Starring Michael Stephenson, George Hardy, Margo Prey, Connie McFarland, Deborah Reed, Jason F. Wright, Darren Ewing, Jason Steadman
Directed by Claudio Fragasso (under the name Drake Floyd)
Troll 2. Troll 2. Troll 2. Where do I start? It’s probably best if I do a bit of ‘splainin’ first, so that the immense carnal mainline of filth can hit you for all it’s worth. For those that enjoyed Troll and were hoping for a sequel, this isn’t it. Troll 2 was originally titled Goblins (not to be confused with Gobliiins, the 1992 PC Adventure game by Sierra) before it was retitled to take advantage of the previous Troll film’s fan base. The title Goblins fits the film much better, seeing as the whole thing revolves around goblins and the town of Nilbog (Hint: look at it backwards!) Many reviews seem to have a nerdgasm at this fact and belabor the point that the film is titled Troll 2 while featuring no actual trolls. Personally, I don’t give a shit. You can call a little dude in a burlap sack and a shitty mask whatever you want and it won’t stop my fun. Speaking of shitty masks, this film takes the cake with one mask being so incongruous and awful looking that every time it came on-screen I burst into laughter at it.
So let’s get down to it. Troll 2 has the reputation of being the Worst Movie Ever Made in some circles. There’s even a new documentary called Best Worst Movie, made by the kid in Troll 2 about the making of the film. Going into it with that kind of build up made me think this was going to be nothing more than a poorly shot, steamy pile of excrement. Much to my delight, it is infinitely more and was actually one of the most enjoyable times I’ve had with a movie in a long time. This is the bar that all unintentional comedies should be judged by; if there is a scale, then Troll 2 is at the pinnacle. If you at all value a reckless, no holds barred, “Let’s just shoot some shit” filmmaking mentality, then you owe it to yourself to get the fuck up and watch Troll 2 as soon as possible. Netflix even saw the light of day and made it an Instant Watch film recently, so now you don’t even have to get the fuck up!
As for the plot, the film is pretty standard horror fare with a family of four heading out on vacation to the town of Nilbog. They’re supposed to live in another family’s house and that family will live in theirs. Whatever. Prior to this, the film opens with a Grandpa telling Joshua (Michael Stephenson) a bedtime story about the trolls goblins. Turns out the Grandpa is dead though and the boy is being visited by his spirit to warn him not to travel to Nilbog. He tells Joshua how the goblins are staunch vegetarians, but if they feed you some food with this nasty green shit (Meteor Shit?) on it, you transform into a plant and then they fuckin’ chow down. I don’t know, I guess it does makes sense when you break it down. As you can imagine the warnings go unheeded and the family ventures out anyway. Also along for the ride is Holly’s boyfriend and his friends, who followed her up to Nilbog with the hopes of scoring big time.
In technical terms, the film is surprisingly well-shot and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. When you fire this up and see the shots of multiple goblins running at the camera to pumped up 80s synth rock, I defy you to tell me it’s not a good example of dolly work, not to mention absolutely entertaining. Where the film fails is through some shoddy editing and some of the most stilted acting you will ever see. Oh, but this is all what makes Troll 2 such a fantastic thrill ride of trash.
It’s common to watch a film and note how a single actor, or maybe two, deliver their lines poorly. In Troll 2, the entire cast is firing off a twenty-one gun salute and the assault of bad acting even wore me down! There was so much that I couldn’t even laugh at it anymore after about an hour. The rest was still enjoyable as hell, but man, those cheeks were painin’. Holly (Connie McFarland) was my favorite of the bad actors but the father (George Hardy) was a close second. In a whole category unto herself is the witch who aids the goblins played by Deborah Reed. She is an abundant feast of over-the-top acting lessons. I am almost speechless to define her style. Just open those eyes as wide as possible and give it your all!
Which brings me to some of the scene setups, reason for much head-scratching in the traditional community, but bringers of great fun to me. There’s the scene when the family arrives at the Nilbog house and sits down to eat the food laced with green shit left for them by the Nilbogians. Joshua does what we’d all do in this situation, or at least what we’d all want to do. After Spirit Grandpa stops time so the boy can decide on his course of action to stop his family from eating, he stands up on a chair and whips it out. I’m sure you can fill in the blanks from here. Another stand-out scene of this reckless variety is the one posted by frequent reader Joachim in the comments of my Troll post. The witch comes with a corncob to seduce one of the boys. She asks him if he’s hungry to which he replies that he likes popcorn. She reasons that it won’t be a problem because they just need to heat it up. Then they both gnaw on the corncob from opposite sides while popcorn flies out from off-camera. It’s absolute gold, and reminds me a bit of the scene in Tromeo and Juliet when Juliet’s womb is ripped open and Romeo begins nomming on the popcorn contained within. WTF, but I love it.
When it comes down to it, Troll 2 is much, much better than people give it credit for. It is surprisingly well-shot and is far from the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Make no mistake though, this is some of the highest level B-movie watching there is, and a soul unprepared for the barrage of trash would be better suited pulling their Snuggie up tight and watching Bambi one more time. On the other hand, if you love you some fucked up, nonsensical, fan-fucking-tastic fringe cinema, then brother look no further. Highly recommended to the faithful.
Come back on Monday as Uncle Jasper cracks open his second week of Lucha Libre cinema with Santo and Blue Demon vs. Dracula and the Wolf Man! Don’t miss it!