across the lake in his speedboat. Clint stays behind and searches the nearby grocery store while the others walk on. A flock of birds suddenly 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 untethered (the culprit is an Argentine black and white tegu which bites through the tether) and swims to reach it, but a cottonmouth kills him in the water. His wife, Jenny (Lynn Borden), tries to rescue him, but gets stuck in the mud and is killed by an alligator snapping turtle.

Karen and Pickett decide to leave with Clint and Jenny's children, leaving Jason behind, as he 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 eventually make it ashore and reach a road, where they hitch a ride with a woman (Carolyn Fitzsimmons) and her son (Robert Sanders). She tells them that she is heading to Jefferson City and has not seen a single person or car on the road all day, while the boy shows them a huge frog that he took from summer camp.

Later 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. Looking around the room at his stuffed animal trophies adds to his tension, and he falls out of his wheelchair and collapses, apparently from a heart attack, with the croaking frogs hopping all over his corpse. Finally, all of the lights in the mansion completely flicker out.

Following the end credits, an animated frog hops into frame with a human hand in its mouth, swallows it with a loud gulp, then hops out of frame.


Ray MillandJason Crockett
Sam ElliottPickett Smith
Joan Van ArkKaren Crockett
Adam RoarkeClint Crockett
Lynn BordenJenny Crockett
Dale WillinghamTina Crockett
Hal HodgesJay Crockett
Judy PaceBella Garrington
Mae MercerMaybelle
David GilliamMichael Martindale
Nicholas CortlandKenneth Martindale
George SkaffStuart Martindale
Hollis IrvingIris Martindale
Lance Taylor, Sr.Charles
Carolyn Fitzsimmonslady in car
Robert Sandersyoung boy in car

Production notes

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.

Elliott has two "beefcake" scenes in which he removes his shirt; these scenes reportedly helped him earn the title role in the 1976 movie Lifeguard.[3]


Frogs received a score of 29% on Rotten Tomatoes.[4]

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".[5]


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