Movie Reviews 104 – Troll 2 (1990)

Troll 2“Legendary”.  “In a class of its own”. “Must see.” These are all attributes we often associate with a select class of movies. But that selection applies to both sides of the taste spectrum. The best and the worst. The creme-de-la-crème and the bottom-of-the-barrel alike. Just as we all have our favorite movies to watch where we marvel at the perfection in script, acting, direction and overall story, in the world of genre film fandom we always have our heads looking over our shoulder at the “black sheep” of the family. In fact, sometimes those “black sheep” garner as much attention as the beloved jewels and any respectable fan is expected to have ‘experienced’ those bad movies ‘de rigeur’. A status symbol itself, if you will.

Now when it comes to defining what we fans consider ‘bad movies’ there is of course some give and take, and no one definitive list. But there are a few stalwarts that always make whatever lists are available. Ed Wood’s “Plan-9 from Outer Space” and “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” are perennial favorites (only recently given a run for their money by “Battlefield Earth” but that’s an entirely different story) in the science fiction category. When it comes to steady contenders on most Worst Horror Movie lists the guilty parties include “Killer Klowns from Outer Space”, “Night of the Lepus” and my favorite man-crawling-under-a-carpet movie, “The Creeping Terror”. But one movie seems to top them all and is always found on all those lists. The infamous “Troll 2”.
Troll 2 still
I finally decided to take my licking (and earn my honour badge) and watched this atrocity. A story about a kid who has occasional conversations with his dead grandfather while being forced to go on a family vacation to small town Nilbog (Goblin spelled backwards you see) which is entirely run by goblins in human form. Notice that I said ‘Goblins’, not ‘Trolls’. That’s right, even the title is something of a misnomer as there isn’t a troll anywhere in this movie. I don’t think that you can fuck up more than using the wrong title for a movie, but even this faux pas does not elevate this particular movie to the top of the heap because, let’s face it, there are plenty of other mistitled movies in the field.  Anyhow, the kid stumbles upon the goblin,s plot of to eat the family and turn them all into trolls, uh, I mean goblins. The only other pertinent part of the story are a bunch of young boys with the own Winnebago who follow the family because one of the boys has the hots for the young girl in the family. Suffice to say that with the help of gramps, the kid eventually saves the day.

Margo Prey (Troll 2)Now I expect a movie with the reputation that this one has to have some bad acting. Bad acting and B-movies go hand in hand, it’s all par for the course. But I began to sense why Troll 2 stood above the rest (or would that be below the rest?) when I witnessed first hand just how bad these ‘actors’ were. And we’re not talking about just a few people here. No, the thespian fumbling is shared by the entire cast. Wooden does not come near to describing these pathetic performances and my vocabulary fails to find a more apt description. What I can say is that the standout non-performance is from the actress playing the mother of the family, one Margo Prey. What were they thinking? You can actually hear the pauses between words as she speaks her lines in some scenes.

Now I can’t make any comparisons to the first movie “Troll” as I’d never seen it. Not to say that I never will either evidenced by my willingness to watch Troll 2. What can I say, I watch them all.

And now, the story after the story. The abysmal “Troll 2” not only caught fan’s attention, but once word got out the actors involved in the movie couldn’t exact just lumber on nonchalantly  Rather than stand aside and take his lumps in silence, heaped on with every dreadful review, Michael Stephenson, the kid in Troll 2, made a documentary about the making of his demise. Not just any documentary mind you, but one that has garnered over a dozen film festival awards. He tracked down all his ‘accomplices’ and filmed “Best Worst Movie”. Now I haven’t seen “Best Worst Movie” but it sure sounds like a great film that documents the train wreck that is “Troll 2”. And let’s face it. It HAS to be better.



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