I'm a huge fan of bad movies and I'm particularly interested in thestory behind these movies and how they got so bad. I've seen Troll 2countless times and the narrative that has been developed about itsproduction is incredible. So, I have been eager to see this documentarysince I first heard about and went to a screening at the Music BoxTheater recently.Overall the movie was very interesting. However, it did exactly what Iwas afraid it would do and focus the documentary on the "midnightmovie" cult phenomena aspect of Troll 2 rather than its back story. Itprimarily follows George Hardy, the father from Troll 2, as he exploresthis strange, sudden form of fame. He seems very humble and gregarious,so his experiences in going to conventions and trying to persuadecountry folk to see Troll 2 are a little amusing, but they take up ahuge portion of the film. Similarly, we see lots and lots of footage ofthe cast at Troll 2 midnight showings which, while colorful, takes upway too much screen time. It seemed as though the film was developed toappeal more a wider audience who is totally unfamiliar with Troll 2 orthe bad movie culture. Everyone who is in the know (which makes up avast majority of the film's audience because it is a small release)won't be too captivated by scenes that just show a couple of randomfriends hanging out in an AV room and getting others to watch Troll 2for the first time.When the movie does explore the movie's origins and production historyand interviews cast members, it is extremely entertaining. All of thestory's rumors of unintelligible scripts and intended social commentaryare all true. Many of the people involved with the movie arefascinating, if not heartbreaking, to see now. Grandpa Seth seems torealize he "frittered his life away," the general store owner relatesthat he was in a dementia/drug haze during production and was not quiteaware he was in a movie, and Margo Prey (the mother) is a delusional,agoraphobic cat lady.Most interesting of all is the segments with director Claudio Fragasso.He actually believes the movie is great and it takes him time tounderstand that the sudden revival of the movie is ridiculing it.Eventually, he comes to terms with the criticism all the while stillberating its cast members and insisting on his skill as a filmmaker.The documentary would have been considerably more interesting had hebeen its main subject.Overall, the film is definitely worth seeing, Troll 2 fan or not.However, it's frustrating to think would the movie could have been.Some scenes are amazing, but much of it is bogged down by footage ofpeople in line for a Troll 2 showing screaming at the camera or GeorgeHardy telling uninterested neighbors about his "piss on hospitality"scene.
The Best Worse Movie, is a look at the making of the film Troll 2 andits journey from being crowned the "worst film of all time" to acherished cult classic. Troll 2 is a perfect example of the "so badit's funny" category. Very few movies get everything, I mean everythingso far from right, except for Troll 2. The Best Worse Movie was made by the child actor from the film, hemanages to find all of the cast and discusses with them how the moviechanged there lives. It was funny to see the reaction from everyoneinvolved who either wrote the film off as an embarrassment or just agood laugh. Except for the Italian director of Troll 2, who stillregarded the film as a masterpiece. I was very shocked how much I enjoyed this documentary. I enjoyed it asmuch as "King of Kong", and really enjoyed the story of how a film cango so wrong in every department. It goes to show how beloved some ofthese terrible campy 80's movies are today with the Nintendogeneration.Rating= A+UPDATE: After watching this documentary, I went out and watched Troll2, and yes, it was as bad as they say.
Perhaps it was the build up for watching this documentary, but I foundit to be the most enjoyable movie I've watched all year. I wasreviewing the list of movies on display at the Sacramento Film Festivaland I stumbled across the synopsis for this movie. I had vaguerecollections of Troll, but I couldn't really remember watching Troll2. I recruited a few friends to watch the documentary since they'dheard of Troll 2 from some documentary about the worst movies everfilmed.Three hours before the documentary was set to start, we gathered at myhouse with some chips and beers and set out to watch Troll 2. Onefriend had to switch to hard liquor to handle the outlandishly badscenes in the movie, but the rest of us found the movie very watchable.It's like watching a train wreck at a high school talent show. You geta gut-wrenching feeling from watching these people make asses out ofthemselves, but you can't help but love their performance.Anyway, we finished Troll 2 and we all agreed that there were severalparts of the movie we'd love to have explained. That's where thedocumentary came in. It's like having an audio commentary extra from aspecial edition DVD, except you have to go to the local indie theaterto watch it.I don't know what the hell that one reviewer was writing about, but outof the 25 people who were in the small theater, at least 15 of themwere constantly bursting into fits of laughter. The documentary isgenuinely funny and I don't think people should watch it as a seriousfilm... since it's about the worst movie ever. It'd make no sense.One of my friends that went to the theater with us did so withoutwatching Troll 2. After the documentary, he insisted that we watch theTroll 2 again that night, which we did. After watching the documentary,it's hard not to like Troll 2 since you now know the people that playedthe characters. It's comforting to know that they're as embarrassedabout some of their scenes as you were for them.
The actors just hoped for the best with Troll 2, at the time ofshooting called Goblin (named for the name of the town in the film,'Nilbog', get it?). The script was awkward, the creature effectsshoddy, and most of the Italian crew, including director ClaudioFragasso, and nobody really knew what would happen with the movie. Notheatrical release, straight to video and HBO, and when people saw it(save for the director, who still thinks it's a good movie, and theactress who played the mother, Margo Prey, who thought it was a solid"actors" movie) they knew how bad it was... and that included what isnow the director of the documentary on Troll 2, Michael Stephenson, whoplayed the lead kid/protagonist in Troll 2. He goes back to visit allthe actors in the film, what they're up to, and then confront them withan astounding fact: Troll 2, in small-certain circles, is a big, bigdeal.One of the main keys here is that the documentary works kind of like across between American Movie and Overnight, only it's all taking placemany years after the fact. You have the 'characters' who are kind ofnutty (the guy who was actually in a mental asylum and let out one dayto play the store clerk in the film, Don Packard), and the ones whojust tried to put it aside and get on with a career without Troll 2(Connie Young as the daughter Waits in the film). And then there'sGeorge Hardy, who is like the anti Troy Duffy: instead of an obnoxiousjerk, Hardy is the guy everybody likes (which could be to a fault, butwho cares) and has that nice, sweet, all-American disposition workingas a dentist and always with a smile or a laugh. And when he finds outTroll 2 is such a cult, he not only embraces it, he goes with it ontour! This is also a wonderful treat for those film fans who know what it'slike to find a movie so-bad-it's-fun like Troll 2. We see them here atthe screenings that take place midnight all across the country, fromNew York to Los Angeles and cities in-between (most touching is thefirst screening that happens almost underground at a comedy club of allplaces and where the first real rise of Troll-mania happens).Stephenson gets what it's like for these people to be such fans, andthat the cast (save for Prey who doesn't show up cause of her sickmother, and the director who is bitter about the guilty-pleasure love)gets what kind of audience loves Troll 2. As a cult you get the guy whotattoos Troll 2 on his arm. You get the people wearing their hand-madet-shirts. You get people who drive six hundred God-knows-how-many milesfor a screening. And of course they all know all the words.Stephenson captures what a phenomena like this is like, and at the sametime the bittersweet coin of sudden "fame". Hardy goes all the way toBritain to promote Troll 2, and it's a little staggering to find out a)he didn't see if, you know, there were actual FANS of the film willingto go to conventions for it like they did the screenings in the states,and b) people don't seem to automatically find it cool all the time tobe the "worst movie ever made" (smile). This also happens in Dallas ata convention we see, albeit the one time Hardy loses the admiration (atleast from me) is when he slams the people who come to horrorconventions, without realizing how horror audiences can be at suchplaces, or that, you know, Troll 2 is still and always will be a bigfilm for some, and for others they'll have a blank look on their faces.Which, at the end of it all is fine for someone like Hardy, a genuinereal-deal of a man who is fine with his dentist practice (albeit he isnow acting in a few intentionally crappy movies like Ghost Shark 2),and for the director Fragasso and his co-writer wife who continue toberate the cast's friendly bashing of the film and the production,since, well, they think they did a good job with the movie (at onepoint, kind of unintentionally funny, Fragasso ponders why the audiencelaughs at the parts that "aren't meant to be funny", while alsopointing out that the audience "saved" the movie from obscurity).Stephenson gets the human angle of everyone in the movie andunderstands them, even someone who could have been painted as a crazylike Margo Prey (who for some she may be anyway). And for such a movielike Troll 2 to get mainstream attention, if just for a little while,it's a swell treat for a movie so hilariously s***ty.Moral of the story: You can't p*** on hospitality, I WONT ALLOW IT!
I had never seen Troll 2 before this film, but decided to watch itbefore viewing Best Worst Movie. After I saw it, I immediately watchedthe documentary as I was now hooked and had to know the story behindTroll 2.Now, I liked Troll 2. As a connoisseur of "bad" movies, Troll 2 has itall. I keep putting "bad" in quotes because they are only labeled that,and in my mind are not REALLY bad. They are wonderful. And that'sexactly why Best Worst Movie is wonderful. It celebrates with love theawesome earnestness of strange film making that is Troll 2.It catches up with many of the film's stars and the highlight is GeorgeHardy, the leading man in Troll 2. He's a living Ken Doll - you can'tbelieve how sincere and likable he is. (I recently met George, and letme tell you, he is really the nice person he portrays.) At one point inthe doc, George and the documentary's director (Michael Stevenson, whoplayed the little boy in Troll 2) are on a mission to show the film toGeorge's hometown. George, who is a dentist in his non-acting life, hasknown these people for years. But most them are not aware of thisillustrious Hollywood moment he had in 1989. George goes door to door,handing out fliers, and acting out moments from the film. Even thoughmany of his neighbors stare blankly as he repeats a classic line fromTroll 2, he gives the moment his all - smiling and laughing the wholetime. You know then that this is a man who loves to exist in a worldwhere he can tell people to see a movie he starred in that most actorswould remove from the IMDb page.I can't do justice in this review the documentary's many great momentsbecause the reality of those scenes have to be seen. But what you takeaway from this film is that the love true cinephiles have can breathlife into films and give them meaning never meant by a filmmaker.And this is the amazing magic of movies - like a good novel, theycontinually have new meaning. THAT is what makes "bad" movies - or anymovie for that matter - a classic.