Troll (1986)

troll poster 1986 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

The puppets are actually pretty good, fun

Story all over the place, anti-climatic ending

Movie Info

Movie Name: Troll

Studio: Empire Pictures

Genre(s): Horror/B-Movies

Release Date(s): January 17, 1986

MPAA Rating: PG-13

troll torok reading magazine 1986

Torok is up to date on all the Hollywood gossip

The Potters have moved into a new apartment, now Harry Potter, Jr. (Noah Hathaway) thinks something is wrong with his sister Wendy Anne Potter (Jenny Beck). She’s acting strange, shows superhuman strength, and is in general scary, but his parents Harry Potter, Sr. (Michael Moriarty) and Anne Potter (Shelley Hack) don’t see it all. Now, the people of the apartment building are disappearing one-by-one. When his neighbor Eunice St. Clair (June Lockhart and Anne Lockhart) tells Harry the truth about what his sister has become, he must venture into the fairy land to free Wendy and stop the evil troll Torok’s invasion.

Directed by John Carl Buechler, Troll was a horror fantasy.  The movie bombed at the box office but gained popularity on VHS where it gained a cult following.

Troll was one of those VHS movies we rented multiple times…kind of a go-to movie.  It wasn’t violent or dark enough to be a horror movie for adults nor was it tame enough for kids.  It was a fun little movie that might not be great, but it does have its moments.

troll julia louis dreyfus 1986

Yadda, yadda, yadda…I’m a nymph

The plot plays on different generic fairytale tropes and just grounds them into one storyline that is a little unsatisfying.  I like the idea of Torok trying to take over the apartment building a room at a time, but the process and the method seems rather unplanned and a roundabout way of doing it (like why didn’t he just take over the home of the Potters’ first?)

The casting is a really strange mix.  The fact that the characters are named Harry Potter of course now a big deal but obviously in 1986 it meant nothing.  Michael Moriarty and Shelley Hack are the parents who don’t seem too concern that their daughter (and son) have suddenly gone insane.  Noah Hathway brings his Neverending Story and Battlestar Galactica “fame” to Harry Potter Jr., but it is the guests of the house that are the stars with Sonny Bono and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (her first film).  Phil Fondacaro plays both Malcolm and Torok.  The smartest casting however is June Lockhart who de-ages into her daughter Anne Lockhart (who is also a Battlestar Galactica alum).

troll giant monster 1986

A giant monster…that doesn’t really do much intimidating

The movie both looks good and awful.  The actual design on the troll is fantastic, but some of the other ghouls and goblins are rather cheap.  The movie just moves to a generic field for the fantasy world and I wish that it was more developed and more…fantastic.

Troll actually almost works.  The movie feels like it is mostly baked but got taken out of the oven too soon leaving a sappy center.  That’s what is frustrating about Troll and why Troll is often tossed around for a remake.  Troll gained a cult following, but it’s straight-to-video sequel Troll 2 in 1990 gained an even greater following and even had a documentary made about it called Best Worst Movie in 2010.

Related Links:

Troll 2 (1990)

Best Worst Movie (2010)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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