Halloween Havoc!: Joan Crawford in TROG (Warner Brothers, 1970)


Let’s be honest: TROG is not a very good movie. It’s definitely not Joan Crawford’s best movie. It’s surely not director Freddie Francis’s best movie. Hell, it’s not even producer Herman Cohen’s best, and he’s responsible for some real bombs! TROG isn’t scary, or gruesome, or even so bad it’s good. It’s just kind of dumb, and it’s a sad end to Crawford’s great screen career.

Joan (in a blonde wig) plays anthropologist Dr. Brockton, who helps discover a troglodyte found living in an underground cave. The beast is half-man, half ape, but is really pretty stupid looking. Dr. Brockton thinks Trog is the Missing Link and begins to train him, feeding him fake looking fish and lizards, teaching him to roll a ball and play with a wind-up baby doll. Mommie Dearest, she’s  not!! We also discover Trog likes classical music, but hates rock and roll!!


Meanwhile, there’s a local developer named Murdock (Michael Gough) who wants the creature destroyed so property values don’t go down. Allying himself with Brockton’s jealous colleague Dr. Selbourne, Murdock goes before a court of public inquiry to demand Trog be destroyed. But good Dr. Brockton makes an impassioned plea to preserve Trog, and the world’s top scientists are invited in to study it. American surgeon Dr. Warren (Robert Hutton of Invisible Invaders and They Came From Beyond Space) implants some weird gadget that let’s us see Trog’s memories. These memories are directly lifted from 1956’s THE ANIMAL WORLD, showing us dinosaurs created by special effects legends Willis O’Brien and Ray Harryhausen (the best part of the film). Trog is taught speech, but before Brockton can continue, Murdock pulls an B&E on her institute and frees Trog. Trog responds by killing Murdock, then going on a rampage through the town, kidnaping a little girl that resembles his wind-up doll. The military are called in after Trog returns to his cave with the kid. Dr. Brockton defies the soldiers by going into the cave alone and convincing Trog to release the child. When they come out, the army goes in, and shoot down Trog in a hail of bullets, causing him to fall and get impaled on a stalagmite!


Joan’s attempt at a British accent comes and goes. You get the feeling watching her that she clearly knows she’s better than this nonsense, but presses on like a trouper. Trog is credited to British wrestler ‘Dazzler’ Joe Cornelius, and he should’ve stuck to the squared circle. Fans of Herman Cohen (are there really any?) will want to look for his Hitchcockian cameo as a bartender in the local pub. The scariest thing about this movie is blonde Joan’s eerie resemblance to Hillary Clinton. Now THAT’S frightening!!


7 Replies to “Halloween Havoc!: Joan Crawford in TROG (Warner Brothers, 1970)”

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