Troll (1986)


Day 7 of 31


Troll  (Fantasy, Horror,  1986) (15) D: John Carl Buechler W: John Carl Buechler (story) Ed Naha (written by)  C: Michael Moriarty, Shelley Hack, Noah Hathaway, Phil Fondacaro. 1h 22m. USA/Italy.

Synopsis : A wicked troll king in search of a mystical ring that will return him to his human form invades a San Francisco apartment complex where a powerful witch lives.

TAGLINE : Apartment for Rent, Inquire Within…

Melding whimsical fantasy with outlandish horror, Troll will entertain you with a fairy tale atmosphere, and gross you out with the vile little creatures and their habits.

The basis revolves around the fears of moving into a new building and having to associate with a whole new group of strangers. Add to the mix an actual troll, a quirky solitary witch who lives with her tutor who is now a mushroom and an age old battle of good and evil and all of your worst fears of moving into a new property are probably quite tame.

The Potter family,including their son Harry (yes Harry Potter ) have to downsize into a new apartment. The only teething problem is that his cute and adorable sister is soon nabbed by a troll king who transforms into the little cutie in order to move around the apartment to try and find a magical key. Harry is soon aware that his sister isn’t herself and seeks help from ? An elderly witch who has battled the troll before.

While this is classed as a horror, a large part of it is in the fantasy /magic realm. As the film progresses the trolls enchantment starts to change the environment and he interacts with his little troll buddies who look a lot like the Ghoulies (1984).

The creature feature aspect of the movie and the troll/cute kid character opens the plot up for a lot of mischief.

One oddity of the movie is what it doesn’t include, namely a bridge or anything to do with Scandinavian folklore, albeit they aren’t the only troll history but I think it would have helped the story a little. Its nice to give the audience something to chew on. But in the same approach as Elves (1989), we’re merely presented with a name and a whole new ethos is created for the character.

As most of the main cast including three villain are about 3 foot tall and can’t be trusted, the screenplay is pretty simple and filled with double entendres. For most of the movie the angelic child who is possessed by a Troll seems quite nice but let’s face it, she’s doing some pretty horrible things to people

The score is cute and fairy like, as you’d expect from an 80s fantasy movie. It’s something in a similar vein to the jovial scenes in Legend (1985) Without the grander more sinister aspects added in by the marvelous Tangerine Dream.


Harry Potter jr (Noah Hathaway) and the witch (Joan Lockheart) are pretty good, solid characters, well developed all round, mom and pops are great, obviously and totally useless to the plot but convincing. The film is stolen by the toll/cute little girl, who strangely looks like the girl scout from the Addams Family (1991). While it’s being acted by two people, I have to merit both Jenny Beck For her ingenious approach to a dual character  I like how she can change character almost in an instance, one minutes she’s pretty sweet then she’s sprouting shit like “I know what death looks like. It looks like *this*!” and Phil Fondacaro who did a marvelous job as the mythical king. This character is where all the horror happens, while the troll is hunting for a magical ring (I know it sounds silly) he’s systematically picking off anyone standing in his way by turning them into mythical creatures as according to their personalities until Eunice (the good witch) starts to gear up for a final showdown. Magical battle commence.

John Carl Buechler filmed this cult classic soon after his debut  Sci Fi Fantasy The Dungeonmaster (1984), the entire film, despite being set in San Francisco was filmed entirely in Italy, but then as most of it is inside of the apartment it could honestly be anywhere. For me the scene that really captured my imagination and the film was when Harry is starting to think that something is up with his sister and as they share a room he’s sat quietly getting ready for bed, he looks over and there is a fuck of massive troll waving to him he hides, looks back and it’s his sister, then his parents sort of turn out the lights. For me being quite young when I first saw this, that sent me on a paranoia trip for some time. Luckily I didn’t share a room otherwise I’d never sleep again. But it’s the subtle yet disturbing events the children have to go through in this movie that makes it all that much more scary.

Providing you’ve got a dates sense of humor and would enjoy seeing Sonny Bono mutate into a tree then give it a go…

V: Let’s face it I like movies that are on the bizarre and horror scale and while this is slightly ridiculous it still warms my cockles to see it after all these years. Is it horror, well yes but it probably would only pull a few laughs out of a 12 year old these days, unless that 12 year old has to share a room with a crazy younger sibling. No one understands kids (hell I have a degree is Child Psychology) but at the end of the day they come across as being weird. I really enjoy the fact that the possession isn’t a religious one but instead it’s a Troll and one with a sick sense of humor and who is a connoisseur of Ratburgers!!.


Rating –  7/10

R: Troll 2 (1990), Ghoulies (1984), The Gate (1987), Leprechaun (1993)

L: Selected Troll movies,

PD : Post Discussion

VS: Troll vs Leprechaun

2 thoughts on “Troll (1986)”

  1. I remember watching Troll as a very young kid and completely shutting my pants, not literally of course! Although I would have only been around 7 when it made it into the video shop over on the main road. #Nostalgia

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