While this fact might be hard to believe, there were trolls long before the creation of comment sections on websites. They were not the nicest of mythical creatures. Some lived beneath bridges and interfered with interstate commerce. Think of them as a yard gnomes ugly and rude cousin. In the wake of Gremlins, Charles Band’s Empire Pictures was eager to give movie audience more films about little creatures that destroy the lives of humans. Troll & Troll II is a double feature that shows both ends of the exploitation cinema experience. One is made with major personalities while the other is an amateur cast with zero troll content.
Troll (1986 – 82 minutes) is so star studded that you’d swear they had hijacked the guest passenger list from Love Boat. The Potters (Law & Order‘s Michael Moriarty and Charlie’s Angels‘ Shelley Hack) are moving to San Francisco with their kids. Their new apartment building looks kinda shady with freaky tenants. Deep in the basement the young daughter (Jenny Beck) encounters an evil troll. The grotesque small humanoid takes over her shape and causes havoc within the building. Sonny Bono (Murder in Music City) is a swinger who has a bachelor pad that gets turned into a forest. Gary Sandy (WKRP in Cincinnati) is a bit nutty. The married couple is Brad Hall and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld) fresh off Saturday Night Live. The only person in the building that is ready for the arrival of the troll is June Lockhart (Lost In Space). She is also the only person that young Harry Potter Jr. (Never Ending Story‘s Noah Hathaway) can trust. There’s something familiar about a boy named Harry Potter having to battle wicked magical creatures. The casting is odd with a future fake president and a real future Congressman on the screen. There’s even a small part for June’s daughter Anne Lockhart (Battlestar Galactica). How did such a great cast end up in this film? Turns out they shot it in Rome. So why not take advantage on an Italian vacation with a few days of being chased around by an evil troll?
Troll II (1990 – 94 minutes) was made by an Italian crew in the middle of Utah. This limited the star power since no actor is aching to a vacation in Utah. Thus we get a cast that lacks craft, but has a desire to please. Michael Waits (George Hardy) dreams of being a farmer so he jumps on a chance to house swap with a farmer in Niblog. This sounds good except his son has a dream that a dead relative warns him of this distant land. Turns out the place is haunted by goblins. The upside is the nasty creatures are vegetarians. The downside is that the goblins turn people into vegetables and then eat them. Naturally dad’s desire to raise crops overrules dead relative’s warning about killer goblins. Thus we get a horror film. Perhaps at this point you’re wondering why the film is called Troll II since it is completely lacking in trolls with the extreme goblin cast? The answer is that the indie distributor needed a Troll sequel for the home video market more than introducing Golblins into the marketplace. The film is so bad on so many levels that it’s a miracle that the cinematographer remembered to take the lens cap off the camera. But it’s bad in a way that you want to just see how bad it gets. This is like a giant snowball in a cartoon that keeps collecting characters on its way down the mountain and through the resort town. Troll II remains a hilarious disaster unlike that forgettable Johnny Depp comedy.
Troll & Troll II is a intriguing double feature since the films are so different even though both are low budget horror flicks. Even with their contrasts, both prove entertaining in their own ways.
The video for both films is 1.85:1 anamorphic. They both give you great views of the trolls and goblins lurking in the real world. The audio is DTS-HD MA Stereo. The mix is just good enough to give you all the campy lines clearly. You can feel the awkwardness of the Troll II cast reading dialogue.
The Making of Troll (50:07) has Charles Band recount making the movie in Rome. He reflects how this was one of their big budget productions. They were doing well in the VHS rental market. He bought Dino’s studio. He is still amazed at his cast. Screenwriter Ed Naha worked at Starlog and Fangoria.
Theatrical Trailer (2:47) got people excited to see the film in actual theaters.
Photo Gallery (1:27) is a montage of elements from the production.
Audio Commentary with actors George Hardy and Deborah Reed. Thankfully Troll II has become a cult hit so they have a good time recounting the film.
Troll 2 Trailer (2:21) shows the lurking fear and the powers of evil. There’s a lot of goblin talk.
Best Worst Movie (93:23) is a fantastic documentary about Troll II. This isn’t merely about the cast and reflections of the production. The movie follows the cult revival of the worst film. Stars and director go around the country for special screenings. There’s even a fan festival in Utah for a taste of Nilbog. A joyful documentary about how a film so scorned could bring joy to Iraq. There’s only 5,000 of the Blu-rays with this DVD so don’t wait.
Troll & Troll II is an amazing double feature that is invaluable when combined with Best Worst Movie. This is the finest moment for both of these films.
Scream Factory presents Troll & Troll II. Directed by: John Carl Buechler & Claudio Fragasso. Screenplay by: Ed Naha & Claudio Fragasso. Starring: Sonny Bono, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Gary Sandy & George Hardy. Rated: R. Boxset Content: 2 movies on 1 Blu-ray. Released: November 17, 2015.
Tags: Scream Factory, Troll, Troll II