“TROLL” / “TROLL 2” Double Feature (Blu-ray Review)Movies/TV,News,Reviews Ken W. Hanley
When it comes to the various scare fare fright fans subject themselves on a regular basis, there are only about three different categories these films can fall into. The first would be “good”, which would describe well-crafted, entertaining stories that can be a masterpiece at its best or, at the very least, fairly decent. The second would be “bad”, as in poorly-written and clumsily executed that can range from dull, lifeless dreck to the promising yet criminally flawed. The last would likely be “the weird”, comprised of the fantastical, bonkers, illogical, surreal or off-beat which is objectively not for everyone but could subjectively be some viewer’s favorite films. And it’s firmly in the latter category that Scream Factory’s Blu-ray double feature of TROLL and TROLL 2 exist, offering two movies that, while not necessarily the cream of the crop, are far too insane and imaginative to disregard.
For those unfamiliar, TROLL follows a family that moves into a new apartment complex, only for the young daughter to begin exhibiting aggressive, eccentric behavior. Little do they know that the daughter has been kidnapped and replaced by a shape-shifting troll, who aims to attack and transform the various tenants into mystical beings to aid his magical uprising. Soon, the youngest son of the family, Harry Jr., grows wise to the troll’s malicious ambitious and fights back with the helping of a neighboring witch. Driven by wild practical FX and humorous direction from John Carl Buechler, Troll is a bizarre exercise in fantastical horror that offers one of Empire Pictures’ more family friendly flicks.
Meanwhile, Claudio Fragrasso’s TROLL 2 has become a cult classic in its own right, loaded front to back with some of the most over-the-top, nonsensical campy horror ever put to film. TROLL 2 follows a family vacationing in an odd town called Nilbog, where the townsfolk (all of whom are secretly man-eating goblins) conspires against them and fellow travelers. With inane writing, cartoonish performances and hilariously FX work, TROLL 2 is, by most standards, pretty awful, but the passion and conviction that comes through elevates the cheesy material beyond face value.
For the high def enthusiasts out there, this TROLL double feature sports impressive transfers for both films, with each film getting a Dolby 2.0 mono mix that appropriately services their respective sound designs. For TROLL, the film has a new HD transfer that retains a healthy original film grain while clearly capturing the depth and detail of the picture. For TROLL 2, porting over the previous transfer from MGM’s Blu with slight adjustments, upping the brightness to present a more colorful picture than the previous HD iteration.
On the features side of this double feature, Scream Factory offers a fairly definitive set, even with a choice selection of extras. For TROLL, a newly produced, 50-minute making-of documentary represents the film, and especially its rather great FX, quite nicely, getting a look from about every department save for the cast. For TROLL 2, the main feature is a brand new commentary with actors George Hardy and Deborah Reed, filled with candid anecdotes (though most will be familiar to fans of BEST WORST MOVIE). Speaking of BEST WORST MOVIE, the documentary will be included as a bonus DVD on the first 5000 copies of this double feature, and that in itself is a fantastic addition to the films.
Overall, for people who prefer relics of an imaginative, if somewhat irreverent, time for family-friendly fright fare, look no further than this TROLL double feature. While each film appeals in its own right, especially the utterly incomprehensible TROLL 2, Scream Factory has given the films a surprisingly respectful release while offering something new for longtime fans of these cult classics.