A documentary that looks at the making of, the initial hatred and eventual love for Troll 2.
Written and Directed by – Michael Stephenson
Starring – George Hardy, Michael Stephenson, Darren Ewing, Jason Steadman, Jason Wright, Zack Carlson, Randall Colburn, Adam Deyoe, John Gemberling, Patrick Gibbs, Paul Gibbs, Eric Gosselin, Rocky Jalil, Timothy Marklevitz, Ryan Martin, Scott Pearlman, Chris Pudlo, James M. Tate, Scott Weinberg, Claudio Fragasso, Rossella Drudi, Margo Prey, Connie Young, Robert Ormsby, Don Packard
I’m sure that most people have heard of Troll 2. Even before I had been able to watch it I knew that is was the worst movie ever made and that it was a must watch. I think that calling Troll 2 the best worst movie is probably an appropriate title because it really isn’t that bad. Technically speaking it’s terrible from acting to effects to its awful story, it’s a giant bomb. But how can something that is so bad be so much fun to watch? Doesn’t that alone make it a great movie? That’s one of the questions this movie looks into, sort of.
We start off catching up with George Hardy who played the father in Troll 2. He’s a dentist in a small town, friends with everyone and is probably the most happy and kind person you could ever meet. The documentary follows George as he attends screenings of Troll 2 all over the country, including a stop in Toronto which I really wish I had been at! He meets up with the other actors from the film, speaks to crowds full of screaming fans and basically tries to absorb and understand the kind of following that has started around Troll 2, a movie that almost everyone involved agrees was a huge mistake. Connie Young, who played the sister of the film, is still acting and won’t even put it on her resume because she gets turned down from jobs because of it.
The film is quite funny as most of the actors from Troll 2 try to understand why it’s become such a cult favorite. Imagine being completely ashamed of something that you did only to find out years later that it may be the best thing that ever happened. Not only is the movie a great look at the lives of ordinary people who took part in something that has become extraordinary but it’s also an odd look into the idea of ‘so bad it’s good’ movies. While I was enjoying every minute of the film, I couldn’t help but wonder what it was about those cult classic movies that everyone loves so much. Everybody has those movies that are just plain awful but they can’t help but enjoy. What really makes the difference?
I’m pretty sure that the answer is as simple as this – we enjoy those movies. No matter how bad they are or how much some people will hate them, fans of the ‘terrible movie’ just enjoy them and isn’t that really what a movie is all about. I want to be entertained and if a film can succeed at that then I’m happy. I can’t pinpoint the reason why one bad movie makes me want to drill holes in my head while another makes me want to share it with everyone I know. A bad movie is a bad movie and usually doesn’t have any redeeming qualities but some have that something special. Something that nobody could probably point out to you, but it’s there and it spreads and soon huge amounts of people are showing a terrible movie some real love.
The documentary can also be a little sad at times. When Michael and George find Margo Prey, who played the mother in Troll 2, she’s taking care of her elderly mother and holding on to dreams of becoming a movie star. There’s something a little off with Margo and she just doesn’t seem quite all there and it’s a little sad. She’s always felt that Troll 2 was an amazing movie and even compares it to Casablanca at one point. I mean, let’s be honest. Troll 2 is a terrible movie. It’s gained quite the following and people love the movie but not because it’s a cinematic gem, people love it because it’s so bad but still enjoyable at the same time.
The one person who understands all this the least is Claudio Fragasso, director of Troll 2. He comes from his home in Italy to attend a few screenings and figures that if the movie is selling out wherever it goes then it must be the great work of art he thought it was. The crowds are only fueling his idea that he’s made a masterpiece and he just doesn’t understand that people like it because it’s terrible. He refers to the actors that worked in the film as dogs and that they’re always ‘talking bullshit’ about what happened during filming of the movie. During a screening he comments that people are not only laughing at the parts that were meant to be funny but also the parts that weren’t supposed to be funny. The idea of the film being a cult hit is lost on him and he seems to become a little angry over time as the actors talk about not understanding the film or their direction.
I think the film is more a study of the pseudo celebrity and the entire idea of the ‘so bad it’s good’ movie then it is a look at Troll 2. George Hardy is initially caught up in his ‘celebrity’ status but by the end of the film he seems tired of the whole idea and just wants to get back to his fulfilling life in a small town. He’s shown interacting with some of the stars of the Nightmare on Elm Street series and comments on how 20 years later they’re still making appearances at conventions but haven’t done anything else with their careers. George has built a life for himself after his experience in Troll 2 and isn’t interested in riding on his cult success now. I’m sure he could make quite a living heading to conventions and making appearances but that isn’t the life he wants and it’s a life he can’t see why other people would want.
If you’re a fan of Troll 2 then this is the flick for you and even if you aren’t a fan but have those one or two bad movies that you love you’ll find great fun here. It will certainly make you think of the reasons for loving those bad movies, even if the only reason is because you love them.
Under the marquee – Will