Troll 2 (1990)

Troll 2 is somewhat of a cult in the States, only a cursory glance at the documentary Best Worst Movie shows the mass adoration for this little flick all over college campuses and late night boozy film sessions with tanked up frat boys and true lovers of bad genre cinema. And it definitely is bad genre cinema, and no mistake.

The plot follows a family, who visit the sleepy town of Nilbog to get away from it all but Nilbog is home to some pretty strange (and badly costumed) midgets. The most annoying little kid ever to hit celluloid has visions of his dead grandfather telling him to piss on the dinner table and get the family out of Nilbog before they eat some of that green gook, their heads bleed green and they turn into a half human, half tree which is a goblin’s favourite food. Obviously. Also visiting Nilbog are a group of horny teen boys, who are clearly just there so we can witness some goblin food before the family have to get there green on.

The script is utter nonsense, changing up on characterisations halfway through scenes. For example, one scene finds the young playboy boyfriend being told where to get off by Daddy, and in the very next scene he is “part of the family”. It also contains some of the most hilariously bad exposition, such as “Nilbog! Its goblin spelt backwards! This is their kingdom!” and “I don’t like this! Why don’t they show any sign of life?” or even “Please, lets talk. We’re all humans here.”

Cast with entirely non-actors so utterly inept that walking and talking seems like a distant dream along with unicorns and pixies, it only adds to the hilarity of this dialogue. To say these “actors” were mostly wooden not only leads to an excellent pun, but is the understatement of the century, these people were practically petrified. The kid, played by Michael Stephenson, is appalling and annoying in equal measure. The snotty way he laments over every syllable is like a speech therapist’s worst nightmare, his hideous teeth on display with every misplaced grimace. The father, played by small town dentist and Matthew Modine look-a-like, George Hardy, is hammier than a cartoon pig but so much fun to watch. I could literally list every cast member and talk about how god-damn awful they all were, but that would take forever. Just believe me when I say that the acting in here is so bad, it needs to be seen to be believed.

All that said, fairly well-known hack director Claudio Fragasso, under the pseudonym Drake Floyd (If an Italian hack uses a pseudonym then you know it has to be bad!), does whip out some interesting shots which I personally believe is just luck. If you make enough movies, eventually you will pick up something of worth. So maybe he should stick to being a hired gun and leave the writing to someone with a basic grasp of film narrative and cohesive written structure, or then again looking at these performances maybe he should have quit long before this ever saw the light of day.

Obviously, Troll 2 drips with green gore and was written like this to get around the bloody gore rules that were put in place to appease the Mary Whitehouse gang. But it really has some pretty decent effects. The final pay off is actually surprisingly satisfying and the half man, half tree stuff, while silly (why the hell is he holding a mug with some twigs in it?), is quite effective. Although the goblins do look suspiciously like they are wearing halloween masks from the cheapest shop you can think of, they still manage to exude some sort of creepiness. The real star of this film is the editor, Vanio Amici. So often these good bad movies survive solely on their pacing. Its not enough to have shitty acting and dialogue, its got to zip by from one hilarious cut to the next. And Troll 2 delivers that in spades.

If you were ever under the grand delusion that Troll 2 is a lost classic of the 80s then please get yourself to the nearest head doctor for a prompt and thorough reprogramming, but if you want a group of your most sarcastic friends around, a whole tonne of beers and something with almost no redeeming features to chortle at while chucking stuff at the telly, then Troll 2 is the movie for you.

Rating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

One Comment on “Troll 2”

  1. Hahaha, I love this flick. To much fun to watch!

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