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Trog

Most of us who love movies have memories of specific so-bad-they're-funny titles that we'd stay up until 3 a.m. to catch on late-night television. Thanks to modern technology — and the whim of the various studios — we can now get these Z-grade cheese-fests on DVD whenever we like, which takes some of the fun out of watching them. Because, to be honest, unless you're so tired that you're giddy or you're altered by recreational substances, most of these flicks are more an exercise in oh-god-what-were-they-thinking than they are quality entertainment. One such film is Trog (1970), Joan Crawford's last film and a truly terrible monster movie, directed by the prolific Freddie Francis (Tales from the Crypt, Dracula has Risen from the Grave.) Some English spelunkers are attacked by a hideous, cave-dwelling monkey-man (a troglodyte, if you will), which brings Dr. Brocton: Diva Anthropologist (Crawford) to the scene. Believing it to be the "missing link," Brockton tranquilizes the creature and lugs it back to her all-purpose Institute for study. By showing the Trog kindness, she discovers that he has a gentle heart but — holy Frankenstein! — the local townsfolk want the monster dead. After holding a kangaroo court to decide if Brockton's research is valuable, the hot-headed leader of the village yahoos breaks into the institute in an attempt to kill Trog. But the ape-boy escapes! And, well, mayhem ensues, including a hilariously gruesome killing by meat hook. Crawford is awful in her last picture, tired-looking and glassy-eyed, Trog's makeup is laughable (imagine the Planet of the Apes latex with handfuls of carpet fuzz haphazardly glued over it), and the script's less a complete story than it is a rough outline. Trog bad.

Part of Warner's "Cult Camp Classics 2" box set (with Caged and The Big Cube), the DVD offers an excellent cleaned-up, full-screen (1.33:1) transfer with outstanding color saturation and sharpness. The Dolby monaural sound (English, with optional English or Spanish subtitles) is quite good, as well. Theatrical trailer, keep-case.
—Dawn Taylor



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