When we promise midgets, we deliver midgets. We are the most midget-friendly network on cable. We love the little people. Dwarves, elves, the little elfin ones. We love em all. You'll see what I'm talkin about tonight, only on MonsterVision. Check it out
We have this movie tonight...you know, people don't believe this when I tell em...we have this movie tonight called "Troll," where Sonny Bono gets attacked by fungus-faced midgets and turned into a giant caesar salad with a bad singing voice. Now, I realize this is roughly what Cher did to him in the divorce settlement, but we have it with a lot more slime-spewing. And then our second feature is "Trancers," another great low-budget 80s movie that doesn't make a lick of sense. This is another one of our theme nights on MonsterVision, the theme is "Movies that start with TR." Troll and Trancers. The programing guys were drunk and said, "Oh, Hell, what are the next two on the alphabetical list?" That would be Trancers and Troll. Mix it up so they don't know how we came up with it, show Troll first.
Anyway, I'm Joe Bob Briggs and I have a new rule for surviving in the modern world. This is what I want to talk about tonight. Never date a woman between the ages of 37 and 41. You know why? The dinner conversation is likely to go like this. You say, "That's a beautiful dress you're wearing." She says, "You think it's sexy? Perhaps you'd like to fertilize my ovum tonight." See, these women think they have to have a baby within the next 5 minutes or their life will be over, even the ones who already have babies! So if you happen to be caught in their cross-hairs, you could all of a sudden find yourself waking up the next morning next to the teddy bear on her chenille bedspread screaming, "Oh my God, wht'd I do?"
You know what's really sick about it? Some of em don't even want a husband. If they could get away with it, they'd get you to plant that seed, and then they'd catch a Greyhound bus to Alaska, and raise the kid among the Eskimos. And if he ever grew up and started asking about his father, she'd say something to him like, "Oh, he was that guy back in Texas who didn't love you." Well of course he didn't love you, he didn't know you existed! We've got women all over the lot, pulling a Madonna and deciding, "I want a little human being in my life." Course that doesn't mean that 6 years from now when those car payments start piling up and the little bugger's enrolled in montessori school, she might not miraculously find your phone number and suggest that you're a worthless scumdog for not sending $9000 a month for your son's education.
But I've got a better idea. Why don't we just find one guy, preferably some dim-witted hunk named Enzio who likes women who're 37 to 41...we hire him to impregnate all of these ladies. I mean, the meanest judge in the world is not gonna make him pay child support for 700 kids! And meanwhile, it'll be fun for Enzio. I mean, we can have the ladies give him plenty of orange juice, buy him a little vitamin E from time to time, take him to dinner on the night before they start ovulating...and that way the rest of us would be out of danger, you know what I mean? See, I'm still not ready for the 90s. And the 90s are almost gol-durn over, aren't they?
Speaking of people who appear to be acting under the influence of radioactive green slime, this week's flick is "Troll," the story of a family that moves into a new apartment and signs a lease, without asking whether there are monsters in the laundry room first. So they deserve everything they get when Torok the Troll possesses the body of their little snitty daughter and starts going door-to-door, turning people into botany experiments and trashing their apartments with jungle vines.
Fortunately, June Lockhart is the good witch living upstairs, playing with her pet mushroom and saying,
"Remember when I was on Lassie?"
We're talking condo vegimatics.
Let's take a look at those drive-in totals:
Nine dead bodies (five trolled to death)
Two breasts (we will not be seein breasts on TNT, I have to point that out every week)
Two quarts blood
Three great mush-face transformation scenes
Eight beasts, including Sonny Bono
Gratuitous Shelley Hack
And with a special appearance by a pre-"Seinfeld" Julia Louis-Dreyfuss as the nekkid nympho in the forest
Two and a half stars. Check it out. We're gonna be here all night, showing classics from the vault of Empire Pictures, the lowest-budget studio in Hollywood throughout the 80s. Roll it.
Commercial Break #1
Well, I promised Sonny Bono and as you can see, we delivered Sonny Bono. Sonny, as a jaded liquer-guzzling playboy. This is one of about a dozen film roles Sonny has had beginning with the immortal "Good Times" (1967), and including such classics as "Murder In Music City" (made for TV, 1979) and Airplane 2 with William Shatner (as commander of the Moon). And... is Sonny still the Mayor of Palm Springs by the way? Does anybody know?
[stagehand offscreen] "Congressman!"
JB: Congressman! Sonny Bono, U.S. Congressman. Representative Sonny Bono is who we're talking about tonight. Those who remember the 70s will recall that Sonny & Cher used to have a new TV show every year and then it'd get cancelled every year... and then they'd start it up all over again:
The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour (1971-74)
The Sonny Comedy Review (1974)
"Cher," that was the whole name of that show - just "Cher" (1975).
And the Sonny & Cher Show (1976/77). That's the one they did after they realized that separately they couldn't make it in TV, and they had to be together for people to watch em. Only by that time they were divorced, and Cher had a baby by another guy and, wasn't it Greg Allman? Only she was already divorced from him by the time the baby was 3 months old, and they were trying to use their daughter Chastity on the show, fighting over her, "No she's gonna be on my show," no, "She's gonna be on my show!"
And all this happened in about 6 years, and then suddenly - it was over. Enough Sonny & Cher. Forget it, we're sick of it, stop. Which is why, less than ten years later, you find Sonny doing a bit character part in "Troll."
Back to the movie
[fading] See, we take care of you here at MonsterVision. I got you babe. You know who was on some of those Sonny & Cher shows? The great Flip Wilson. Loved him. See, Sonny & Cher were trying to do comedy, and neither one of them has a comic bone in their bodies. And so they hired a bunch of comic actors, to surround them on those shows. Murray Langston, later known as The Unknown Comic. Teri Garr, great comedianne - actress; "Shields & Yarnell"... you know, I almost went thru the rest of my life without remembering that Shields & Yarnell exist. But now it's too late. I got you, babe
Commercial Break #2
Hey wait a minute! Those ugly little trolls look exactly like the "Ghoulies" from last week's movie Ghoulies! I don't guess that has anything to do with this movie being produced by the same guy, Charles Band, and released by the same company, Empire Pictures, and directed by John Carl Buechler, the special effects guy who created the ghoulies and would go on to direct "Ghoulies 3: Ghoulies Go To College."
Nah...they wouldn't just stick those puppets in a warehouse for 2 years and then say, "Well, everybody's forgotten about these things by now, let's call them--Trolls. And we'll distract them by turning Sonny Bono into a black & blue slime-glopola-vegetable pod that sprouts out into a misty jungle."
And what was the other plot element in "Ghoulies" last week? Friendly midgets. Right? What've we got here? A gol-dang friendly midget, in this movie. The talented Phil Fondacaro as the dwarf who befriends the little girl. What you may not have noticed is that Phil is playing a double role: he's also the troll, in that special effects make-up. Why hire two midgets, when you can find a real versatile midget!
In other words, they ripped off their own movie, only they went over to Italy so they could make it for half the cost, and they only used one midget instead of two. They thought they'd fool us, didn't they? But see, they didn't count on the eternal vigilance of the MonsterVision Research Department. So that I can now say to you with authority, these are recycled slime-puppets. I'm appalled. Roll film
[fading] Sometimes they don't even bother to paint enough slime on the side of the creature to cover up the latex seam on there. I mean, there's low budget, and then there's let's get real, here. My little sister can make better movies than this and she doesn't even have a camera. Crayola flip charts, is what she does.
Commercial Break #3
I think this movie would be worth watching just for one scene. That scene where Michael Moriarty as Harry Potter's dad Harry Potter, Sr., dances around the living room to Blue Cheer's loud rendition of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues." That little groove-dance is hysterical and Michael Moriarty is giving his usual quirky interesting performance. He's kind of a man born to wear a pork-pie hat, if you know what I mean. Anyway, you know we just had him a few weeks back in his quirkiest performance of all time "It's Alive 3: Island of the Alive," sequel to It's Alive, and "It Lives Again." And he's made a lot of off-beat Larry Cohen fliks like Q, The Winged Serpent (1982), and The Stuff (1985). And he gave the performance of his life in a little low-budget film that practically nobody saw, called The Hanoi Hilton (1987, not Jane Fonda's favorite docu-drama). But early in his career, he was strictly an A-movie guy. He made The Last Detail, and Bang The Drum Slowly, and then he went to New York and pretty much devoted his career to the stage. And now he lives up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which is just about as quirky as you can get. Michael Moriarty, the quirkmeister. Roll it
[fading] Oh yeah, here's the part where we're supposed to feel enormous love & respect for the midget. I guess they felt guilty for making the midget so evil, in "Ghoulies." But this is sort of like, the good-hearted midget. So, fine. That's fine with me. No dwarf-bowling in this movie
Commercial Break #4
Yes indeed, that was Julia Louis-Dreyfuss running nekkid thru a jungle. But not only that, they guy who's chasing her thru that jungle is Brad Hall, her husband in real life! So what I'm wondering is, I wonder what mom and dad say, if little 5-year-old Henry one day says, "I wanna watch this movie Troll on late night cable."
Cause it...actually Julia and Brad have worked together almost their entire lives. They were buddies at Northwestern University, they worked together on Saturday Night Live, they've lived together since 1981, they've been married since 1987. He's a very successful TV writer now, he produced that series, "Brooklyn Bridge." And now he's the Executive Producer of "The Single Guy," is that still on? Single Guy? Did that go off? I don't remember. OK, it's off. But the reason they were hired for "Troll" is that they agreed to stay for the whole 5-week shoot, even though they were only paid for a couple of days at the beginning and a couple of days at the end. Now why would they do that? Cause the movie was shooting in Rome and they wanted a free vacation, isn't that cute? OK, back to "Troll."
[fading] Julia's great-great-grandfather founded the Louis-Dreyfuss Group, financial services, you know? Her father is Chairman of the Dreyfuss Group. So it's like, she's probably one of the highest paid actresses in television. But when she calls Daddy on the phone, she says, "I have my own money now Daddy, it's from this show called Sienfeld. We made a pretty good deal this year."
And he says, "How much? Uh-huh. Well isn't that cute, a little acting job."
Cause the Dreyfuss Group, it's like, here's Germany, here's Japan, and then third in assets would be the Dreyfuss Group. They don't know how much money it has cause nobody's got time to count it. So she's calling, "Hi Dad, I'm over in Rome, I'm making this movie called Troll, and it's 200 a day!"
And Dad goes, "Very good, daughter. 200 Thousand is not bad at all for a day's work."
Commercial Break #5
So June Lockhart lets down her hair and becomes Anne Lockhart. Wasn't that cute, how they did that? June was pretty old, even when this movie came out. She's one of those actresses who has worked in seven decades, you know? She was in A Christmas Carol, in 1938. I guess her hay-day was in the 50s when she did "Lassie," and Lost In Space in the 60s, and then by the 80s she was doing this low-budget stuff like this movie, and Chud 2: Bud The Chud, remember that movie? She did a movie called "Dead Women In Lingerie" (1990), remember that movie? Also known as "Wives." Only kidding. Remember what June Lockhart did in Petticoat Junction? Speaking of 60s TV, she was Doctor Janet Craig on there.
Anyhow, she just gave the kid (Harry Potter Jr.) a magic golden sword, but it might be too late to save the midget English professor who goes around reciting bad poetry, because it looks to me like he's already a really nasty-looking half-vegetable, half-elf kind of thing. So, let's see what they do with this as we watch the conclusion of "Troll."
[fading] You know, this looks like a small movie, but in January of 1986, when it opened on a thousand movie screens...do you realize how many screens that is? I think they thought people would like it because of the midget, you know? But why did they build up the midget, make us feel sorry for the midget, and then turn him into a plant! More important, will we get to see Julia Louis-Dreyfuss again and will she still be nekkid? That's what I want to know.
Commercial Break #6
Hey, Joe Bob Briggs still here. Pretty good final sequence there, as the snarling pig-faced, toothy, hairy-winged fuzz monster is electricuted by Torok the immortal Troll. Say that 5 times fast. Anyhow, kind of a convenient way to set up a sequel, isn't it? And there were not one, but two sequels: "Troll 2," and then the third one was not called "Troll 3." At the last minute they changed the name to Crawlers. I guess the marketing value of that "Troll" name had pretty much petered out.
Alright, so much for little midget demons taking over San Francisco apartment buildings. Next week on MonsterVision we got another big double feature. We've got Phantasm 2 with the Tall Man, creeping around thru the cemeteries, digging up bodies, reanimating them. Very good movie. That's actually our 2nd feature, our first one is a classic of the 80s, Child's Play, the original Chucky the killer doll flick, about a doll possessed by the spirit of dead serial killer Brad Dourif. Very scary week. Good week.
A man appears at the pearly gates. Just as St. Peter is about to interview him, the man disappears. A moment later, he's back, then disappears again. When he appears a third time, St. Peter says "Are you playing games with me?"
"No, they're trying to resuscitate me."
"Troll" was followed on MonsterVision 10-4-97 by:
Trancers (1985), starring Helen Hunt of Twister and Tim Matheson as a cop in the 23rd century (no host segments available);
and the 100% Wierd feature:The Three Worlds Of Gulliver (1960, a minor masterpiece of special effects)
"Troll" is available on DVD from Amazon.com
And of course books about that other Harry Potter
Trivia (Courtesy the Internet Movie Data Base)
* On Wendy's wall is a poster for John Carl Buechler's previous film, The Dungeonmaster (1985)
* The picture of Gawain in his human form (before being turned into a mushroom) that Eunice St. Clair shows to Harry Potter Jr. is in reality a caricature of the film's director, John Carl Buechler
* The hero of this film is a boy named Harry Potter and he is surrounded by a fantasy world of witches, wizards and magic - more than a decade before J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels swept the publishing world
If you like "Troll," IMDB.com also recommends Rosemary's Baby, though I don't see the resemblence myself.
Host segment transcript of 10-4-97 broadcast
Mike Nelson and his MST3000 friends look at sequel Troll 2
(click twice to play clip)
MonsterVision host segments for Gremlins, or Ghoulies, or Critters, or
MST-3000 host segments for Hobgoblins
June Lockhart was also Lost In Space
Whatever happened to dwarves?
Back to Monstervision
©1997 Turner Network Television. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved
Original “tnt.turner.com/monstervision” archives have been erased. Mis-spellings in above restored transcribed script can be blamed on Bill Laidlaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Congressman Sonny Bono? What's next, Governor Schwarzenegger after Total Recall?