There comes a time for every man, and maybe the women too, where they have to decide one thing. Just when is the exact moment a movie becomes so bad that it is good? It’s an age old quandary that has plagued mankind since the first nickelodeon theatres showed film of miners leaving the train on their way to work. There is one movie above all others that not a single person will be unable to deny is exactly so bad that it has become good. No other film hit’s the absolute zenith of atrocity so perfectly that you can’t help but enjoy every single insane second of it. That film is, of course, Weekend At Bernie’s. Oh but Troll 2 is at least as good at being the best worst movie too. So that’s why I have selected it to be the milestone that is The Film Dump’s 100th review!!!
As I believe it should be law to do so, I shall now share with you the moment Troll 2 came into my life. Approximately 7 years ago, whilst working at the hell that is Toys R Us, a friend of mine that goes by the name Owain Bunyan (Who may or may not have an actual bunyan) started singing the praises of the best worst movie he had ever seen. One of my friends (Lloyd Baron who’s recently had a book published that you can buy here!) had also seen the film when he was young and they would reminisce about it all day long. Oddly, I was the one getting moaned at for not doing enough work. Owain one day came into work with a copy of this mythical film on DVD. This wasn’t just any DVD though because Owain had made his own cover art for the box and everything. That’s fandom right there. He lent it to me to view at my leisure and view I did. Around half way through the movie I had realised that what I was watching was a life changing movie. The sort of film you pass to your friend accompanied by hysterical ravings about just how great it is. The sort of film that becomes the root of a number of in-jokes and quotes amongst other friends who have partaken in its pleasures. One things for sure about Troll 2. You’ll never look at vegetarians, midgets or popcorn the same again.
The film opens with the story of a middle ages man called Peter who is being chased by a large group of goblins through the woods. I should probably get this out the way now. Despite being having the word troll in the title there are in fact no trolls in Troll 2. There are, however, a lot of goblins. Peter gets hunted down by the goblins and forced to eat their suspiciously green food which in turn transforms him into a plant or something and then they eat him…
So this story of Peter And The Goblins is being told by one Grandpa Seth (Robert Ormsby) to his grandson, and lead star, Joshua (Michael Stephenson). There’s one problem with Grandpa Seth though and that’s that he is actually dead! See Joshua is off his rocker and a thinks he can talk to his dead grandfather. Except of course it turns out he can for real and for some reason that old man has just deigned the rest of his mental family to not be worthy of seeing him until at least act 3. And boy is Joshua’s family mental. His sister, Holly (Connie Young) likes to mentally abuse her boyfriend, Elliot (Jason Wright), by telling him he can’t have any friends if he ever wants to have sex with her. A matter complicated by kneeing said boyfriend in the groin which will apparently, in his words, “turn him into a homo”. Huh. Joshua’s father, Michael (popular dentist George Hardy) has the magical abilities to button and unbutton his shirt between shots and stop hunger pains by tightening his belt one buckle. He also hates Holly’s boyfriend, a fact Michael forgets when Elliot finally ditches his last remaining friend to hang with Holly. As for Joshua’s mother, Diana (Margo Perry), well she just has crazy eyes. Eyes that flitter In that perfect spot between creepy and insane.
The family are off to a small town called Nilbog (see what they did there? Cos Joshua doesn’t for about 40 minutes) to spend a vacation amongst country folk. Little do they know that the towns population of 27 is made up entirely of goblins! Vegetarian goblins that can take on human form! Just like Grandpa Seth’s story had warned these townsfolk wish to trick the Waits family into eating their special green food in order to turn them into vegetables so that they may consume them! Apparently they don’t like the toxins and cholesterol in meat. They actually mention that. The first trap the goblins set up come in the form of a table of food laid out via the gift of hospitality, and you don’t piss on hospitality! I wouldn’t allow it and neither does Michael Waits. Joshua realises this is a trap and must stop his family becoming the veg with no meat. Logically there’s only one way out of this situation and it goes as follows. Grandpa Seth freezes time for the longest 30 seconds ever so Joshua can piss all over that hospitality.
The film progresses from one bizarre moment to the next. Elliott and his friends are the fodder for the goblins as they just keep leaving the mobile home just to wander into food based traps. Despite being real tight buddies not one of the friends raise the slightest hint of concern as to the whereabouts of each other as they get turned into vegetable soup. Elliott’s friend Arnold deserves a special mention here. He is the first to wander off and provides us with much of the quotables in the films early going. Arnold is portrayed by one Darren Ewing who is a spectacle of an actor to watch. He tries his hardest dammit but you’ve only got to see him either stand up to a group of goblins, exclaim the urgency of an escape with no passion or fear or, as millions have, witness his revelation of his oncoming fate.
Another character deserving of special attention is Creedence Leonore Geilgood, performed expertly by Deborah Reed. He performance is the insane keystone at the centre of the Troll 2 bridge. She doesn’t chew the scenery so much as she devours it. Every line she performs is enunciated to within an inch of it’s life. This is a performance so over the top that it would make Raul Julia’s performance of M. Bison look down to Earth. She also likes popcorn sex. I’ll leave it at that. You just need to see it for yourself.
There’s so many scenes and moments in Troll 2 worthy of sharing but that is the problem. I cannot share them all. They must be experienced so that you, the viewer, may form your own favourite scenes and quotes. Also I try to keep these revie3ws to 1,000 words these days after I went a little overboard on Titanic 2 and X-Men 3. Suffice to say that nigh on every single scene has something be it a hokey piece of dialogue, a bizarre performance or a scene that’s just plain weird. The film oozes sweet sweet terribleness from every pour.
Directed by veteran Italian auteur Claudio Fragasso, Troll 2 is a master-class in how to make the perfect bad movie. Fragasso apparently believes that the fame Troll 2 has these days is down to it being a masterpiece. When approached on the matter of it maybe not being a good film in the classical sense he has often taken offence to the suggestion. He also served as the screenwriter for the film and, as the story goes, would not allow any of the actors any deviation from his script. This is an Italian director, surrounded by an Italian crew, that won’t trust the American actors when they tell him that the dialogue doesn’t sound like it comes from humans. They were ordered to say the lines verbatim and it really shows. It also gives us great lines such as the previously mentioned “are you trying to turn me into a homo?”.
If you attempt to view this film expecting a logical story you’re going to come away asking a hell of a lot of questions. So little of the progression makes any natural sense. Characters walk into danger, especially Joshua’s father Michael. After seeing the people of Nilbog (you’ve got it right?) attempting to force feed his son the mangiest looking ice cream that the world has ever seen he then settles the family down for a party with a buffet laid out by the very same people. Michael will not be winning a father of the year prize methinks. Also, on the subject of logic, if you attempt to figure out just what the popcorn sex scene was all about your brain will in fact melt.
Musically the film has a score that, as far as anyone can tell, was performed entirely on a store bought Casio keyboard. If you weren’t a child of the late 80s to early 90s you might need to be told that electronic keyboards back then, especially store bought ones, were a load of wank. This is reflected in the score which sounds like a hell of a lot of 70s Italian horror movies. In fact the whole film feels like a Italian horror, just minus vampires, zombies and nudity. It’s understandable considering the director. I’d say if you’ve ever partaken in the delights of 70s and 80s Italian horror you’ll no exactly what sort of feel a lot of Troll 2 has.
In conclusion Troll 2 may be the king of the cult movies. It’s certainly in the monarchy. Every element of the film is so perfect wrong that it manages to come around full circle. Like Ninja Terminator, Troll 2 is a film to share and enjoy as the purely disastrous experience that it is. If ever David Fincher decided to put his masterful touch into the world of so bad it’s good movies this is what he would produce. A film so perfectly bad that it has become just as valid a piece of cult comedic entertainment as This Is Spinal Tap or Red Dwarf. It also raises the question of how can something be considered cult when it has such a huge following? Maybe this is the real mainstream because I guarantee that more people have seen this than whatever random romantic comedy Sarah Jessica Parker may be in these days. A polemic against the evils of vegetarianism and a warning of the dangers of country folk, Troll 2 is the movie you always needed, but never knew you did.