Usually when I see the “Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz presents”, with some notable recent exceptions, I get a warm feeling. That may also be the fact that I usually review Troma movies after a fourth or fifth glass of Jack Daniel’s.
Croaked was originally released in 1975 as Rana: Frog Monster from Hell, and the opening credits even include the original title over some stunning Donna Summer-esque music.
Kelly Morgan (Scherer) returns to the sight of his hideous childhood ordeal, where a half-frog/half-man wacked his old man. Now he returns to find the fate of the creature and seek his legendary treasure. This is all revealed from his painstaking storytelling to his loved one, the chick in a bathrobe and full makeup.
Tension builds as a random character, eerily reminiscent of Bill Murray as Carl Spackler in Caddyshack, fires a harpoon gun into the water at random bubbles, only to die in slow motion as the half frog/half man, heretofore referred to as the hfhm, harpoons him back.
Quickly the film moves to a flashback of the 40’s, or what claims to be one, since the tight jeans and heavy makeup scream mid-70’s almost as much as a dual guitar riff by Boston. Little is known about this creature other than it’s penchant for walking just off the edge of the camera. Judging by the number of people who comment on how warm the water is, the hfhm pees in the entire swamp every three minutes.
The other thing we learn about hfhm’s is that millions of years of evolution teach them how to use spear guns. That’s a special lesson you’ll never see on Animal Planet, mind you.
There is also a precursor to each killing. This escalates from bubbles to frogs to dry-ice. The film moves randomly from swamp to beach to rapids to making love down by the fire, with camera shots and sound editing completely inconsistent.
The movie has been called a tribute to The Creature from the Black Lagoon, but cheap attempt to copy it is the closest I would go. Other than the swimming, this beast has more in common with the Sleestacks from the Land of the Lost then it does with the Creature.
The last fifteen minutes ride out an inevitable conclusion as original as any boy band’s latest single. With only a few scenes worth a chuckle, this is not a movie to expose a crowd or a loved one to, and not worth paying for. Apologies to the legendary Lloyd, but this one should stay in the case.
The DVD includes only chapter selection.