Monday, January 26, 2009

The Boy Who Loved Trolls

I had been puzzling for an irritatingly long time about a made-for-t.v. movie I saw a bunch of times as a kid but couldn’t remember the name of. The thing is, I remember EVERYTHING, so when a face or memory pops up in my mind and I can’t place it, I go a little nuts. I’m usually able to solve these quandaries with a good ‘ole search on the interweb. That’s where I found the title of a book I remembered reading in my childhood but all I could recall about it for years was that the story involved a creature called “the wicked Oni” who lived under the earth and had one eye and that it was incredibly creepy. (The book is called, “The Funny Little Woman”, by the way. It’s a Japanese folktale. Glad I put that one to rest!)

There were a few concrete elements I remembered from the t.v. show but most of it was the mood of it... the vaguely menacing and nightmarish quality. I remembered there being some sort of alternate universe that a kid goes to and realizes he can’t stay in. That’s about it. Then last week I had a breakthrough: one of the main characters was played by Sam Waterston. I thought I was on the right track until my various Google permutations for “Sam Waterston” 80s and t.v. yielded a bunch of unrelated garbage.

Until last night, that is, when I was bugging B with my various fruitless searches and finally came upon a filmography for Sam Waterston and scrolled down to the 80s part. The title I’d been searching for for years literally jumped out at me and I screamed it out: “The Boy Who Loved Trolls”! Lo and behold, there exists about 15 minutes of it on YouTube and goddamn, it’s exactly as I remember it: the weird synthesizer music, the narrator’s voice, the depressing mall montage, the condescending parents, the prepubescent boy and his inappropriate fixation on trolls (while at the same time admiring ladies lingerie?).

Take a look:

But what I didn’t remember (and wouldn’t have) were all the obvious drug references and the general bizarre spaciness of it all. (What’s up with all the rainbows?) B and I were watching it and remarking to each other, “These people were totally HIGH!” It was part of a series that ran on PBS in the 80s and 90s called “Wonderworks”. Back when I was a kid living with hippie parents out in the woods, our little t.v. only got one channel (unless it was windy) and it was PBS. At some point we got a VCR and it was a pretty big deal, but the great part is that we almost never rented VHS tapes... instead we would tape things off t.v. and watch them over and over when, say, PBS was running a pledge break. I remember taping various episodes of Wonderworks and basically memorizing them from start to finish. The trolls episode was one of them and obviously it’s never really left my consciousness.

With all that settled, I feel like I’ve reached a new chapter in my life. Next up: ordering the DVD from Amazon and totally tripping my balls off.


kaneharvest said...

paul is completely stoned to the bone in the shaving scene.
what's up with the narrator working the door at the movie theater?! creepy as shit.

Matthew D. Hutchinson said...

This reminds me of those shows from my childhood that I thought would be cool, cause there was a kid in it, but then it turned out to be like educational or something.

EZ Pants said...

Also, what happened to Matt Dill after this movie was made? Brian and I have theorized that he developed a fetish wherein he can only have sex with a woman when a "troll" is watching.

elle says said...

well this comment is for whoever wrote the article. I am 27 and loved this movie as a kid. I have been trying to find it since I was 13 and could not remember very much about it and then today I found it and then found your blog about it. Thank you so much for putting some of it up for me!!

Maria said...

I like the men wearing slacks their look more elegant,my father is always wearing it for his job.

Anonymous said...

Sweet Jesus, you found it. Watched seemingly several times as a kid on PBS, I've been looking for this movie on the internet for five years. All I had was 'evil developer wants to build a thing and it hurts a magical land a boy loves'. Like a fever dream full of flashing light and geometric shapes, I was haunted by the need to find it. Kept probing the Canadian angle (Peanut Butter Solution, anyone?) to no avail.


Dyann said...

To Anonymous April 30, 2013

PB Solution, Full Length Movie Here:

You're Welcome