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Troll – 7

Director – John Carl Buechler

Cast – Noah Hathaway, Michael Moriarty, Shelly Hack, Jenny Beck, Sonny Bono, Phil Fondacaro, Brad Hall, Anne Lockhart, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Gary Sandy, June Lockhart

Release Year – 1986

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I could tell you how excited I was to finally see this film since last seeing it during my childhood, but you probably would not believe me. I have a love/hate relationship with Charles Band-produced horror films, and you can find Troll in the love area of that relationship. Horror films involving trolls are rare and this is one of the few notable ones, and despite its low reviews from numerous critics this is definitely one underrated piece. The great special FX and zany story provides plenty of cheese for the viewer to enjoy, and if you love quirky creature films then you should enjoy this one.

The Potter family has just moved into a new San Francisco apartment complex, and their hopes of enjoying their new home are shattered when a wicked troll king invades the complex to do battle with a witch living on the top floor.

Like most cheesy low-budget feasts of its day and type, Troll takes little time getting to the goods. Early on we are exposed to the hideous beast who is using the apartment’s tenants to transform them into an army of elves to help him defeat the queen on the top floor. Why would he want to do such a thing? The queen holds the power to him regaining his might after being banished many years prior, plus he is pissed off and wants revenge against her. The troll manages to mimic our main character’s younger sister and makes his way from apartment to apartment to build his army, and while these may not be considered “deaths” they do feel like them, and that makes this film high on the death count. Ed Naha’s story comes in at a brisk 82 minutes, and the piece flows smoothly by not giving us any nonsense or silly subplots, just straight up troll-induced horror with a hint of fantasy.

Director John Carl Buechler (Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Cellar Dwellar, Ghoulies III), an FX man by trade, did a good job execution this simple piece. There is one main location, the apartment complex, and it was used positively and came adorned with awesome special FX that took place after someone was transformed to an elf by the mighty troll. The acting performances were as expected, some better than others but “good” overall, and it was a joy to see Michael Moriarty portraying the father figure of the family, Harry Potter Sr. And then there is the Troll, portrayed by Phil Fondacaro who also had another role in the film as the apartment’s midget professor. The look of the Troll was great and he was executed in a pretty creepy fashion, which was the case with all of the other numerous creatures adorning the film – growing in number as the runtime increased.

Overall, Troll is a fun and simple horror/fantasy that consists of everything needed to an enjoyable experience. It is not a great film, but it leaves knowledgeable viewers with a taste of what they came for: horror cheese.

Rating: 7/10

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