Albert Band, Charles Band (executive) for Empire
directed by John Carl Buechler
starring Noah Hathaway, Michael Moriarty, Shelley Hack, Jenny Beck, Sonny Bono, Phil Fondacaro, Brad Hall, Anne Lockhart, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Gary Sandy, June Lockhart, Robert Hathaway, James Beck, Dale Wyatt, Barbara Sciorilli, Viviana Giusti, Jessie Carfora, Debra Dion, Charles Band, Jacquelyn Band, Albert Band
story by John Carl Buechler, screenplay by Ed Naha, music by Richard Band, creature effects by John Carl Buechler
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The Potters have just moved into a new apartment, and littly Wendy
(Jenny Beck) starts to act weird. But while the parents (Michael Moriarty,
Shelley Hack) think it's just caused by the move itself, son Harry (Noah
Hathaway) thinks there is something more sinister going on, thinks his
sister might not even be his sister but someone or something impersonating
her to the t ... and he's right of course, because little Wendy was
abducted into the troll-world and replaced by a Troll (Phil Fondacaro). In
the disguise of a little girl, the Troll now goes from apartment to
apartment to turn their inhabitants (among others Sonny Bono and a young
Julia Louis-Dreyfus) into troll-like creatures and make the apartments
part of a troll-dimension which is to eventually smash our own dimension.
Troll shows pity tough with a terminally ill midget intellectual (also
played by Phil Fondacaro, ironically), whom he eventually turns into an
elf to give him a second lease on life. There's one woman though who could
smash the Troll's plans, Eunice St.Clair (June Lockhart), a retired lady
that seems cold and strict on the outside but has a heart of gold.
Fortunately, Harry manages to hook up with her - and learns she is a witch
who actually was the Troll's girlfriend many moons ago, and now she holds
the key for his destruction, which turns out to be a couple of magic
spears. Before entering the troll-sphere, Eunice turns into a younger
version of herself (played by June's daughter Anne Lockhart), but she's
eventually tricked by the Troll and turned into a treestump - which leaves
the responsibility with Harry ... and he messes up as well when he drops
the magic spear to free his sister, and is then attacked by a monster
that's also the heart of the dimension. Then though the monster attacks
Wendy, and the Troll knows her death would mean the end of all his dreams
of having his own dimension, so he picks up the magic spear and kills the
monster - which shatters his dimension at least for now ...
is above everything else a fun film: Its concept is bizarre, but in a
fairy tale kind of way, it's populated by many grotesque creatures that
are wonderfully outbalanced by an eccentric cast (especially Michael
Moriarty, Sonny Bono and June Lockhart give beautifully weird
performances), and the film's tongue-in-cheek approach to the proceedings
manages to maintain the film light-footed without becoming its own parody.
And while the film was obviously made on a low budget, it was high enough
to bring its imaginative story to life nevertheless.
Maybe the best film
Charles Band's Empire
ever released, and a whole lot of fun, too.
By the way, the
lead character in this is really called Harry Potter, but please note:
This film was released year before the first Harry Potter-book
by J.K. Rowling was ever published (or even conceived, maybe).