JANUARY 27, 2008
I would have loved to have seen the reaction of the person who had to read the script for Troll and then decide he/she would put his/her money into actually making the goddamn thing. How would a non-little kid or severely brain damaged adult react to reading “The little girl runs around the house yelling "Ratburgers!" and other nonsense, as the ex-mayor of Palm Springs explains that the kid’s noisemaking could impact his swinging lifestyle” (not a direct script quote)?
I’ll tell you how I reacted. I muttered “maybe I should watch something else”, but then the non-ex-mayor character revealed that his name was Harry Potter, which reminded me of the film’s unintentional notoriety. Yes, despite coming a good decade and change before JK Rowling’s internationally beloved tomes of Satanism and pre-pubescent sexual escapades (though I am told that the versions I read are in fact “slashfic” and not the real ones, something I have yet to investigate), the lead character in this ridiculously stupid movie is Harry Potter, a young lad who is given dangerous things to do by elderly batshit adults, fights monsters small and large, and dabbles in magic. Some folks accuse JK of stealing from this movie, but honestly, I’m sure she had better things to do than watch this goddamn thing.
The problem with the movie is that is apparently aimed only at ironic 20 somethings who saw it as a kid. A young kid would (or should) be a bit baffled about all the things that happen in the film (such as when a troll turns Julia Louis Dreyfuss into a tree and tries to fuck her, or something), but an adult would just be appalled at, well, the idea of a kid’s movie in which a troll tries to fuck a tree version of Julia Louis Dreyfuss.
Still, there’s something a tiny bit endearing about the whole thing. Early on, Harry Potter is looking for his sister, when he suddenly says, apropos of nothing, “Have you been playing with dead cats?” There’s also a midget who draws bunnies, a weeping mushroom, an old lady with an apparent chronic addiction to making pancakes, the aforementioned Sonny Bono as a swinger (he gets turned into a tree too, in fact just about everyone in this movie except for the Potter family turns into some sort of plant), a few trolls that are obviously paper mache puppets, etc.
And then, of course, there’s the song. The way this thing is worked into the film is nothing short of astounding. At first it’s just the film’s score, so we think nothing of it. Then, suddenly, softly, the trolls begin singing in hushed tones, which we see for a few seconds before cutting back to the midget guy delivering some exposition. Then the trolls go all out, belting out the lyrics (which I cannot understand for the life of me) in full force. It just sort of sneaks up on you, and then ends all too soon. That might sound like I am describing an orgasm, but really, that’s pretty much what this song is, albeit in John Carl Buechler-directed low-budget musical form.
Speaking of Buechler (who sort of appears in the film, in a painting), between this and Friday the 13th part 7 (the absolute worst of the Paramount era) I think it’s safe to say he should stick to makeup effects. And he should take Robert “Buried Alive, The Rage, and Wishmaster” Kurtzman with him.
What say you?