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John’s Horror Corner: Croaked: Frog Monster from Hell (1981; aka, Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake), a boring cheesy frog monster movie.

January 4, 2019

MY CALL: Not even entertaining as a fun bad movie. Just a boring monster flick about an aquatic bigfoot with inordinate longevity. MOVIES LIKE Croaked: Frog Monster from Hell: For more amphibious fish men, try Shallow Water (2017), Humanoids from the Deep (1980), Cold Skin (2017) or Dagon (2001)—all are much better choices than this. And if you just want a so-bad-it’s-good low budget B-monster movie, watch The Alien Factor (1978). It has much more B-movie sincerity and is ridiculously bad.

An attractive scientist visits a remote lake to investigate a large frog-like fossil discovered by a young boy. Naturally, this lake has a history…

The movie posters for this B-movie are highly suggestive of something more exploitative. You’d almost expect the crass nudity and monster rape of Humanoids from the Deep (1980). Additionally, one may expect lots of blood and guts (even if on a very low budget with cheap effects). Nothing could be further from these expectations.

The movie begins with a 1960s-70s aw-shucks hokiness about it, magnified by light wholesome scoring you’d expect from an old G-rated family movie. Were it not for seeing someone stabbed through the torso with a harpoon, I’d expect this to be a kids’ movie at first. But even when the tone and scoring become more serious, it still never has the atmosphere appropriate for anything life-threatening.

The harpoon death scene occurs more than once, and is just as unexciting as the build-up to the lackluster kills… and I suppose just as unexciting as any other aspect of the movie. This really isn’t a good movie. The monster is a green rubber suit smacking all too hard of The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), only it seems more dated for its era as it clunkily throws women over its shoulders and walks them toward the water most likely for some reproductive demise.

The best part—and perhaps the only satisfying part—is when the frog man’s fingers are chopped off with an axe and continue to wriggle. The scare (however weak and cheesy), execution and effects of this scene were the best we’d see. Towards the finale a kid shoots the amphibious monster with a shotgun and it just explodes as if hit by a rocket launcher. A rather anticlimactic one-shot kill for something revered as an ancient Native American frog God. Director Bill Rebane (Blood Harvest, The Giant Spider Invasion, The Demons of Ludlow) does no justice to the folklore presented—just a dumb aquatic bigfoot with inordinate longevity.

Overall, I’d say skip this. Skip this even if you’re a fan of really bad movies. There are simply better options, or “worse” B-movie options that provide more laughable qualities.

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