Monday, November 16, 2015

TROLL / TROLL 2 (Blu-ray Review)

TROLL(1986) / TROLL 2 (1991) 
plus BEST WORST MOVIE (2010)
2-Disc Limited Edition DVD/BD 

TROLL (1986) 

Label: Scream Factory
Region Code: A
Rated: PG-13 
Duration: 82 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo
Video: HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: John Carl Buechler
Cast: June Lockhart, Michael Moriarty, Anne Lockhart, Brad Hall, Gary Sandy, Jenny Beck, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Noah Hathaway, Phil Fondacaro, Shelley Hack, Sonny Bono

Synopsis: Lock the doors and pull out the weed-wacker for this house party of horror! One family is about to find out there's no place like home when a troublesome troll starts taking over their building, transforming each apartment into an overgrown garden of ancient evil and turning tenants into a horde of hairy hobgoblins! Michael Moriarty and Julia Louis-Dreyfus star in this super-slimy scare-fest that's "a special-effects pig-out" (Daily News)!

The original Troll film is a fun kids movie about a young girl named Wendy who is possessed by a wizard troll and his bid to break down the barriers between the troll world and the modern world, and of course this all takes place inside a small apartment in San Francisco. Classing up this b-movie slice of fantasy film making are the very cool special effects work from John Carl Buechler and his team, the main troll Torok is a full-on body suit with some great facial articulation, an expressive little beast with actor Phil Fondacaro (Ghoulies 2) beneath the make-up doing a bang-up job. Fondacaro also appearing in a dual role as a pint-sized professor who befriends the young Wendy, only to be transformed into a troll-creature himself. 

The movie has a great cast, we have the always awesome Michael Moriarty from Larry Cohen's The Stuff (1985) as Wendy's father Harry Potter - that's right, Harry Potter! Moriarty steals the show in my opinion in a strange scene as he dances along to Blue Cheer's "Summertime Blues" in a strange scene that has nothing to do with trolls whatsoever. His son Harry Potter Jr. (Noah Hathaway) seems to be the only one who recognizes that his sister is acting strange, with him on the receiving end of biting attacks and groin punches. With his parent's turning a blind eye to Wendy's increasingly erratic behavior he confides in a sweet old lady who lives in an upstairs apartment, Eunice, played by June Lockhart, of She-Wolf of London (1946) fame, she adds a wonderful, caring and magical flavor to the movie and tells young Harry about what's happened to his sister, and of brewing war between trolls and mankind, one with ancient origins and which she was part of. Eunice is a centuries old witch who has been standing guard at the gates of reality, enlisting the aid off Henry to protect the world from the evil troll Torok who seems about ready to declare war on mankind, yet again. 

This is just fun stuff, totally kiddie friendly movie and a great gateway film to introduce your kids to horror, right alongside Monster squad and The Gate. This is not a great film, but it's got a lot of heart and some memorable weirdness, including the appearance of sonny Bono as a swinging neighbor, and a pre-Seinfeld Julia Louis-Dreyfus. 

Special Features: 

- NEW The Making of TROLL Featuring Interviews With Director John Carl Buechler, Producer Charles Band, Writer Ed Naha, Composer Richard Band, Special Effects Artists John Vulich And Gino Crognale, Visual Effects Artists Jim Aupperle, James Belhovek, Linda Drake And Kevin Kutchaver (50 Mins) HD 
- Theatrical Trailer (3 Mins) HD 
- Behind The Scenes Still Gallery (1 Min) HD 

TROLL 2 (1991) 

Label: Scream Factory
Region Code: A
Rated: PG-13
Duration: 95 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo
Video: HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: Claudio Fragasso
Cast: Michael Stephenson, Connie Young, George Hardy, Margo Prey, Robert Ormsby

Synopsis: Those greedy goblins are back and hungrier than ever in this gourmet gross-out! Disguised as friendly country folk, a pugnacious posse of people-eating trolls lures visitors to their town. But a family of four is about to discover this place is a real tourist trap... and now, the no-good gnomes must be destroyed before the family gets flambéed... and the world becomes a buffet in this feeding frenzy of fear!

Five years after Troll came Troll 2 from Italian director Claudio Fragasso, a movie originally titles Goblins that had nothing to do with John Carl Buechler's original film, but the distributor slapped on the Troll 2 title to cash-in on Troll's success at the box office. widely regarded as one of the worst movies ever made, which is a fun thought, but this is not accurate. In fact, I have a pile of movies sitting right here within arm's reach which are infinitely worse movies, so bad in fact that I don't even want to review them because I typically choose to celebrate movies, not shit on them. 

Anyone who thinks this is the worst movie ever made simply has not seen enough movies, or the wrong types of movies, or are just not familiar with the other movie of Claudio Fragasso, for instance Hell of the Living Dead (1980), Rats: Night of Terror (1884) and Beyond Darkness (1990) - all of which are equally strange and poorly made, he was an exploitation director churning out some cheap knock-offs, they're not high art but they're not the worst movies ever made, they're nowhere near as bad as Manos:The Hands of Fate, but like that movie they're very entertaining for a myriad of awful reasons, but none are the WORST. It's also worth mentioning that all of these films have an audience and have been released on Blu-ray! 

The story such as it is concerns a nuclear family who arrange through nefarious means to swap homes with a rural family from the town of Nilbog, because the father Michael (George Hardy) has always dreamed of being a farmer, much to the chagrin of his teenage daughter Holly (McFarland) and son Joshua (Stephenson) who are in no hurry to trade in their city-life for farmer's tans. What they don't know is that Nilbog has been overrun by evil goblins who want to eat them. Before they can eat them they have to trick the family into consuming a green liquid which they bake into tasty treats. 

The young Joshua is haunted by visions of his dead grandfather Seth (Robert Ormsby) who warns him throughout the movie of the impending danger and the evil of the goblins. On the night they arrive in Nilbog the spectral grampa warns him to not let the family eat the green-tainted food left for them by the exchange family, with no other options the boy jumps up on the table and pisses all over the food! This is my favorite scene, and is followed by his father carrying the boy to his room while yelling how "you can't piss on hospitality!"

There's a b-story involving Holly's boyfriend  Elliot (Wright) and his friends who follow the family to the town of Nilbog, which *SPOILER* is Goblin spelled backwards! They have an encounter with the Goblin Queen Creedence Leonore Gielgud played by Deborah Reed, who looks, acts and sounds like she would make a fun horror-host on late-night TV. She tricks them into drinking the green liquid and they are transformed into human-plants with small branches sprouting from their fingertips, sweating green fluid, it's an oddly effective special effect, and in my younger years it definitely made my skin crawl. However, unlike Troll (1986) the creature effects are very poor, sad rubber-faced goblins (not trolls mind you!) who seem to be wearing a burlap sacks for clothing.

A lot of the weirdness of the movie comes from the fact that the Italian director and crew knew almost no English and the Italian written script was translated directly, and put into the mouths of non-actors, who then received little direction, they're doing the best they can, but with a clunky dialogue like "I'm the victim of a nocturnal rapture. I have to release my lowest instincts with a woman", there's just not much you can do with it. But some of the unintentional humor is classic stuff and has proven to keep fans coming back for more, time and time again. That bit where Elliot is punched in the nuts by Holly always makes me laugh, the part where he says that's how guys are turned homosexual, by being blasted in the nuts! 

Special Features: 

- NEW Audio Commentary With Actors George Hardy And Deborah Reed
- Theatrical Trailer


Label: Scream Factory
Region Code: 1
Rated: Unrated
Duration: 93 Minutes 
Audio: English Dolby Digital Surround 5.1, Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0  
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Director: Michael Stephenson
Cast: Margo Prey, Robert Ormsby, Rossella Drudi, Claudio Fragasso, Connie Young, Michael Stephenson, George Hardy

Also included with the first 5,000 copies of the Troll/Troll 2 Blu-ray is a DVD of Michael Stephenson's loving doc Best Worst Movie (2010) which minus many extras on the Troll 2 Blu-ray  offers pretty much anything you could ever want to know about the making of the cult-classic, a bittersweet look and the infamous awful movie. The doc is directed by former child star Michael Stephenson who played the freckle-faced boy Joshua in the movie, he sort of filters the experience through the eyes of actor George Hardy who played his hospitality respecting father in Troll 2, and has since become a successful dentist. 

It's a Hell of a fun watch with the varying stories of making the movie, some new it was awful, some had no idea and everyone is surprised by the cult-following the movie has garnered through the years, though director Fragasso doesn't seem to thrilled to hear people celebrating his movie as one of the worst movies ever made, even if they call it the "best" worst movie, and who can blame the guy, I imagine it takes a special mindset and brand of self awareness to not just appreciate, but to celebrate the fact that you've made a bad movie, and he made a lot of them. Every shitty movie should have a doc celebrating it that is this entertaining. 

The disc also includes a ton of special features which expand on the movie, including nearly an hour of deleted scenes and extended interviews, several music video tributes to the movie, and Q and A with the director and a very cool interview with the Goblin queen herself Deborah Reed who once again dons the wardrobe!

Special Features: 

- Deleted Scenes And Interviews (57 Mins)
- A Public Service Announcement From George Hardy (1 Min)
- Kingdom Of The Goblins (4 Mins) 
- Meat Noam Telnobody 2 (6 Mins) 
- Provocative Interview With Troll 2’s Goblin Queen, Deborah Reed (13 Mins)
- George Hardy Doesn’t Know My Name (4 Mins) 
- Monstrous Music Video (4 Mins) 
- Filmmaker Q and A with Creative Screenwriting Magazine (82 Mins) 
- Indie Trailer ( 2 Mins) 
- Filmmaker Bio 
- About Docurama
- Docurama Trailers (9 Mins) 

Another fun double-feature from Scream Factory with some great extras, that making of doc for Troll (1986) alone makes it worth a purchase, it might even be better than the actual movie itself, but I still love the movie. Troll 2 (1991) is not a good movie but it is most definitely not the worst movie ever made, but we'll keep letting the hipsters say it if it makes 'em happy. The fact that the first 5000 of these Blu-ray sets will include the Best Worst Movie (2010) doc is a nifty value-added bonus, I give this a high recommend if you're a fan of either of the movies, worth the upgrade. 3/5