- 1 hr 22 min
In 1986, director John Carl Buechler released his fantasy horror film "Troll." The movie follows the Potter family who moves into an apartment building in San Francisco. The youngest daughter, Wendy, soon discovers a mysterious creature that lives in the building's basement. This creature is a troll who transforms the residents of the apartment building into mythical creatures. The film opens with Harry Potter (played by Michael Moriarty), a struggling musician and his wife Anne (played by Shelley Hack) moving into a new apartment with their young daughter Wendy (played by Jenny Beck). Wendy is excited to explore the building and meets other tenants, including a kind neighbor named Eunice St. Clair (played by June Lockhart). Wendy discovers a strange door in the building's basement and begins to hear voices coming from it. She opens the door, and a mysterious green smoke pours out. The smoke transforms her into a fairy, and she flies around the apartment. She also meets the troll who lives in the basement. Meanwhile, strange things begin to happen to the other tenants in the building. One woman transforms into a tree, another into a fierce forest creature. Harry becomes obsessed with the troll and starts to spend all his time in the basement, neglecting his family duties. As more tenants transform into mythical creatures, the family and Eunice try to figure out what is happening. Through the course of the movie, the Potter family must rescue Wendy and put an end to the transformation spell before it's too late. They also encounter Harry's estranged son, a wizard named Harry Jr. (played by Noah Hathaway), who arrives to help them. The film hinges on the fantastic animatronic and puppeteering effects used to bring the troll and other creatures to life. The troll itself has bulbous eyes, a pointed nose, and a mischievous grin that gives it an unsettling, yet charming, presence. The other creatures, from the tree lady to the ogre, are equally well executed, and provide an eerie and otherworldly atmosphere to the film. In addition to the effects, the performances from the cast are noteworthy. Moriarty is perfectly cast as the eccentric father, whose obsession with music and the troll drives him to the brink of madness. Hack's portrayal of Anne is a strong contrast to her husband, providing a grounding force that drives the story forward. Hathaway's portrayal of Harry Jr. adds another dimension to the film, as his character embodies both the magic and seriousness needed to solve the problem at hand. One thing that sets Troll apart from other horror/fantasy films of the time is its light-heartedness. The movie never takes itself too seriously, with plenty of comedic moments, particularly from the bumbling building superintendent (played by Phil Fondacaro). While the film does have its moments of horror, it errs on the side of fantasy and magic, making it more accessible to a family audience. Overall, "Troll" offers an imaginative foray into the world of fantasy horror. While not a masterpiece, the film delivers on its premise and provides an entertaining watch. It's a fun and quirky film that will satisfy fans of the fantasy and horror genres alike.