Dailies - Tim Salmons honors the passing of a director we greatly admire http://t.co/XUBgz1aNbv
Troll 2: The 20th Anniversary Nilbog Edition
Release Date(s)1990 (October 5, 2010)
Studio(s)Filmirage (MGM/20th Century Fox)
Until the fan favorite documentary Best Worst Movie started making the rounds, I was only dimly aware that Troll 2 even existed. I had seen the un-classic original back in the late 80s, itself quite the steaming pile primarily notable for a sequence where Sonny Bono transforms into something that’s supposed to be some kind of seedpod but looks more like a giant turd. After that experience, I assumed the series had nowhere to go but sideways. It was unlikely to get much better but it certainly couldn’t get any worse. Then I started to hear about Best Worst Movie and decided I needed to see just how awful this movie was for myself.
To be clear from the get-go, Best Worst Movie is not a part of this Blu-ray release. I know, there’s a big sticker on the front that mentions it prominently. That’s just to get your attention. The documentary is scheduled for DVD release on November 16, 2010, from Docurama Films, so mark your calendars.
The documentary was directed by Michael Stephenson, the precocious young star of Troll 2. He and his family are going on a strange “vacation” where they swap houses with a bunch of hick farmers from the wee hamlet of Nilbog. But the kid is haunted by the ghost of his dead grandpa, warning him away from Nilbog as it’s the epicenter of the Kingdom of the Goblins. That’s right. Goblins. There are no trolls in this movie. The vegan goblins turn their prey into an edible mush by forcing them to eat food laced with some kind of fluorescent green chlorophyll. And in what passes for a subplot, Stephenson’s teenage sister is pursued by her “good-for-nothing” boyfriend and his three friends, enjoying one of the most homoerotic RV road trips since the Village People stopped touring.
I don’t think there’s a person on Earth who would take one look at this movie and think for a second that it’d be any good. The only real question is how bad is it? Make no mistake, Troll 2 is a movie of staggering ineptitude. Director “Drake Floyd” (a.k.a. Claudio Fragasso) assembled the single worst ensemble of actors ever gathered together for a common purpose. If you went into any junior high English class and watched C-level students reading Shakespeare out loud, you would see better performances than you would here. In its way, it’s really kind of a miracle of bad acting. Most of the actors are merely stiff and unnatural, making Deborah Reed’s work stand out all the more. She vamps it up uncontrollably as goblin queen Creedence Leonore Gielgud, rolling her eyes, sashaying across the sets and, in the movie’s highlight, seducing one of the boys with a corncob.
The effects (I can’t bring myself to refer to them as “special”) are ludicrous, the plot is nonsensical, and the screenplay feels like it was written in Italian, translated into Chinese, then translated into Russian before an English version was prepared for the actors. It’s no wonder Troll 2 picked up a cult. They don’t make bad movies like this anymore. This is a Manos: The Hands of Fate level disaster that you’ll either find hilarious or excruciating or possibly both.
Fox has answered the prayers of HD fans everywhere by bringing Troll 2 to Blu-ray. Sure, we might not have the Star Wars movies, Jaws, Citizen Kane, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Rear Window, The Care Bears Movie II or even the original Troll on Blu-ray, but we’ve got this. Let’s be honest... this is an astonishing waste of resources and technology. The movie looks and sounds... I don’t know, fine, I guess. Seriously, it seems like a decent transfer. Maybe if you’re one of the half a dozen people who caught this on the afternoon back in 1990 when it had a theatrical release, you’ll have a stronger opinion of it one way or the other.
The only extra on either the Blu-ray or DVD (yep, you get both) is the original trailer, which completely disproves my theory that every movie has at least two minutes of compelling footage. Now, I didn’t really expect any extras. I assume Best Worst Movie will scratch that itch all on its own. But what’s the point of releasing this movie to Blu-ray on its own? If nothing else, give us a little value by making it a double feature of crap by including the first Troll movie. Troll 2 is good for a laugh but it ain’t that funny.
Anyway, even though Troll 2 may well be the most pointless Blu-ray disc ever manufactured, it’s here if you want it. The additional detail really makes those goblin masks look extra crappy, so your next visit to Nilbog will be twice as sharp. But for most folks, I suspect one viewing of Troll 2 will be too many.
- Dr. Adam Jahnke