Thursday, May 26, 2011

No. Trogs. Ever!

It has recently come to my attention that a lot of my reviews open with same basic pattern: As a lifelong fan of ______ it’s truly shameful that I’ve never seen ________
At the risk of repeating myself, how can I possibly begin a post about today’s feature without the following:
As a lifetime fan of Joan Crawford, it’s a criminal shame that I’ve never seen a movie where she teaches prehistoric cave creatures how to roll a ball. And then has to shoot him with a stun gun.

Quick Plot: A trio of spelunkers (one ironically named Cliff) explore an underground cave in a sleepy riff-raff-free British town where they discover the soon-to-be named Trog. Trog, you see, is named for his trogladite identity which means he’s an upright ape-like creature that speaks in grunts and struggles mightily to move in such a way that his mask doesn’t fall off.

Also, he has Joan Crawford eyebrows.
Enter Dr. Brockton to save the day. Played by a blond Crawford with a stylish assortment of pre-Dress Barn suit sets, she and her daughter work to educate and, let’s face it, domesticate Trog, primarily by teaching him how to play with whatever might be hanging out in your 1970s toychest. Her rival scientist is stuffy, male, and British and therefore, hellbent on proving the gentle creature a menace to modern society. A showdown is imminent.

Yawn. Despite the presence of one of cinema’s most powerful leading ladies, Trog is overwhelmingly dull. You’d think that anything combining Mommie Dearest with an ape man would at least offer camp value, but aside from a random cropping ripe for youtube. Trog just ain’t that interesting. The shame is ours.
High Points
A scene involving stop motion animated dinosaurs is all sorts of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse fun
Low Points
You know. Most of the rest of the movie

Lessons Learned
All scientists are a little deranged
Too much riff-raff will give a town a bad name
Just because your profession is something as mild as cameraman or butcher is no excuse to not try to battle a giant and violent ape man with your own little homo sapien hands

Even a stalagmite made of felt, velcro and glitter is still pointy enough to puncture the flesh
Eh. Trog should be reserved for Crawford completists and, well, no one else. Maybe the ghost of Bette Davis, who I’m sure got a pretty good kick out of watching her frenemy smile pleasantly as an ape man companion sings along with an LP record. That’s something. Kind of.


  1. It's Mildred Piece meets Project X! The role Joan Crawford was born to play!

    I haven't seen the film but I'm sure it would be a classic if they'd used that tagline. And if Project X was released 20 years earlier.

  2. I will give Trog a wide berth then..
    Which is a shame, I do love me some simulated ape action..even the movie poster is kind of meh.

  3. Stupid hindsight and its always behindedness!

  4. And Tangerine, I KNOW! It's a waste all around and I'm pooped about it.

  5. The poster reminds me of The Birds. If this was a remake with apes sitting on telephone lines and jungle gyms it would automatically be more awesome.

  6. And as good as Jessica Tandy was, Joan Crawford is a WAY scarier mom!

  7. Seven words: Planet of the Apes, starring Joan Crawford.

  8. I'm a little drunk so I read "violent ape man" as "violent rape man."

    Matt D.

  9. Man, Trog. My boy Freddie Francis made it...and it's shit. Still drives me a little bonkers.

  10. Nigel/Matt: Planet of the Violent Rape Men could be a mashup all of its own...

    And Mike, gah! Such DULL shit, and the that's the worst shit of all.

  11. Planet of the Violent rape Men : Pants off

  12. Oh Emily, Trog is a must-see- as is Berserk and Strait Jacket. One day I'll have to read a Crawford biography to try to gain an understanding of how JC's took such an unfortunate turn after Baby Jane- which is still one of my favorites.

  13. I WISH John! I ADORE Strait Jacket (have yet to see Berserk) but Trog just withers in its shadow. Baby Jane is one of my all-time faves. Trog doesn't deserve to sweep its dust! (of which there's a lot, cause you know, kooky old ladies and such).

  14. Ahh, Baby Jane. But ya are in that chair, Blanche! Davis and Crawford may have hated each other, but they rocked the devil out of that movie.

    Strait Jacket is 31 flavors of awesome! Joan Crawford working the most carny man in all of movie history, William Castle? That's a slam dunk if I ever saw one. Which was carried into the sublime with a sweaty George Kennedy.

    I haven't seen Trog yet, though. I must remedy that. Joan Crawford rocks. That's all I need to know to watch this movie.

  15. Words don't express how much I love Baby Jane. We discussed it on a Girls On Film podcast episode a back and if memory serves, it was mostly me just saying "I can't really say just how much I love this movie."

    Love me some Strait Jacket, the matchup is just TOO perfect (and the Silence of the Lambs connection makes it even more golden). And George Kennedy sweating in black and white!

    Sadly I really didn't like Trog, but I think Crawford completists will still get something out of it, especially since she's blond and talking to an ape man.