Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Troll 2

I had been putting off the notoriously bad Troll 2 for quite a while.  I'm not exactly sure why; I often enjoy movies that are amusingly bad.  Maybe it was because I haven't spent time with friends who enjoy a nice, terrible movie lately.  Maybe I just didn't want to be frustrated by another bad film.  Whatever my reasons were, I was mistaken.  You need to watch this movie.  Seriously, it will change your life.  You may ask "Just how bad is this movie?"  Well, they made a documentary about it and named it Best Worst Movie, for starters.  "But shouldn't I watch the original Troll to have something to compare it to?"  No need; Troll 2 is not a sequel to Troll, nor is it a prequel.  Troll 2 has absolutely nothing to do with any other Troll movie.  In fact, there isn't a single troll to be found in this film.  Are you intrigued?

The Waits family --- father Michael, mother Diana, daughter Holly and son Joshua --- are doing something unusual for summer vacation this year.  They are swapping homes with a family that owns a farm; the Waits will live off the land for a few months and the other family will enjoy suburbia.  Apparently, the farming family doesn't mind the very probable odds of city folk ruining their crops without help or supervision.  Also worth noting is the fact that the Waits parents must be crazy, sadistic bastards to put their kids through this experience.
"One step closer, and I will snap my son's neck, I swear to God!"
And what kind of jobs do these parents have that they can take three months off to enjoy backbreaking labor?  Just before the family leaves on their trip, Joshua is contacted by the ghost of his grandfather --- which appears to be a common and unexplained occurrence --- who warns Joshua about the dangers of goblins.  Goblins are vegan monsters who eat people...but only after they somehow turn their victims into vegetables.  This brings up two important questions.  How does dead grandpa ghost know about goblins?  More importantly, why don't goblins just stick to eating vegetables that have never been human?
Because fear is delicious

The Waits leave for the town of Nilbog before those questions can be answered.  Once they arrive, young Joshua has a revelation:

Joshua has a bright future as a detective, as you can see.  When the Waits family arrives in their newly-swapped summer home, they find a vast "feast" laid out for them.  The quotations marks are deserved, since most of the meal appears to be made of green Play-Doh and colored whipped cream.
I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
Ghost grandpa shows up again and freezes time to explain to Joshua that the food has some sort of magical potion in it that will turn anyone who eats it into vegetable people.  But grandpa ghost froze time too late!  Nobody will believe Joshua is getting advice from a ghost, much less follow that advice.  With only seconds to act, Joshua springs onto the table and urinates all over the food, table, and anyone with food near their mouth.  It might not have been the perfect solution, but it certainly was the most eloquent.  The scene left me with a burning question, though: if grandpa is powerful enough to STOP FREAKING TIME, how is he so weak that he has to speak only to the smallest and dumbest member of the family?

Of course, sooner or later it becomes obvious to the Waits that Nilbog is full of goblins.  In fact, it is comprised entirely of goblins.
Only some of whom are forced to wear crappy costumes
Luckily for the Waits family, the cast of Troll 2 is padded with Holly's boyfriend and his buddies.  These youngsters act as cannon fodder and show off the variety of ways goblins can kill people.  Will goblins eat the Waits family?  Or will ghost grandpa manage to save the day by explaining the one goblin weakness and give Joshua a bologna sandwich for protection?  I can't believe that sentence makes sense within the context of this movie.

What sets Troll 2 apart from so many other bad movies is how fantastically inept it is, in every way.  No matter what aspect of the movie-making process you want to focus on, Troll 2 does it wrong to a hilarious degree.  Let's start with something simple, like costumes and make-up.  Not every movie is going to have a huge budget for special effects or convincing inhuman costumes.
Some can afford only masks and potato sacks
But that's why few movies have towns full of goblins in the plot.  If you ignore the shoddy costuming of the goblins, their irregular appearance from goblin to goblin, the fact that the lips of the goblin masks don't move when the actors speak, and the confusion caused by adult-sized people wearing the goblin costumes and still being called "dwarves," you are still left with some pretty awful costume and makeup work.
Battle of Crazy Eyes
When even the most basic concepts, like not making rouge look like a facial burn, are screwed up, you just can't help but laugh.

From what I've researched, it seems that this film was written by the director and his wife, who were both Italian and neither of whom spoke fluent English.  Furthermore, it seems that the director insisted on the cast reading their lines as they were written, regardless of grammar or common sense.  That definitely explains much of the acting in Troll 2.  If you like flat line delivery, odd emphasis, and bizarre vocal cadences, this is the movie for you.
It's not over-acting if she doesn't know what she's saying
Troll 2 has developed a bit of a cult following over the years, and the acting plays a large part in that.  There are several dozen instances in the film, but the most infamous is this scene (I've provided the English and Spanish translation for your viewing pleasure):

Isn't the Spanish dubbing far superior?  I think my favorite part of that scene is how obviously awful it is, and yet the director was apparently satisfied with it.  A fly landed on the actor's forehead while he screamed, which practically begs for another take, but apparently the director came from the Ed Wood school of direction and marched on.

I could go on and on, examining the ridiculous music, direction, editing, and story, but that would just make me want to watch the movie again.
Story problem: sex scenes involving corn cobs are not sexy
I don't really have anything original to add, regarding Troll 2.  It is truly one of the worst films I have ever seen, in every aspect of filmmaking.  It is surprisingly lovable, though; as bad as it is, this movie is a lot of fun to watch.  From a strictly objective point of view, Troll 2 earned a rating of
But whoever said I have to be objective?  I had a blast watching this alone, and it will only get better as I share it with others.  Hell, I will probably watch Best Worst Movie when I do my next October run of horror movies.  Troll 2 is, indeed, the best worst movie and the finest case of Lefty Gold I have ever encountered.


  1. I saw this based on your recommendation, and I must say I was not disappointed.

  2. That corn cob sex scene was the moment that sold me. I just stood up and went, "Yep, this is it. This is happening."

  3. @DOD: I'm so glad. I knew if anyone would appreciate it as much as I did, you would.

    @Britta: That scene is so hot, the corn starts popping. Literally.