Director – John Cherry, Screenplay – Charlie Gale & Coke Sams, Story – John Cherry & Coke Sams, Producer – Stacy Williams, Photography – Hanania Baer, Music – Bruce Arnstron & Kirby Shelstad, Makeup Effects – Charles, Edward & Stephen Chiodo, Production Design – Chris August. Production Company – Touchstone Pictures/Touchstone Pacific Pictures I/Emshell Producers Group
Jim Varney (Ernest P. Worrel), Jonas Moscartolo (Trantor), Eartha Kitt (Old Lady Hackmore), Austin Hagler (Kenny Binder), Shay Astar (Elizabeth), Daniel Butler (Sheriff Cliff Binder), Larry Black (Mayor Murdock), Alec Klapper (Joey Murdock), Richard Woolf (Matt Murdock)
In Briarville, Missouri, garbageman Ernest P. Worrel helps a group of kids build a treehouse – only to find that they tree they are building in was one where an evil troll Trantor was dispatched several centuries before. In trying to dismiss the legend as nonsense, Ernest sings the incantation and accidentally raises the troll. The troll needs to claim the souls of five children before it can fully return to life and immediately sets about turning children into wooden dolls. Blamed for the chaos and fired by the mayor, Ernest tries to find a way to stop the troll.
This was the fourth of the Ernest movies where Jim Varney and director John Cherry again pair up. (See bottom of the page for the other Ernest films).
The other Ernest films maintained a silly slapstick likability but this was the weakest of the films up to this point. It lacks any of the moments of slapstick inspiration that the others had – Ernest Saves Christmas (1988) with its bizarre takes on traditional Christmas themes, or Ernest Goes to Jail (1990) with its antics in Ernest’s house or cleaning machine running around the ceiling of the bank. Although there is lots of running around, none of it amounts to anything of note. There is a nasty and slimy-looking troll in the characteristic style of the Chiodo Brothers, creators of Critters (1986) and Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988).
The other Ernest films are:– Ernest Goes to Camp (1987), Ernest Saves Christmas (1988), Ernest Goes to Jail (1990), Ernest Rides Again (1993), Ernest Goes to School (1994), Slam Dunk Ernest (1995), Ernest Goes to Africa (1997), Ernest in the Army (1998) and the short-lived Hey, Vern, It’s Ernest tv series (1988). The series ended with Varney’s death of lung cancer in 2000.