There is something just SO good about a terrible film. People like the Nostalgia Critic and RiffTrax (MST3K) have made careers out of revisiting these awful films. Why? Because we just can’t get enough. There is something many people love the terrible and tragic.
Now, there are bad films and then there is Troll 2.
I first watched Troll 2 when I was completing my undergraduate degree. My roommates and I were obsessed with watching (good) bad movies – anything from Evil Dead to Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus. We’d get DVDs from Netflix every week to see if we could discover a new hidden gem Troll 2 was a particular standout in a long line bad films. We loved it.
There is everything one could want packed into this 1990 film that goes beyond questionable acting and a piss-poor script. The film centers around a family who decide to take a trip to a place called Nilbog (get it?) and the daughter’s boyfriend follows behind with a group of friends. The young son, Joshua, sees visions of his dead his grandfather who remains to warn the boy about the goblins who will turn his family into vegetables to eat them. Then something happens with a witch? Even after re-watching this movie earlier today, I’m still not sure what is going on.
Thankfully, someone understood that there was something special to love about the worst movie ever made and created a documentary. “The Best Worst Movie” was produced in 2009 by Michael Stephenson (who plays Joshua Troll 2).
Stephenson takes a look at the aftermath of Troll 2, revisits many of his former castmates and their lives because of being in such a terrible movie. It opens with interviews with dentist George Hardy. He seems a man that everyone in his small town loves, but it also turns out that he starred as the father Michael in Troll 2. He is one of the most energetic of the cast when it comes to visiting Troll 2 filmings and movie cons. Hardy’s charisma is what propels much of the documentary.
The film also takes a look at the incredible fan base the movie has garnered over the years. These film screenings that Hardy and Stephenson attend are all over the US. The people who go to these things are die-hards in the most entertaining way. Describing why they like Troll 2 is actually pretty touching at moments.
The fault of the project, and there is just one, comes when things feel a little…too honest. The realisations after Troll 2 are a bit like the ones someone gets after performing in a school play: giving all the effort you can into something, thinking it’s going to be great and then being crushed when you finally watch the recorded DVD (and are humiliated).Some of the footage makes some of the actors look delusional and it doesn’t feel very nice. The best example is when Hardy and Stephenson visit the actor who played the mother, Margo Prey. She is the only cast member who can’t reunite at the screenings because she needs to take care of her sick mother. The camera seems to focus on the warning signs on the front lawn and to accentuate that she has put her acting career on hold when she clearly hasn’t had on.
But the documentary is actually very fun. The more you know about Troll 2, the more the details just make the story more interesting. The film was directed by Italian exploitation director Claudio Fragasso. The confusion of an all-Italian crew with an all-American cast is entertaining – especially when Claudio gets mad (which the cast seems very entertained by as well).
So watch Troll 2, but watch “Worst Movie Ever”. The two epitomise everything a cult fan base should have. It’s perfect for a laugh and a whole lot of heart.
One last time….
OH MY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!