The original boogeyman is back.
Year of Release: 1990
Running Time: 95 minutes (1:35)
Director: Claudio Fragasso
Michael Stephenson ... Joshua Waits
George Hardy ... Michael Waits
Margo Prey ... Diana Waits
Connie Young ... Holly Waits
Robert Ormsby ... Grandpa Seth
Deborah Reed ... Creedence Leonore Gielgud
Jason Wright ... Elliott Cooper
Darren Ewing ... Arnold
Jason Steadman ... Drew
David McConnell ... Brent
Gary Carlston ... Sheriff Gene Freak
Mike Hamill ... Bells
Don Packard ... Drugstore Owner
Patrick Gibbs ... Goblin (uncredited)
Paul Gibbs ... Goblin (uncredited)
Those greedy goblins are back and hungrier than ever in this gourmet gross-out! Disguised as friendly country folk, a pugnacious posse of people-eating trolls lures visitors to their town. But a family of four is about to discover that this place is a real tourist trap... and they're the prey! Now, the no-good gnomes must be destroyed before the family gets flambed... and the world becomes a buffet in this feeding frenzy of fear!
Troll 2. Oh yeah. There are lessons to be gleaned from Troll 2 that you'll find nowhere else. No one should go through life without viewing this one at least once, it has priceless tidbits of wisdom the likes of which you've never seen, and even sheds light on an insidious plot that I suspect no one had hitherto stopped to consider. More on that later. The first thing you'll want to observe and keep in mind is never under estimate the stupid. These clowns are seemingly the only members of their race in the entire world, yet risk discovery to anyone who happens to be carrying a mirror around, or that suffers from dyslexia. And for what? Cause they're too lazy to avoid using the name of the town as one of the names of the streets? It's not like a town of 28 should have that many. (Although in that same scene a sign reading "N. 125th street" is visible, oopsy) As is often the case with imbeciles, they occasionally have a thought or concept that they deem to be exceptionally clever (by their standards at least), and run with it no matter where it may lead. Sneaky goblins, naming their town Nilbog, clearly cracking that code is beyond the capability of mankind. And yet, they didn't survive this long, nor become that overweight, by failing to catch dinner. A word to the wise. Secondly, overconfidence doesn't impress anyone. What it does do is give anyone watching an insatiable desire to see you eat crow. Or be speared. Either is good. And third, just because the milk you're given is unrefrigerated and feels about room temperature, that's no reason not to take a big swig when you're thirsty. This is good stuff, but it takes a viewing of Troll 2 for the truth to finally come out, and that truth is as follows. Just about everyone you know talks about the merits of down home cooking. They tell you that processed filth you're eating is going to kill you before you're even able to attain an AARP card. "Do you know what's in that?" they ask. And of course the standard, "that causes cancer." Well let me tell YOU something, you pseudo intellectual wannabe nutritionist, it may not be food, but I don't know anyone that's turned into a pile of green gruel from eating at McDonalds. It may well not have a shred of nutritional value whatsoever, but when I eat at Taco Bell, while there's a significant risk of explosive diarrhea and salmonella, there is absolutely ZERO chance that I'm eating a human being that's been ground up into B-B-Q or chili. And at no time while dining at Kentucky Fried Chicken need I concern myself about the county fair two towns over an whether or not their cotton candy was being used just hours before to ripen up the human corpses they had been housing. So the next time someone questions your diet, just smile, and know contentedness. Even if you don't outlive them, at least you're not living a lie.
Troll 2 opens with a gangly wimp looking nervously over his shoulder every few seconds to make sure Robin Hood isn't trying to run him down an reclaim his hat, when he notices a pack of hairy, obese, geriatric midgets peaking out from behind the trees at him, an lickin' their dentures like he's a jar of stewed prunes. Then he sees the forks an he knows he'd better run like a 1%'er who sees the occupy Wall Street crowd coming around the corner an splits as fast as his chicken legs can carry him. But the geriatric midgets are deceptively fast an don't seem to be encumbered by the pillows under their shirts an begin gaining on him (an I thought Dwarves were wasted on cross country). About that time the guy trips an is knocked unconscious by the cruel and unforgiving grassy meadow. When he wakes up a foxy corn fed girl with sprayed on freckles offers him a bowl of repulsive green gruel, he knows he's never gonna hit that if he doesn't pretend to like her cooking, so he chokes it down as best he can, only he starts leakin' Mean Green Puncher flavored Squeezit from his hairline an the hottie suddenly turns back into a repulsive troll, apparently, the gruel is kinda like reverse tequila. Then the other fuzzy faced nasties come out of the woods an start callin' dibs on the good parts. But that was all just a story being told to a child by his grandfather, only the kid's mother pops in an wants to know why he's talkin' to himself again, cause the grandfather went to the big bingo hall in the sky six months before an she thinks the kid's brain's gone gimpy. After chastising the boy (Josh), she checks in on the athletic daughter (Holly), who's bench pressing damn near 30lbs an can't be bothered to acknowledge her while undergoing that kind of strain. So she heads downstairs where Dad's on the phone with someone rattling off his lines way too quickly for the person on the other end to ever get a word in edgewise, an after explaining that he's moving to the country so he can eat a lot of peaches, he hangs up an makes small talk with Mom. Back upstairs, Holly's sexually confused boyfriend climbs up a ladder to her room, sneaks in through the window an scares the bejezus out of her until she has to sock 'em right in the junk. Having believed his junk far too small to be successfully targeted, he's taken completely by surprise an goes down faster than an Al Qaeda #3. Once he can stand again, he promises to stop having circle jerks with his crew an to come with her on the family vacation an to do his best to develop an interest in vagina.
The next morning, not surprisingly, the boyfriend (Elliott) doesn't show, an Holly gets sad face an starts to question whether her masculinity was what finally pulled the trigger on Elliott's last lingering shred of heterosexuality. Then the mother tells her to stop letting her crippling depression get in the way of everyone elses' good time an makes Josh sing a song in the public domain to get over that unpleasantness an opens up a whole new can of unpleasantness. Then Josh goes to sleep in an effort to hide from any further psychological damage the mother may have up her sleeve an dreams that he's sprouting additional limbs an leaking Mountain Dew all over the car just before the family turns around in full goblin garb an start lookin' at him like starving vegans at a salad bar. Elsewhere, Elliott an his equally closeted friends have gotten to the vacation spot first, but as the family's van passes by Holly gives him the finger, only not in the way he'd like for her to give it to him. When they arrive at their vacation home, the family with whom they are to trade places chastises them for their tardiness an takes off before they get a chance to annoy them with their urban superiority complexes, but as they're doing so their youngest child throws a baseball to Josh that reads "eat before we eat you." He assumes this was meant for Holly, to be given to Elliott, an doesn't think much about it. Inside, the bumpkins have left food for them on the table, an despite having become rather green an rancid due to their tardiness, they prepare to eat anyway so the other hicks don't think they're snooty, when Grandpa Seth taps on the window an tells Josh not to let them eat or they'll start lookin' like the lobby floor of Clamp Center at the conclusion of Gremlins 2. He uses his mystical ghostly prowess to freeze time for 30 seconds to give Josh enough time to think of a plan to stop them, an rather than just sweeping it all onto the floor or into the trash, he comes up with an equally, if more disgusting solution. It's a good thing Dad refused to stop at any rest areas the entire drive. Dad is pissed off, and probably pissed on when you figure there's got to be a certain amount of splash back.
He carries Josh up to his room an just when you think Dad's about to take off his belt an show him what it's like to get pissed on, he explains that he's just tightening his belt to keep the tummy grumbles down. Over at Chateau Buttsechs, one of Elliott's spunkees takes his leave from the RV an notices a rumpled blonde girl running through the forest. Incapable of allowing her hair to remain in such a state, he grabs his styling kit an bolts after her. When he's finally able to catch up to her he discovers that she's leaking antifreeze an shortly thereafter realizes what she's been running from. An he thought HER hair was in a state. He tries to convince the goblins to let him make them over, but they don't like his attitude an spear him right in his styling shoulder. He an the girl are able to escape an make it to a creepy looking church (that's probably redundant) an find the sole survivor of Mattias' gang from The Omega Man holed up in hiding. They explain to her that they've been impaled in ways that aren't the least bit enjoyable and need medical attention, so she hands them each a cup with a miniature fog machine inside. The girl thinks it's liquid an accidentally swallows the machine an lurches over to the stairway, choking an gagging with every step until she starts spewing out soylent green from all her orifices an starts flopping around on the floor like a gut-shot manatee. Then Snow White's seventeen dwarves start coming out of the woodwork an bury their faces in the girl's now guacamolified remains an Arnold (the spunkee) realizes he's not in San Francisco anymore. Back at the house, Grandpa Seth is trying to talk to Josh, only he gets the wrong room an appears in Holly's mirror just in time to catch her doing an extremely embarrassing dance number an she runs off, completely mortified. Josh offers to switch rooms with her so he can talk to the man with the plan, but Grandpa isn't much for details an tells the ten year old child to figure out a way to make them leave. The next morning, Dad an Josh have to go into town because the only food in the house is in the trash covered with urine, and some milk that looks like it's been sitting next to the furnace for about six months.
Back at the RV, completely unconcerned about Arnold missing last night's orgy, one of Elliott's remaining two spunkees (Drew) is appalled that the only meat available isn't the kind you want to be consuming, an heads into town for supplies. Along the way, the sheriff pulls him over under suspicion of being a Democrat, but offers him food, and a ride into town, hoping he can talk some sense into the boy. The sheriff drops him off in town where he encounters the 2nd of only three people in the entire cast with even a hint of acting talent. The shop keeper doesn't have any of that... food... stuff that humans eat, but he does have a few half gallons of unrefrigerated Nilbog brand milk that's got an unbelievably high curdled ratio. Back at the church, Creedence has turned Arnold into a rhododendron bush an planted him in a pot so he doesn't develop any silly notions about leaving. Then, as Drew is leaving the store, one of the bumpkins tells him that Arnold wanted him to meet him at Creedence's place. Elsewhere, Dad an Josh have made it to town, but there's a town meeting goin' on an they have to wait for the store to open up. Josh wanders off an starts checking rear view mirrors for Grandpa when he notices that Nilbog is Goblin spelled backwards, an that Grandpa only appeared in the mirror earlier so he'd have a reason to look again now for this desperate attempt at shock and horror to make any sense. He rolls off an finds the town meeting, which really only consists of a reverend talking about the evils of eating meat. This proves nothing, they could just be a local branch of PETA. Only while he's listening (through a hole in the floor, from above on the second story) his skateboard rolls down into the middle of the congregation an the reverend makes like Fritz Von Erich an puts the iron claw on him. Then they try to force feed him some ice cream, but having seen how flawed their Pasteurization process is, he's not about to consent. About that time, Dad finally gets back on the clock an stops them, although there was never much danger. You can lead a kid to ice cream, but you can't make him eat. Dad hauls him out of there an heads for home, but notices that Holly at Elliott's RV on the way home an he's in the mood to squeeze a neck.
Elliott wants to talk to Dad, but Dad says if he wants to talk he's gonna have to knock this homosexuality stuff off an come talk to him at home. Elliott grudgingly agrees an takes one last look back at his beloved shaggin' wagon on the way to the van. Back at the church, Drew has finally found Arnold, only he's taken a big pull off the milk by this point an Arnold looks a lot more like Swamp Thing than he remembers, nonetheless, he tries dragging Arnold out the door by his pot, about the time Creedence comes home an belts Drew with the upper cut of doom. She's none too happy with Arnold's treachery an pulls out the ole Homelite an buzz saws him until she's able to fit him in the blender, where she plans to make a nice smoothie for Drew. Back at the house, the whole god damn town has showed up unannounced, and in a less than subtle display has cooked up enough food to feed the family for about three months. Josh is still on his hunger strike an tries to warn everyone that the food is gonna turn them into moldy lettuce, but even with the 'Nilbog is Goblin spelled backwards' revelation, he can't seem to drum up any support and is subsequently sent to his room like a lowly Libertarian. Downstairs the townsfolk are closing in on the family with point of view paper plates an standing around them clapping, singing, and generally doing everything in their power to suggest that maybe there's something to what Josh is saying. Upstairs, Josh starts trying to get Grandpa to bail him out, only Creedence busts out of the mirror in goblin form an starts trying to silence the little brat, but Grandpa shows up an chops off her hand an all the sudden the film starts to reverse an she goes back through the mirror. Grandpa's big plan is to commit arson an somehow avoid killing the family. So they head outside to set up the bomb, only the reverend takes the firebomb away an starts pointing the finger at Grandpa until he starts clutching at his chest like Fred Sanford, but about that time Grandpa casts Reflect Magic an the reverend goes up in flames like a Buddhist Monk. Everyone rushes outside to put out the fire, only once it goes out, the roasted corpse is that of a goblin an low an behold, the family finally gets the picture. But the townsfolk are pissed, an it's murderin' time for these city slickers.
You might have already heard. Troll 2 isn't very good. It's got a couple problems with its direction, special effects, dialogue, continuity, writing, casting, editing... oh, and the acting is in fact the worst you'll ever see, even if you live to be 100 years old. I'm thinking there's a possibility, that considering the entire cast showed up for an opportunity to be an extra, and were given lead roles in the movie, there might be some correlation. It's also not entirely impossible that, because virtually no one on the production crew could speak English, they really had no idea what should be considered a good take and what shouldn't. And it just might be possible that the director should have allowed the native speakers of the language he was shooting in to offer suggestions on how to prevent the dialogue from sounding so clunky and unnatural. I can't fathom that this took 3 weeks to shoot. Lewis shot Blood Feast in five days, and while it's no masterpiece, it's approximately 437 times as good as Troll 2 is. Honestly, I don't complain about acting very often. But it is the single most crippling problem this movie has. Just taking notes to write the review was difficult; even while looking at the note pad, it didn't matter, you can still hear how off the delivery is, and how unnatural all the sentences are. I'm inclined to give all the actors some slack, because there are certain lines that NO ONE can recite without looking terrible. That said, I don't think it would have helped any of them avoid looking inept, the majority of the time. I've got to believe if they'd shot this in Italy, with Italian actors, it would have turned out a lot better, at least then the crew would know the difference between a good take and a bad one. Granted, I don't imagine there were any good ones. Most any special effect you can name is terrible, of the four versions of the goblin masks, only one isn't a complete joke, an it's not exactly something Tom Savini's going to want to pretend he made to pad his resume. And even then, that particular goblin type has such an obvious collection of pillow stuffing under its shirt that it can't be taken seriously either. Sadly, the only good bit of make up is all the effort they put into making Deborah Reed look like an old woman. I must say, they did do that pretty well. It's just a complete mess, they really needed some Americans on this crew for it to have even the tiniest opportunity for any portion of the movie to succeed. And why did they hate Charles Band an Empire Pictures so much? Bastards pulled a god damn Halloween III on us.
Overall, if the crew had any decency they'd have at least added an apology after the credits rolled. If not to me, at least to John Buechler an Charles Band. Do you have any idea how hard it is to make jokes about this movie? No matter what you say or do, it's not as funny as the reality of any given scene. Nothing I can say can ridicule the movie any worse than simply writing out a plot summary with no jokes whatsoever. I gave it a shot, anyway. And I do have to give the few bright spots their due. Yeah, there are a couple. I really liked the soundtrack. Interesting, different, an pretty memorable. Additionally, somehow, they screwed up an hired three people with some semblance of acting talent. Deborah Reed, over the top as she is, I can tell it's intentional, and per the director's instructions, she was okay, she gets a pass. Also, Mike Hamill as the reverend, how'd he slip in amongst the rest of these rejects? He pulled off an enjoyable performance. And lastly, Don Packard as the creepy store owner. He could have been a Sawyer in Texas Chainsaw Massacre with the performance he gives, very well done. Granted, he had an unfair advantage and was legitimately disturbed, having been between real life visits to a mental hospital during the filming of the movie. Nobody can touch this guy's level of method acting, I don't care who they are. The shooting locations weren't too bad, most of which would be considered adequate an not all that memorable, but by no means bad. The one exception, which is actually a positive exception, is the inside of Creedence's house, which is actually pretty well done and borderline authentic to what the plot is aspiring to create, atmospherically.
Now, for all its problems, there's something very, very undeserving and inaccurate about calling Troll 2 the worst movie ever made. Really, when the mainstream public refers to the worst movie ever made, what they really mean is that it's the worst movie ever made that was at one point aired on HBO where they would have an opportunity to view it. They don't know about really bad movies. Truly terrible movies are movies during which you legitimately want to turn the movie off and never view it again. At no point during Troll 2 do I get an inkling to do this. I'm going to share a quote from a guy that I admire the hell out of, one Joe Bob Briggs. Joe Bob was reviewing this stuff way before it was trendy to do so. He referred to this as his "Theory of Film Criticism", and that theory is as follows: "A movie can be absolutely anything, except boring." Now if you've seen Troll 2, really ask yourselves. Is it boring? I think you'll find the answer is a resounding no. For all its myriad flaws, no one can call this movie boring with a straight face. And that, friends, is why Troll 2 is nowhere near the worst movie ever made. Watch Mystery Science Theater 3000 sometime, an tell me Troll 2 is the worst movie ever made, cause they riffed some terminally boring movies back in their day. Now, I trust that Joe Bob's wisdom will not be lost on you, and you'll all move forward with a different definition of what a truly horrible movie is. Unwatchable. Painful even. The kind of thing you can fall asleep during. Remember, it's better to be entertained for all the wrong reasons, than it is to not be entertained.
Oh. And having just watched "Best Worst Movie", the documentary on Troll 2, Claudio Fragasso an Uwe Boll really should start a support group for directors in denial.