Troll (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Carl Buechler
Written byEd Naha
Story byJoanna Granillo (uncredited)
Produced byAlbert Band
CinematographyRomano Albani
Edited byLee Percy
Music byRichard Band
Distributed byEmpire Pictures
Release date
  • January 17, 1986 (1986-01-17)
Running time
82 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States[2]
Budget$700,000−1.1 million[citation needed]
Box office$5.5 million[3]

Troll is a 1986 American horror comedy film directed by John Carl Buechler and produced by Charles Band of Empire Pictures, starring Noah Hathaway, Michael Moriarty, Shelley Hack, Jenny Beck, and Sonny Bono. The film was shot in Italy in the Stabilimenti Cinematografici Pontini studios near Rome.


The Potter family – Harry Sr. and Anne with teenage son Harry Jr. and young daughter Wendy – move into a new apartment complex in San Francisco. While unpacking, Wendy is attacked by a grotesque little creature wielding a magic ring. The troll captures Wendy and takes on her appearance. After meeting the other eccentric tenants, the family notices Wendy's unusual and aggressive behavior, but they attribute her behavior to the stress of the move. The troll goes from apartment to apartment transforming the tenants into fairy tale creatures (such as goblins, nymphs and elves) and their apartments into lush forests. Concerned by his sister's behavior, Harry Jr. seeks solace in the company of a mysterious old woman named Eunice St. Clair, who reveals herself to be a witch. Long ago, she and a powerful wizard named Torok were in love. At that time, the world was divided between fairies and humans. The realms were equal and independent of each other; however, Torok and some of the fairies challenged this balance, resulting in a great war in which the humans prevailed. Torok was mutated into a troll as punishment.

Torok seeks to regain his power, destroy humanity and recreate the fairy tale world he had once lived in. As Torok requires a princess, he is keeping Wendy alive. Eunice and Harry Jr. discover that all the apartments have been transformed into a part of the magical world. Eunice gives Harry Jr. a magic spear capable of killing the largest and most vicious creature in this world. Eunice is attacked by Torok and mutated into a tree stump, and Harry finds his sister trapped in a coffin of glass. Harry Jr. saves Wendy, but loses the magic spear when Torok's great batlike monster attacks.

Before the monster can kill Harry Jr. and Wendy, Torok kills it himself to spare Wendy, destroying his carefully constructed fairy realm. As the magic world collapses around them, Harry Jr. and his family are given a chance to escape, leaving just as the police arrive. Eunice is restored to normal as well as she bids Harry farewell and departs. As the police investigate the house, one of them is drawn into a remaining fragment of the alternate fairy world. Torok's arm rises into view, preparing to use his ring on the cop.



Box office[edit]

The estimated budget for Troll was between $700,000 and $1.1 million.[citation needed] Troll opened in the U.S. on January 19, 1986, on 959 screens, earning $2,595,054 that weekend. The film placed ninth on the box office charts for opening weekend.

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 30% based on 10 reviews, with an average rating of 3.67/10.[4] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 30 out of 100, based on 5 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[5]

Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote: "Troll has a knowing tone that's more smart-alecky than clever. And it hovers uncomfortably between comedy and horror, without ever landing decisively in either camp."[6] Variety gave a mixed review and called it "predictable, dim-witted premise executed for the most part with surprising style."[7] Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times called it "A clunky, poorly executed shocker."[8]


In 1986, Beck was nominated to 8th Youth in Film Association, for the exceptional performance by a Young Actress.


Troll's plot has no relation to the film Troll 2 or the two Troll 3 films, which are intended to be more horror than fantasy. Its first "sequel", Troll 2, produced under the title Goblins, is considered one of the worst films of all time,[9] and was retitled Troll 2 to cash in on the success of the original. Over time, it has developed a cult following.[citation needed]

The films Creepers (also known as Contamination .7 or The Crawlers) and Quest for the Mighty Sword (also known as Ator IV, Ator III: The Hobgoblin, or Hobgoblins) both adopted the name Troll 3 at some point as an alternate title despite neither having a plot relation to the two previous Troll films (with the exception that the Hobgoblin in Quest does resemble the Goblins in Troll 2).

In August 2011, rumors circulated of another sequel.[10] In July 2015, new plans arose in the form of a prequel, titled Troll: The Rise of Harry Potter Jr., along with an animated series. The film, starring Patricia Arquette and Baxter Bartlett, was supposed to be released in 2017, with the animated series broadcast on 2018.

Home media[edit]

Troll was released on a double feature DVD with Troll 2 by MGM on August 26, 2003.[11] Scream Factory released a double feature Blu-ray of Troll and Troll 2 on November 17, 2015. The first 5,000 copies included a DVD of Best Worst Movie, the documentary about the production and legacy of Troll 2.[12]

Similarity to Harry Potter[edit]

Since the release of the Harry Potter books starting in 1997, some of those involved in the film have accused J. K. Rowling of "borrowing" elements from Troll. Producer Charles Band stated in an interview that "there are certain scenes in Troll, not to mention the name of the main character, which predate the Harry Potter books by many years."[13] In 2008, John Buechler's partner in the Troll remake, Peter Davy, said about Harry Potter: "In John's opinion, he created the first Harry Potter. J. K. Rowling says the idea just came to her. John doesn't think so."[14]


  1. ^ "TROLL (15)". British Board of Film Classification. April 23, 1986. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
  2. ^ Troll at the American Film Institute Catalog
  3. ^ "Troll (1986)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 16, 2011.
  4. ^ "Troll (1986)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  5. ^ "Troll (1986) reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  6. ^ Maslin, Janet (January 17, 1986). "THE SCREEN: 'TROLL' (Published 1986)". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Variety Staff (January 1, 1986). "Troll". Variety.
  8. ^ Patrick Goldstein (January 17, 1986). "MOVIE REVIEW : 'TROLL': OUT FROM UNDER MONSTER PILE". Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ Collis, Clark (May 8, 2010). "The 'Troll' trilogy: Is this really the 'Best Worst' movie franchise of all time?". Entertainment Weekly.
  10. ^ "New HARRY POTTER Movie Announced... But It's A Remake Of TROLL". Birth. Movies. Death. August 23, 2011. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  11. ^ "Troll/Troll 2 DVD".
  12. ^ "Troll / Troll 2 [with Best Worst Movie on DVD]". Shout! Factory. November 17, 2015. Archived from the original on November 23, 2015.
  13. ^ "Charles Band interview with MJ Simpson (Part 2)". Archived from the original on May 10, 2008. Retrieved June 10, 2008.
  14. ^ Paul Heath (2008). "Helmer says he invented Harry Potter". The Hollywood News. Archived from the original on May 1, 2008. Retrieved June 10, 2008.

External links[edit]