You may think I am joking or using hyperbole when claiming that Trantor the Troll from Ernest Scared Stupid is the scariest movie character ever. I love horror films and watch pretty much all of them. I am well-versed in horror history and am familiar with all the popular horror characters that have killed fictional people for decades. Some true nightmare creations have been conceived, but none of them have scared me as much as Trantor has.
I was nine years old in 1991 when Ernest Scared Stupid put my soul in a headlock. I had no clue the movie would be scary, and the following months were a stressful time indeed. The weird thing is, I was already familiar with Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers — and they didn't scare me. They didn't feel like a threat because I was nine years old and didn't engage in anything that would've brought me into their kill zone.
So what is it about Trantor the troll that makes him the scariest movie creation ever?
1. Director John Cherry Went Out Of His Way To Build A Nightmare Creation
John Cherry did a very cruel thing to children when he made Ernest Scared Stupid: He created an unstoppable child hunter who had lots of snot dripping from his nose. Here is what Cherry wrote in his book Keeper of the Clown: My Life with Ernest about creating Trantor:
What makes a creature scary? The first thing is that the creature has a single purpose. Nothing on the planet is more valuable to the creature than that one thing he wants. There is no negotiation with the creature. He won’t enter into a conversation about anything. Physically, he must be menacing, He swings his arms when he is walking. The pitch of his growl has the ability to stop you in your tracks. And, most of all, there is snot.
I still can't believe Cherry got away with creating the most frightening PG character ever.
2. Nobody Expected Ernest Scared Stupid To Be Scary
I guarantee that parents did not expect Ernest Scared Stupid to scar their children for life. Up until that point, every other Ernest movie had been safe territory for kids, so parents had zero reason to worry about the content in a Halloween-themed Ernest film. But with this outing, Cherry broke every 1990s PG rule and incorporated jump scares, brutal attacks and an unstoppable villain who never slowed down. Nobody saw the horror coming and that is why so many children were scared.
I remember walking out of the theater in a state of total disarray because Trantor scared the crap out of me. I didn't sleep for several nights and every dark corner became a nightmare. Nobody saw the horror coming and they felt the pain Ernest did when a heavy dumpster lid fell on his hand.
3. Trantor Hunted Children Exclusively
I was never afraid of Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger because they hunted and killed teenagers or adults. They mostly left children alone, so I never worried about them coming for me, or their brutal antics. But Trantor exclusively went after children and used insane tactics that should never be included in a PG film. Watch this infamous clip below and imagine how you would feel seeing this when you were nine.
4. Trantor Had No Pattern
Most horror films have rules, and Big Bads developed a pattern of action that became boring and stale after four or five films. Trantor had no pattern and proved himself to be an opportunistic villain who attacked his prey when convenient. Trantor did not discriminate and simply wanted five children in order to bring his troll army back. I grew up in a neighborhood very similar to that of Ernest Scared Stupid and after watching the film, I was on constant alert for about six months. I was 100 percent worried that at any moment a troll would pop out from the woods and grab me when I was riding my bicycle or walking close to the tree line. It was terrible.
5. Pure Bulgarian Miak Didn't Affect Trantor
When pure Bulgarian miak can't stop an evil troll, what can? I was certain the miak would fend off the snot-nosed villain, but I was wrong and Ernest got beat up again. Also, Trantor was pretty much indestructible and I'm still amazed that he could pull trucks and survive getting smooshed by heavy machinery.
Watch the below clip and you will see how tough Trantor was. And don't forget to tell me in the comments section about the children's character that scared you the most.