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 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 amphibians. Pickett later discovers Grover’s corpse covered in snake bites 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 lizards entering behind him. The lizards 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 day.
Frogs is a 1972 horror film directed by George McCowan. 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. The film was theatrically released on March 10, 1972.