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 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 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??
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
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.
TROLL 2 (GOBLINS)
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