10/22/09

Halloween Top 13: The Sequel #10- Troll 2 (1990)

Some people will say that Troll 2 is a stupid film. Some will say it’s poorly made, badly acted, got terrible special effects, and doesn’t deserve to deserve to come in at number 10 on a best sequels list. And a select few will say that it makes the eternal spirit of F.W. Murnau cry. Those people are overreacting. Those other naysayers, they’re almost right. Troll 2 is pretty stupid, badly acted, and has terrible special effects, but any film that is solidly this entertaining is perfect for any Halloween get together. After all, everything doesn’t have to be doom and gloom. Sometimes it can be a big, sweet, confectionary chunk of horror that will rot your cinematic pearly whites, and no other film hands out cavities like Troll 2.

Let’s start at the beginning. Not more than five minutes into the film you find out that the "creatures" are not even trolls; they’re goblins. You know the kind that like to turn people into their favorite half man/half plants snack. All of this you learn from a story that Joshua (Michael Stevenson) is being told by the spirit of his deceased Grandpa Seth (Robert Ormsby). The next day Joshua and his family are heading out for a month long vacation in Nilbog where the family is set to live on a farm. Joshua gets warnings from Grandpa to stop them from going, but Mom and Dad are intent on their vacation. It doesn't take long for Joshua to uncover a plot to make the family into food for goblins. While the family obliviously tries to settle into the strange town it's up to Joshua to discover that “Nilbog is Goblin spelled backwards! This is their kingdom!”

Now Troll 2 is not all fun and games. This is a movie that is intent on teaching some very important lessons. Like when Joshua’s sister Holly gets a late night visit from her boyfriend Elliot, and she knees him in the balls. After doubling over in pain, Elliot gasps, “Are you nuts? You tryin' to turn me into a homo?” I know there’s been plenty of debate over if you’re born gay or become it, but we finally have the answer. If you get kneed in the nuts, then the next day you're dating dudes. Lesson learned fellows, don’t leave home without your athletic protector ... or do. I'll leave that up to personal preference.

Troll 2 school is not out yet. There are so many more things to learn. Upon arriving there’s a feast of food laid out of green cookies, green cakes, green drinks, and even green on the corn. I mean has anyone else ever thought that what corn on the cob has been missing is green frosting? Anyway, so if your spectral Grandpa tells you that you must stop the family from eating the food, don’t try to get them away from the table or warn them in any way. Nah, what you should do is stand on your chair, unzip your fly, and pee all over the food. Simple as that. Of course this will lead you to a harsh admonishment from your Dad, “You can’t piss on hospitality. I won’t allow it.” Maybe not, Dad, but the damage is already done.

Maybe thats not the situation you find yourself in. Fair enough. Troll 2 has plenty of bases to cover. You could find a damsel in distress being hassled by a group of spear wielding, rubber mask wearing goblins. Should you run? Try and get her and yourself to safety? No way, you should try and reason with them. I mean two foot tall, murderous goblins are totally willing to hear you out. Oh, wait, did I say willing to hear you out? I meant willing to throw a spear at you and infect you with whatever makes you into a half man/half plant dinner. My mistake. So say you get speared and need some help, by all means look for a creepy converted church to seek shelter in. Then if a ghastly pale lady who looks like she would be Helena Bonham Carter's best friend tries to give you a mug of strange, smoky beverage she claims will help you, you should totally drink it. It surely will not turn you into a a tree. Oh, wait, did I say….never mind, you get the idea.

Troll 2 is a film that should not for any reason be taken seriously, and I can't ever quite decide how seriously the parties involved were taking it. Director Claudio Fragasso had a reputation in Italian genre cinema. He’d written the script for Bruno Mattei’s Hell of the Living Dead (and served as Assistant Director as well), taken over for Lucio Fulci when he walked out on Zombi 3, and directed the Alice Cooper starring cheesefest The Monster Dog. So this was a guy who’d been around a while, and I'm not saying those are great films either. I’ve never seen anything that comes close to the off the hook badness that is Troll 2. I hard to believe it could be so heinously bad without it being intentional. Directors like Chis Seaver aspire to make a film as intentionally pointless, silly, and inept and can't seem to do it. Troll 2 is the real deal.

Let’s get around to the actors because I can't hold back on some of these people any longer. The worst of the bunch, and this is saying something with this bunch, has to be George Hardy as Joshua’s dad Michael. Mutes give better line delivery than this guy, but I was still constantly entertained by him especially when he had to confront the preacher that looked like Eddie Rabbit’s ugly brother. When I say this guy was bad, I mean he could make Tara Reid look like Helen Mirren. On the subject of a different Reed, Deborah Reed as Creedence Lenore Gielgud (the aforementioned future BFF for Bonham Carter) takes over the top acting to a whole new top. Where Hardy entertained, Reed had me in stitches as the high priestess of the goblin cult. By the time she uses her magic to make herself young and beautiful, dances around sexily with a corn on the cob, and makes out with a teenage boy which causes the corn to pop (“All we have to do is heat it up.”), she had totally entered the LBL’s Hall of Fame for best characters ever.

I could go through all the actors in this flick and give them each their due, or comeuppance as the case may be, but suffice it to say that they’re all equally bad and equally wonderful. So let me turn my attention to the trolls. I’m sorry did I say trolls? Goblins, whatever. Of the three people credited for special effects makeup, only one of them had a future credit among them. I can't say that I'm shocked. It's probably because when people see their work in Troll 2 it looks like someone had raided the rejects bins at Don Post studios. There’s one particular scene where a Goblin licks his chops that you can clearly see the human mouth behind the mask, but yet again, it adds another layer to the terrible joy of Troll 2.

I hate to use such a trite phrase as “so bad it’s good”, but if one film was ever made that perfectly encapsulated this maxim, it has to be Troll 2. I am eagerly awaiting a time when I can get my hands on the 2009 documentary made about the film called Best Worst Movie. It was made by Michael Stevenson who starred as Joshua, and from what I can tell, he catches up with a lot of the cast. For my money, Troll 2 is dollar for dollar a motion picture that will always have me laughing. This is one to have some friends over, have some drinks, eat some green cookies, and have a hell of a good time watching. They'll be plenty more days for evil tricks. Sometimes you have to sit back and enjoy the treats. Well, unless they're green.

Bugg Rating (Actual Quality)
Bugg Rating (Actual Entertainment Value)


Once more I have a great list of sequels to include, and today it comes from one of the best horror bloggers around, B-Sol from Vault of Horror. Let's see what films he has in store for us:

Here are some of my favorite horror sequels:

Bride of Frankenstein
Dawn of the Dead
Dracula's Daughter
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2
Evil Dead 2
Hellraiser 2
Aliens
Exorcist III
The Brides of Dracula
28 Weeks Later

Great list from a great blogger! We've already seen Hellraiser II appear on the countdown, and if I hadn't just watched it recently Exorcist III would have surely made the cut. There's quite a few more I see on there that I might be talking about in the days to come. So stay tuned and I'll be back tomorrow with Number 9. It was one of the first films that I talked about on The Lair, and I think it's high time to wax poetic about it again. See you then folks.

5 comments:

  1. I still haven't seen this. I've read a lot about it and I've seen clips on YouTube--I'll get around to it soon. As you know, I love this kind of crap.

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  2. Exorcist III has always been so underrated. George C. Scott is excellent. And Brad Dourif's big scene is epic.

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  3. Rev. You must see Troll 2. I beg of you. I need a live review from you of this film.

    B-Sol, I have become an Exorcist III convert and definitely agree. Thanks again for taking part in the list.

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  4. I didn't even know there was a Troll2! I kinda want to see it now.

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  5. You're like the 5th person to ask me to do a live review of Troll 2, I guess I better ablige. It is now locked and loaded in the netflix queue.

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