Seen by Martin before? No
What did I expect? An almost unwatchably bad and schlocky horror/sci-fi movie.
What did I get? For reasons I don’t fully understand, Trog comes in for an unusual amount of abuse. The 3.2 IMDB rating only begins to express the glee with which viewers trash this movie (check out some viewer reactions). It was an unfortunate note for the illustrious Joan Crawford, who has nothing else like this on her resume, to end on. It’s hard to tell how much sentiment toward Crawford herself affected the reaction — she was not the most likable presence in her later years, and perhaps this movie was seen as her comeuppance.
Trog is pretty bad, but isn’t all that bad. The fact of it being a British movie ensures a veneer of well-spoken class, which isn’t true of, say, Troll 2 (which is more deliriously pleasurable). It’s wooden, cheaply made, and unconvincing. The script is not good. These things are true. But it’s marginally more watchable than I expected, if never exactly approaching “good.” Trog‘s main problem is the eponymous troglodyte makes for an incredibly unconvincing monster. “Trog” is clearly just a regular human being in a big rubber mask, and as such does not transmit the general level of threat that the movie keeps insisting he is.
Another serious problem is that none of the explanations about his importance — proof of a “missing link” and so on — make a lick of sense. The creature would be hundreds of thousands of years old, and it’s never explained why he made it so far past the average retirement age. Joan Crawford never looks very comfortable, but she acquits herself just fine. She had nothing to be ashamed of, except for the general decision to get involved.
What here smacks of 1970? The movie does look and feel like a product of 1970, but not for any identifiable reason. It’s a bit tame compared with exploitation movies of later vintage.
IMDB score: 3.2
My score: 1
Director: Freddie Francis
Writer: Aben Kandel
Starring: Joan Crawford, Michael Gough, Bernard Kay
IMDB synopsis: Anthropologist Dr. Brockton (Joan Crawford) unearths a troglodyte (an Ice Age ‘missing link” half-caveman, half-ape) and manages to domesticate him — until he’s let loose by an irate land developer (Michael Gough) to go on a rampage and kidnap a little girl. Crawford’s last feature film.