Around the mid eighties there was a ‘little monsters’ craze sweeping the film world. Joe Dante’s Gremlins was the obvious crown jewel but there were plenty of others invading the cinemas (and your local video shop). Probably the best was Critters (and it’s fun sequel) but Charles Band and his Empire Pictures wanted a piece of the pie and they got it with the successful Troll.
Directed by John Carl Buechler, it tells the story of the Potter family whose lives become mixed up with a troll who was once a wizard. Shot in Italy but set in San Francisco, the movie has plenty going on with lots of troll related action and some neat special effects. The title character is particularly cool looking and his make up is great.
Long before JK Rowling created a certain series of magical books there was another Harry Potter battling mystical beings as the two lead male characters here are called Harry Potter Sr. and Jr. Buechler and Band have also assembled a stellar cast for what is really a B movie with the likes of the great Michael Moriarty, Sonny Bono and Band regular Phil Fondacaro. A lot of nonsense but immensely entertaining at the same time.
Now on to Troll 2. Made in the States by a bunch of Italians and originally shot as ‘Goblins’ the sequel to Empire’s hit was totally unrelated to it and Band wasn’t at all involved. In fact Charlie was off building Full Moon as the first Puppet Master was unleashed around this time. The bizarre plot involves goblins having the capability to transform people into plants and is truly appalling.
The cast is full of people who’ve never heard of and the only names you’d recognise amongst the production crew are legendary Italian film maker Joe D’Amato (he of dubious horror films and hardcore infamy) and the beautiful 70’s icon Laura Gemser who was the costume designer. Even the director Claudio Fragasso who has made his fair share of turkeys used a pseudonym.
However for some reason as detailed in the feature length documentary Best Worst Movie (included in the extras as well as other goodies) this steaming pile of crap has lived on and is now celebrated as one of cinema’s biggest travesties.
A fine double disc set showcasing two really bad (but great in their own way) films from a time long since passed. I’ve always have a fondness for Charles Band’s Empire product so the first Troll on Blu-ray for me is a no brainer. Having Troll 2 is a real tasty bonus and overall this set is great value for money.
- Distributor Eureka