So last night, delightful girlfriend and myself watched our respective favorite bad movies, and it’s probably no surprise to anyone that mine is Troll 2, as it is for many people out there (tied with The Room I’d imagine). Hell, there’s such a cult following around this movie that there’s even a documentary about it, but for as much talk as there is for Troll 2, not much is ever said about the original Troll 1. Out of curiosity we decided to watch it. I always assumed it was another inept low budget schlocky horror flick, (Not as inept as Troll 2 obviously), but wow was I completely surprised. Troll is a great movie, absolutely great, and I’m going to share some reasons why I think so, but out of traditional obligation I have to ask: Have you seen Troll?
Troll is ultimately a pretty cool little 80s dark fantasy movie. It stars Noah Hathaway (he of Atreyu fame) as Harry Potter Jr. (Yes, you read that right), and Jenny Beck as his little sister Wendy. The movie starts with the Potters moving into a San Francisco apartment complex and immediately has Wendy grabbed and replaced by a magical Troll, who then goes on to act freaky along with trying to bring the magical Faerie world back into our reality. This seems to involve using his magic ring to turn the tenants into various forms of plants and awesome little animatronic monsters.
The fantasy elements aren’t just delegated to the forests and monsters either, the apartments house some wonderfully fantastical tenants, and the scene where they’re first introduced to the Potters is one of the most fun expository scenes I’ve ever seen, with the actors all bristling with charismatic energy. Speaking of the actors, special commendation must go to Jenny Beck, her performance as the Troll in girl’s clothing is wonderful, she’s super creepy in ways that stay playful throughout. Usually child actors are just the worst, but she really nails it in this. Special mention must also be given to June Lockhart who freakin kills it as the witch living on the top floor. She completely steals the show, making just about every line she delivers delectably humorous.
Truth be told, all of the characters are great and exude a charming affectation, and most have many extraneous little scenes that flesh out their characters in ways that lesser movies wouldn’t even think to do. I especially loved the scene of Harry’s father dancing to music. And the scenes between Phil Fondacaro’s character (Who also plays the Troll under lots of prosthetics) and Wendy were surprisingly tender, I especially liked his story of being a little boy and wishing he was an elf (Yeah … you’ll just have to watch it).
The special effects were also quite fun, lots of prosthetics and animatronics that (Broken record time) exude more charm than most modern CGI nonsense. The Troll itself (When not in Wendy form) was especially awesome, and sure it could only really smile, but it was effective, and quite impressive all things considered. Also, last night I realized how much I miss rotoscoped effects. Y’know, the ones that look like animated stuff on top of live action filmed stuff? While some might consider those effects corny by today’s standards, to me they add a sense of wonder and fantasy that’s missing from our modern “realistic” fare.
Anyway, Troll is really cool, and I think you’d like it. Sure there are some problems with it, probably some plot holes and a twist near the end that may or may not work (I haven’t really decided yet). But holy shit it is just dripping with creativity and uniqueness and is just fun. Remember when movies were fun? So the next time you’re in the mood for “so bad it’s good” fare why not watch something that’s actually good? Troll 1 everybody, definitely worth a watch, and it’s even on Netflix so the barrier to entry is practically nonexistent.