We’re almost done with our special week of Buried Credits, a column that dives deep into the IMDB pages of favorite actors, directors, and writers to find their lost, forgotten, or unknown film and TV credits. This week, in honor of the upcoming Halloween holiday, instead of just looking at one person’s early or forgotten work, we’re looking at famous firsts in horror movies.
Today’s “frightful first” is….
Although she’s been in plenty of TV shows like The New Adventures of Old Christine and Veep and being the youngest female member of the Saturday Night Live cast, Julia Louis-Drefus is always going to be known as Elaine from Seinfeld. However, she’s also been in, or lent her her voice to, a number of films. She was a neighbor to the Griswolds in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, was the voice of Rochelle in the movie Planes and one of Woody Allen’s fictional characters in Deconstructing Harry, but before she was the voice of Princess Atta in A Bug’s Life, Louis-Drefus was in a movie called…
Directed by John Carl Buechler
Written by Ed Naha
Alright, Troll isn’t really a horror movie. Fantasy is probably a more accurate genre to slide it into, but since IMDB lists horror as one of the genres it’s indexed under, we’re going to give it a little leeway so we can count it.
So… Troll. Well, if you’ve never seen Troll but for some reason HAVE seen Troll 2 or Troll 3, let me put your mind at ease by saying this movie has absolutely nothing to do with either of them. What it DOES have is a nearly naked Julia Louis-Dreyfus giggling and prancing around in the woods and for some, that might be enough.
Troll is about the Potter family (including dad, Harry, and son, Harry, Jr.!!), moving into an apartment building in San Francisco. The Potter daughter, Wendy, is then possessed by a former wizard-turned-troll named Torok who intends to transform the building into a new realm of faeries, goblins and other beasties by transforming each of the tenants into woodland, fantasy creatures according to their personalities and their apartments into fantasy worlds. But Harry Potter, Jr. and one of the tenants, Eunice St. Clair, is a witch who tells Harry how to stop the troll. Before we go any further, an aside is required here: Harry Potter, a wizard, a witch and mythological critters – maybe it’s just me but these sounds like elements that would make a great series of young Adult books. Someone should get right on that.
Anyway, back to the business at hand. Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Jeanette Cooper, one of the other tenants in the apartment complex. We first meet Jeanette (an aspiring actress working as a waitress) as the residents all bump into one another during a false fire alarm. Jeanette and her boyfriend Bill joke about the alarm and you can see a flash of Elaine Benes as she laughs when Bill mentions them coming home late one night after drinking.
We’re Jeanette-free for a while until Torok-as-Wendy pays her apartment a visit in order to continue changing everyone into creatures. Jeanette is transformed into a wood nymph and we are treated to a naked Louis-Dreyfus with strategically planted leaves and vines. Bill arrives and sees Jeanette who giggles mischievously and then leads him on a chase into the woods, magically multiplying into a few different copies of herself. When he catches up to her, she’s still giggling like she’s stoned and hanging on the arm of Torok (who is in his Troll form) and we’re left wondering what the heck happens to Jeanette and Bill. In fact, the only people we see outside of the building following the final battle are the Potters and Eunice. Maybe everyone got stuck as their woodland creature persona and are all living happily ever after.
Troll is a fairly fun film and much better than one might expect and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is cute, giggling her way through what is a pretty limited role. On one hand you want to leave it buried because of the short screen time that she has, but on the other it’s amusing to watch her frolic as a wood nymph. Since there are equal parts things to like about it as there are to dislike, I’m going to wrap this one up with a caveat of “your mileage may vary”.