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Trog

July 23rd, 2009 by aunt john · 11 Comments

trog!

Admittedly, your Aunt John has a relatively high tolerance for sub-par films, especially if the movie features an Oscar winning actress at the end stage of a long career, forced to work overseas with a heinous script opposite children, animals, or monsters. Honestly, there’s nothing I enjoy more than a train-wreck of a movie, and in theory, I should have fallen crazy in love with director FREDDIE FRANCIS’ infamous dud TROG, but sometimes even I have my limits.

trog!

Featuring silver screen legend JOAN CRAWFORD in her last cinematic outing, TROG kicks off with a trio of strapping spelunkers who stumble ass backwards over a pre-historic creature living in subterranean solitude somewhere in the English countryside. The misunderstood monster attacks, the townspeople get all in a tizzy, and an angry mob gathers. Enter respected anthropologist Dr. Braxton (CRAWFORD), who clearly wears the pantsuit in this hamlet. She basically swoops in with her tranquilizer gun, pumps the poorly made-up monster with sleepy-time darts, and then drags it back to her eponymous lab for further study.

trog!

Back at lab, CRAWFORD reminds us how she won that Oscar for MILDRED PIERCE by busting out her trademark, put upon reaction shots followed by bursts of volatile explosiveness when anyone crosses her. Weathering the brunt of hurricane JOAN is the titular Trog, who seems more terrified of CRAWFORD throughout the film than she is of him.

Aside from her occasional howls, CRAWFORD brings little else to the table. The film is set in England, and she can’t even muster up the energy to do a British accent. And it’s not like it is explained that she is some sort of ex-pat working abroad, for nothing in this movie is even remotely plausible. MICHAEL GOUGH tries to bring friction as the religious yin to CRAWFORD’s scientific yang, but even he seems a tad relieved to be done with the film when Trog dispatches with him. The film just meanders along, cutting and pasting a poorly made pastiche of the most boring elements of THE MIRACLE WORKER, INHERIT THE WIND, and FRANKENSTEIN.

trog!

Okay, I take it back about the FRANKENSTEIN scenes where Trog escapes the lab and runs amok in the town flipping cars, murdering shopkeepers, terrorizing small children, and kidnapping a small girl. This montage is straight up hysterical! Sadly, it all comes a little too late to compensate for the insufferable courtroom drama sub-plot where JOAN takes the stand to defend science against religion. If the director had left that hot mess on the cutting room floor, and ramped up the scenes of the beast man going berserk, TROG could have been a B-movie classic instead of pitiful end note to CRAWFORD‘s cinematic legacy.

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Tags: Repeat Offenders




11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 micksterNo Gravatar // Jul 23, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Looks like the special effects were done by Sid and Marty Krofft because Trog appears to be related to Cha-Ka.

  • 2 aunt johnNo Gravatar // Jul 23, 2009 at 11:49 am

    @mickster: Now that you mention it, Cha-Ka is more believable as pre-historic creature than Trog. Poor Trog!

  • 3 Pax RomanoNo Gravatar // Jul 23, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Whenever I see this move (and I have seen it several times) I imagine Lucille Ball in the role of Dr. Braxton, and for some reason that thought makes me smile.  Man if Lucy had done this role and Joan had played Mame, the universe would have righted itself!

  • 4 Amanda By NightNo Gravatar // Jul 23, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    The late, great (and ridiculously gorgeous) David Warbeck (The Beyond) played a reporter in this movie. Years later he recounted a story about Joan Crawford, which eventually became his mantra. He asked her how she could appear in movies Trog and give her all and she said her “job was to turn shit into gold.”

    I like Trog, but it’s been YEARS since I’ve seen it. And of course, I own it because of David Warbeck. My god, did I mention he was gorgeous?!?

  • 5 RATSAWGODNo Gravatar // Jul 24, 2009 at 12:53 am

    I just kept praying this movie was going to reveal a twist that Trog was really a mentally challeneged kid in a rubber gorilla mask. (Take THAT, M. Night!)
    But I was wrong. And you know what? It HURT to be so wrong. Oh so very, very wrong.
     

  • 6 aunt johnNo Gravatar // Jul 24, 2009 at 10:13 am

    @Pax: I second that casting reversal!

    @Amanda: I do think she managed to turn ca-ca into cubic zirconia in STRAIGHT JACKET & BERSERK, but by the time she did TROG she seemed a little, how you say, constipated.

    @RAT: Based on your twist, I think a sequel needs to be made… RIDING THE BUS WITH MY TROG. It will star ROSIE O’DONNELL, reprising her role as a mentally challenged, public transportation afficiando and RENE ZELLWEGER will play the mentally challenged, missing link ROSIE befriends on a crosstown bus.

  • 7 RATSAWGODNo Gravatar // Jul 24, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Aunt John, I think we need to get on that screnplay, like, RIGHT NOW.

  • 8 DavidFullamNo Gravatar // Jul 24, 2009 at 11:52 am

    A movie that scared the hell out of me when I was little, especially the meat hook scene. Felt so sad for poor old Trog at the end.

  • 9 aunt johnNo Gravatar // Jul 25, 2009 at 8:40 am

    @RAT: Do you think you can choregraph the Busby Berkely style dance sequences I have in mind?

  • 10 shoggothkeeperNo Gravatar // Jul 28, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Stanley Kurbrick must have been pissed that someone stole one of his 2001 monkey heads to make this flick.

  • 11 fronzmanNo Gravatar // Apr 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Omg I’d forgotten all about this movie! I do recall running around the yard yelling, “Trog!!” at my little sister and laughing my ass off. I guess even at 8 years old I knew this was one hilariously campy flick.

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