Troll 2

troll 2 rev Troll 2  (1990)    TransWorld Entertainment/Comedy-Fantasy-Horror    RT: 95 minutes    Rated PG-13 (comic horror violence, some language, a brief sexual situation)    Director: Drake Floyd (Claudio Fragasso)    Screenplay: Drake Floyd (Claudio Fragasso)    Music: Carlo Maria Cordio    Cinematography: Giancarlo Ferrando    Release date: October 12, 1990 (US)    Cast: Michael Stephenson, George Hardy, Margo Prey, Connie McFarland, Robert Ormsby, Deborah Reed, Jason Wright, Darren Ewing, Jason Steadman, David McConnell, Gary Carlson, Mike Hamill, Don Packard, Christina Reynolds, Glenn Gerner, Michelle Abrams, Lance C. Williams, Elli Case, Gavin Reed, Melissa Bridge.    Budget: $10

Rating:fullstar1fullstar1fullstar1fullstar1

 Like the 2009 documentary claims, Troll 2 is a “Best Worst Movie” if not the “Best Worst Movie” of all time. It certainly is one for the books. Rarely have I seen a movie of such utter ineptitude. It’s so terrible, you almost think it was made that way on purpose. Except it’s not. The writer-director of this fiasco, Italian exploitation filmmaker Claudio Fragasso (Monster Dog), working under the nom de plume Drake Floyd, was completely serious. That’s what makes it so damn funny.

 For starters, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with its so-called predecessor Troll. It was only named Troll 2 so it could be marketed as a sequel to the 1986 movie in hopes of finding an audience. It doesn’t even have any trolls in it. The word “troll” is never uttered, not even once. The creatures in this movie are goblins. Vegetarian goblins. Vegetarian goblins that get their power from a “Stonehenge Stone”. That’s right, Stonehenge, the Stonehenge! How they managed to get it to the States is anybody’s guess. Probably the same way Conal Cochran did in Halloween III. I’m only speculating here but it’s as good a guess as any.

 troll 2Before I get into the “plot” of Troll 2, I should tell you it’s set in the sleepy farm town of Nilbog. Nilbog is goblin spelled backwards. Fragasso makes sure viewers get it….. many times over, in fact. Somebody talking on the phone spells it for the person on the other end of the line. It’s written on a sign as the Waits family enters the town. The son sees the word in a car mirror. Then just to be sure, the line “It’s goblin spelled backwards!” (or words to that effect) is said more than once. Okay paisan, I think we’ve got it now.

 Troll 2 opens innocently enough with an old man (Ormsby) reading his grandson Joshua (Stephenson) a bedtime story. The only problem is that Joshua’s grandfather has been dead for six months. The story he tells is actually a warning of his family’s fate if they go to Nilbog where they’ve agreed to a month-long house exchange with another family (a family of weirdos). He tells the boy not to let his family- dad Michael (Hardy), mom Diana (Prey) and teenage sister Holly (McFarland)- eat anything or else they will be transformed into plants which the vegetarian goblins will then eat. All the food is laced with chlorophyll explaining its green coloring.

 The next morning, the Waits family leaves for their vacation while Holly weeps in the back seat. It seems her boyfriend Elliot (Wright) has backed out of his promise to join her family on their trip in order to get into their good graces (and, in all likelihood, her pants too). He does show up a little later, in an RV, with the idiot friends he promised not to bring. They get to the house and after an awkward encounter with the creepy clan that lives there, they go inside to find a feast laid out for them. Remembering his grandfather’s warning, Joshua unzips his fly and urinates all over the food leading Dad to utter the immortal line, “You can’t piss on hospitality! I won’t allow it!”

 Things just get weirder and weirder in Nilbog. Holly does a strange dance in her bedroom to some generic rock song. Joshua goes into church where the pastor is preaching a sermon about the evils of meat. The only food sold in the local store is spoiled milk. When characters get hurt and/or die, they bleed a green oozy liquid. One of Elliot’s friends, Arnold (Ewing), hooks up with a beautiful girl running from goblins in the woods. They go to a chapel where they meet the goblin queen Creedence Leonore Gielgud (Reed) who gives them a potion that dissolves the girl into vegetable matter and turns Arnold into a plant. But not before he says these immortal words: “They’re eating her…. and then they’re going to eat me! OH MY GOOOOOD!!!” An Oscar-worthy performance, if you ask me. Another idiot friend, Brent (McConnell), gets suffocated by popcorn. There’s a séance at one point. In the end, Joshua fights the goblins with a very powerful weapon given to him by Grandpa, a double-decker baloney sandwich.

 Oh the many ways in which Troll 2 is truly heinous. Let’s start with the language barrier between the American cast and the non-English speaking Italian crew including Fragasso. Not only was the script written in broken English, Fragasso insisted the dialogue be spoken verbatim. Just listen to almost any of the lines in Troll 2 and you’ll see what I mean. The only crew member that spoke fluent English was costume designer Laura Gemser who starred in many cheap, Italian-made exploitation flicks like Caged Women, Women’s Prison Massacre (an Emanuelle flick) and the 1983 Conan knock-off Ator the Fighting Eagle starring Miles O’Keefe (1981’s Tarzan the Ape Man).

 The acting in Troll 2 is equally horrendous but to be fair, most of the cast members weren’t experienced actors. Hardy was a dentist who just showed up for fun. He was surprised to be given one of the largest roles. The guy who plays the shopkeeper (Don Packard) was a mental patient on a day pass. He was also high on marijuana the whole time. McFarland is a Mormon who went onto a career in religious-themed films. Troll 2 was her first movie role. For many of the actors, Troll 2 is their only credit. In this respect, it’s very consistent movie; the performances are uniformly terrible. It would be cruel and unfair to single out anybody else. Each and every one of them is guilty of bad acting.

 The special effects are strictly of the bargain basement variety. Much of them, especially the violence and death scenes, are gross. The goblins’ costumes are made of burlap sacks and rubber Halloween masks. Talk about cheap! Everything about Troll 2 is cheap. The score by Carlo Maria Cordio is played entirely on a Korg M1 synthesizer and consists of a few brief themes played ad nauseam. Much of Troll 2 was created for little to no money. I don’t know what its box office take was but according to IMDb, it cost only $10 to make. If that’s true, it made a profit if three people went to see it (although I don’t recall it ever playing theatrically).

 Troll 2 is the only movie so bad, somebody made a documentary about it. Not even Ed Wood’s classic stinker Plan 9 from Outer Space received such a high honor. Every single thing about this movie is bad, bad, BAD! It is incompetent on every level imaginable. It’s incompetent on every level unimaginable. It’s incompetent on levels that haven’t been invented yet. It’s hilarious but the jury’s still out on whether this is intentional or unintentional. All I know is that Troll 2 is a laugh riot and a much better than many of today’s so-called funny movies. It’s so deliciously awful that I have to give it four stars. Its excellence lies in its total badness. You don’t just see it, you experience it. If this makes any sense to you, you are the target audience for Troll 2. Enjoy! Be sure NOT to piss on hospitality! 

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