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TROLL 2

Is this really the worst movie of all time? I say no. Yes, it’s a profoundly, almost otherworldly awful movie, but it’s also funny and entertaining--unintentionally, of course!

The Package
     The Italian made, Utah lensed TROLL 2 (1990) actually has nothing to do with Empire Pictures’ ho-hum TROLL, being a self-contained effort sharing only some conceptual similarities with the former film. TROLL 2 was called GOBLIN in some cultures but for its US release was retitled to capitalize on the success(?) of TROLL.
     This film is also notable because it’s widely classified as the worst movie of all time--and no wonder, as it was directed by Claudio Fragasso, whose other films include the aptly titled MONSTER DOG (1984) and HOUSE 5 (1990). In fact TROLL 2 only attained its worst movie status for a brief period when it made the #1 Worst Movie spot on imdb (it’s now up to #60 in imdb’s “Bottom 100”). TROLL 2 also had the honor of having a movie made about it, the 2009 documentary BEST WORST MOVIE, directed by Michael Stephenson (the child star of the film), which has only increased its popularity on the cult circuit.

The Story
     The young Joshua’s grandfather tells him a story about goblins who lived in a forest long ago and made trouble for humans. The only thing is the old man is imaginary--or at least invisible to everyone but Josh.
     The kid accompanies his parents and older sister to a country house in the rural town of Nilbog, where a malevolent force is loose. Josh learns this upon seeing his family sit down to eat a local delicacy that grandpa implores Josh not to let his family imbibe. Josh responds by pissing all over the food, and his father reprimands him thusly: “Don’t piss on hospitality!
     Elsewhere in Nilbog a teen couple is lured into the home of a poorly played witch woman, who turns the teen girl into a sort of weed coffin and her companion into a human plant. Another teen is given a similar treatment when a cop hands him a green hamburger to eat, and he somehow ends up in the same house with the plant boy.
     Josh figures out what’s happening in the town upon seeing Nilbog in a mirror: it’s actually Goblin spelled backwards. Speaking of goblin, Josh sees several such creatures while spying on a congregation in a barn whose participants, actually goblins in human form, try to make him join them. Luckily Josh’s dad happens to be passing by(!) when this is going on and puts a stop to it.
     The goblins retaliate by inviting Josh and his family to a party where they’ll be served a special goblin cuisine. Only Josh’s grandfather can help, but he of course is dead…or is he??

The Direction
     Like all truly awful movies, TROLL 2 has one wondering throughout if it’s all some kind of put-on. The acting is so uniformly inept it almost seems like the performers are doing parodies of people acting, the special effects are strictly of the bargain basement variety, and the narrative is fragmented, uneven, repetitive, inconsistent, convoluted, over-reliant on coincidence and plain dumb.
     There are some promising elements here and there that are blown by director Claudio Fragasso’s ineptitude. One potentially good moment involving a goblin bursting out of a mirror is ruined by inappropriate synthesizer music. Another sequence that could have been good, the gross-out shock ending, is ruined simply because it’s allowed to drag on for too long. The boy’s final tearful farewell to his grandfather is likewise screwed up (and not just because of the fake tears the boy emits) because the old man has already died at least twice before!
     And yet despite all that, or rather because of all that, TROLL 2 is fun, much more so than the first TROLL. That film, after all, was competently made, while competence isn’t a word that belongs in the same breath as TROLL 2.
 

Vital Statistics

TROLL 2 (GOBLINS)
Filmirage

Director: Claudio Fragasso
Screenplay: “Drake Floyd” (Rossella Drudi, Claudio Fragasso)
Cinematography: Giancarlo Ferrando
Editing: Vanio Amici
Cast: Michael Stephenson, George Hardy, Margo Prey, Connie Young, Robert Ormsby, Deborah Reed, Jason Wright, Darren Ewing, Jason Steadman, David McConnell, Gary Carlson
 

     

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