All right all you Potterheads heads hangin’ around out there in The Leaky Cauldron or Hogsmeade, riddle me this. Where was the first appearance of a character named Harry Potter first appear? The cleverer amongst you probably already suspect that I ain’t talkin’ about some TERF with an overrated fantasy series who she lost control of her own plot around book 3. No, the first time someone named Harry Potter appeared was 1986 in an Empire flick called, wait for it…
Obviously one of the main reasons to ever talk about Troll is that to set up a reason to talk about not just the fantabulous spectacle that is Troll 2 (1990), but also to get to both versions of Troll 3. And I don’t mean two edits of the same movie. No no no, there are two, count ’em, two separate Troll 3 movies from the early 90s. So yeah…something to look forward to.
But Troll… Well for one thing, as you’ll soon see, wowzers what a cast.
See, a guy named (ready?) Harry Potter (Michael Moriarty) moves into an apartment building with his wife Anne (Shelly “god she looks familiar but I whenever I see her I can’t remember where else I saw her” Hack), daughter Wendy (Jenny “Wow she looks like Heather O’Rourke from Poltergeist” Beck), and son (ready?) Harry Potter Jr. (Noah “Atreyu two years previous in The Neverending Story who went on to become, among other things, a kickass martial artist” Hathaway). See what I mean about the cast? But wait, there’s more a’comin’ right soon.
Whilst all the movin’ in activities are underway, Wendy goes exploring/looking for her striped bouncy ball. Naturally this leads her to the basement where, naturally, our titular troll abducts her and assumes her shape. Like ya do. She of course starts acting weird, and in true 1950s The Blob, “don’t listen to the kids” fashion, the only person troubled by this is Harry Jr.
Right, so the Wendytroll now has access to the rest of the residents, specifically Sonny Bono, Barry Sandy (WKRP‘s Andy Travis), and, in her first appearance, a très 80s coiffed and later plastic ivy clad Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Oh, and the troll has a magic ring. That’s what makes all this jocularity possible. From there, said troll begins to convert the building into his own private faerie land. Like ya do.
Harry Jr. soon meets up with Eunice St. Clair (June “Lost In Space” Lockhart), a witch who tells him the story of how, wwwaaayyy back in the day, there was a detente betwixt the human and faerie worlds, but the wizard Torok (with whom she was in love) sought to upset this equilibrium. He failed, and was turned into the troll (bearing a striking resemblance to Hoggle from Labyrinth the same year) who’s now engaged in the current shenanigans.
Eunice gives Harry Jr. a spear that will allow him to kill the troll’s Big Bad Guardian Bat Thingy (BBGBT ™). He fails. In the process Eunice gets turned into a tree stump. Unfortunately, the BBGBT turns on Harry Jr. and Wendy, but when it comes down to the come-down, Torok ultimately chooses to, spoilers, kill it himself and sacrifice his newly constructed fairie world to save her. Like ya do.
“And so, having disposed of the monster, exit our hero through the front door stage right, none the worse for his harrowing experience” (one of my all-time favorite Bugs Bunny quotes by the way). As the police begin pokin’ around in the wreckage, one of them happens into a surviving bit of the troll’s realm. We end with a hand raising up in front of the cop and the aforementioned magic ring. Who doesn’t love a “potential for a sequel” ending?
Finally, I gotta wonder what might have been had Full Moon been a part of these sequels. The late John Carl Buechler, sometimes as director, often as special makeup effects artist, was certainly no stranger to the glorious house of Charles Band, and pulls of some nifty creature work in Troll and lots of other features. Oh well. A lad can dream.
SKULLS- 12 (normally I’d give this 7 or 8 for just bein’ a fun, entertaining little slice of 80s goodness, but it paves the way for so much magnificent future badness that higher accolades are in order)
BODIES- 4 onscreen, 1 off
Streaming- Pluto, Prime, YouTube
Rent- Apple TV, Google Play, Prime, Vudu