Reviewed by Patrick Brogan
Rating: 4 Beans
his is one weird film, and I've seen plenty of them. I would have to classify this film as one of the most bizarre of all-time. Horror production
assistant John Carl Buechler directs this film that
cashes in on the GREMLINS craze about a troll in modern day San Francisco who tries to take over the world with trolls.
The Potter's are a family that just moved into a city apartment in San Francisco. There's Harry Potter Jr. (played by Noah Hatahaway from NEVERENDING STORY fame) and Harry Potter Sr. (Michael Moriarty) I wonder if that is where J.K. Rowling got the name for her famous character in her series of books? Along with mother Anne Potter (former CHARLIE ANGEL Shelly Hack) and little sister Wendy Potter (Jenny Beck). Within a few minutes of moving into their new resident, Wendy is immediately possessed by the Troll that lives in the basement. Is there ever a time that a troll lives in the attic, or garden, or even the bathroom?
But the family notices that little Wendy is acting strange, she gobbles down a hamburger like a pig, she takes her older brother's cup of o.j., she even
picks him up with one hand and throws him across the kitchen, and I don't think Harry Jr. is going to be bragging about that story to his friends.
What makes this a weird film is what the little troll that is disguised like Wendy does to the other tennants in the apartment complex. First there's Peter Dickinson (the late Sonny Bono) a man who is the opposite of a ladies man. Troll helps herself into his pad and messes around with his stuff. A minute later the troll with his ring turns
Peter into a pod, and when the pod opens it shoots out greenery and veins around the pad, then little
trolls come out from the pod, weird. Then the troll
attacks former Marine dim-wit Barry Tabor (WKRP's Gary Sandy) she also turns him into a pod that shoots out veins and sprouts a troll that looks like a pig. Then she turns friendly aspiring actress Jeanett Cooper (Seinfield's Juila Louis-Dreyfus) into a nymph, and her boyfriend William Daniels (Julia's real life husband Brad Hall) into a slimy creature. And the troll turns English professor Malcolm Mallory (Phil Fondacaro) a midget who is dying of leukemia into a small elf. See I told you this is one weird flick.
Then there's the story behind the troll, it seems that old spinster Eunice St. Clair (Lost In Space's June Lockhart) is actually a wizard from the middle ages who is there to stop the troll from taking over the world. And when it's time for battle, old Eunice turns into a young and pretty Euince (June Lockhart's daughter Anne Lockhart). With Harry Jr. and Eunice, they both try their hardest to save the world from the trolls.
There are plenty of scary scenes in this film. I don't mean scary like it will give you nightmares, but scary like it's disturbing. I don't know which scene is the most disturbing, Sonny Bono's character expanding and turning into a pod, Gary Sandy's god-awful performance, or Michael
Moriarty dancing around singing a awful cover version of Eddie Cocharan's "Summer Time Blues." But there is a few plus scenes, one is Juila Louis-Dreyfuss running around wearing only ivy (whoa momma!) and seeing Anne Lockhart in every scene she's in. But all in all this is a movie that is suppose to be tacky, but it's not fun, it's just weird. How is one suppose to act when they see people turning into pods that shoot out trolls? And these trolls, they are green, gross, and sing a little song, hey just like those other green and gross creatures that sing and wrecked havoc on Kingston Fall two years earlier in GREMLINS.
As for little Jenny Beck's performance as the possessed Wendy she was awful. She was so awful that I just wanted to slap her for hours until she was dead. She was very annoying, and to see Michael Moriarty and Shelley Hack keep saying, "Wendy what's wrong with you?" Well, duh!
She's not normal, take her to a bloody doctor. But no, both parents claim it's a case of the "moving symptom." Yeah, I checked that symptom out in Sigmund Freud's book of symptom's. Moving symptom- where one growls a lot, gobbles down hamburgers,
throws and knocks out older siblings, and turns fellow tennants into disgusting green pods. Hhmmm,
I think the last person that had that symptom was Ozzy Osbourne.
But if weird and twisted is your kind of movie, I mean the kind of movie where you see familar faces turn into grotesque things, then this is your kind of movie. As for me, I don't like seeing that stuff, so I thought it was twisted, not horrible, just twisted.
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