Imagine a story of a young boy, Harry Potter, who discovers a world of witches and wizards!
Yes, that is actually some of the plot in director John Carl Buechler’s Troll, a film that categorically feels more fairy tale than horror. Yet along with the fantasy, it mixes scares, slapstick, family drama and an entire scene with Michael Moriarty (Law and Order) dancing and lip syncing to “Summertime Blues”, which manages to work because Moriarty owns it. And now you can see this magical film in glorious Blu-ray thanks to a Scream Factory Double Feature release of Troll and Troll 2.
Troll tells the story of The Potter Family – who moves into a new apartment building on the same day a vengeful Troll decides to wreak havoc and open a gateway from his world, giving all his little magical buddies a new place to live. This of course does not bode well for the building’s tenants. Director Buechler has an impressive list of credits in make-up and special effects and Troll represents the second film he directed. His love for the story is evident not just because of the zany and inventive creatures that populate the screen with but Buechler also allows the human characters some deep, introspective moments dealing with themes of bravery and mortality. It makes for a confusing tone, but the film is entertaining and enjoyable to watch if just for the creative visuals effects as the building slowly transforms into the Troll’s world. Notably, the film’s cast is impressive – Noah Hathaway (Never Ending Story), Gary Sandy (WKRP In Cincinnati), June Lockhart (Lost In Space), Sonny Bono (Cher) and even Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Hall. Even If this place wasn’t rent controlled, I think it would be a good deal just for the celebrity neighbors.
Troll 2 has no connection to Troll other than it shares the name without the number. And even though the film is actually about Goblins, it does share one similar theme – there is a family in peril unaware that evil forces surround them. Troll 2 is also famous for being known as one of the worst movies ever made. I highly disagree with that sentiment because I’ve seen WAY worse. In this “sequel”, a family on vacation gets the most terrible Airbnb deal ever when they take a trip to a small town full of rustic country folk who are disguised as flesh eating Goblins! I hope they can get a refund.
Troll 2 doesn’t have any A-list (or B-list, or C-list) stars, no eye popping visual effects and fails on all attempts to be scary. However, I’ve always felt there is something wonderful in every laughably bad insane moment. Which brings me to my favorite feature in this set. The first 5,000 copies come with the DVD of Best Worst Movie, a documentary written and directed by Michael Stephenson, who starred as the little kid in Troll 2. Best Worst Movie is Michael’s journey 20 years after the making of Troll 2 to discover the film has grown to cult status. Along with co-star George Hardy, who chews up scenery as the dad in the original film, he revisits the shooting locations, reconnects with the cast and meets fans all over America who have embraced the film and celebrate by having Troll 2 parties. It still stands as one of my favorite documentaries and Stephenson, who was emotionally ruined by Troll 2, goes through a positive catharsis. The lesson at the end of the documentary is that if any piece of art touches lives – no matter how awful it may appear – then it is a success. For filmmakers and film lovers, this is a perfect piece of documentary storytelling and I’m thrilled Scream Factory chose to include it here.
As far as other extras on the Blu-ray, there is boatload of interviews from the creators of Troll, including Buechler, who has a lot of fun revisiting the film. Troll 2 has commentary from George Hardy, and he’s always a laugh full of interesting memories. For my dollar, the fact that you get both movies plus Best Worst Movie makes this Blu-ray worth adding to your collection. You can get it here. Just avoid eating any green cakes.