The best bad movies are not deliberately bad. Always, the most fondly remembered stinkers are the movies that people went all out and they tried their best and totally failed gloriously.

-Zack Carlson, interviewed on Best Worst Movie

I don’t think I’ve shared this yet, but I LOVE bad movies! It must come from my regular watching of Mystery Science Theater 3000 in the ’90s, but I can watch The Room, Plan 9 From Outer Space, and most SyFy movies regularly. That’s why I was delighted when I came upon Troll 2 via my husband’s watching of Best Worst Movie, a documentary on the cult following of the “film”, on EPIX.

Troll 2

• Movie: 95 min, now showing on EPIX (check your local cable listings)
• Director: Claudio Fragasso
• 1990
• Genre: Campy Horror 
• Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys REALLY bad movies

The Movie: Synopsis by Caitlin Crowley, per interview on Best Worst Movie:

Words don’t really do it justice…you really do have to watch the movie…It’s about a boy who goes on vacation with his family and it turns out that everyone there wants to turn them into plants to eat them and his grandfather, who is dead, is helping him on this quest to rescue his family…It just doesn’t sound that compelling to most people…You’d have to like not have a heart or something to not like it.

Review: I agree with Crowley’s synopsis and review. Words really don’t do it justice. Let’s just say I absolutely loved this kaka, and I’ll stick a few clips in here of my favorite scenes to illustrate why…

After the son pees all over their supper, Dad gets mad:

The trolls attack!

These scenes and more make this movie a gem. It’s pure craptastic magic. Check it out!

-Oh, I forgot to mention: Despite its title being Troll 2, it has no connection with the movie Troll, and there isn’t a single troll in the movie. Just thought I’d mention that!

Note: Because this movie is technically horror, it satisfies the R.I.P. Peril on the Screen Challenge!

Best Worst Movie

• Movie: 93 min, now showing on EPIX (check your local cable listings)
• Director: Michael Stephenson
• 2009
• Genre: Documentary on the making of a movie/ cult phenomenon
• Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys documentaries on movies.

The Movie: This documentary was directed and produced by Michael Stephenson, the child star of Troll 2. He interviews the actors from the 1990 straight-to-video flick, which they all deem “a terrible movie”. The documentary spends the most time with George Hardy, the man who played the father (see above video on “hospitality”) who works as a very successful small-town dentist. He really makes this documentary come alive with his charming personality and nostalgic love for the “film”. While he has moved on with his life and is amused by his acting stint, other actors from the movie try to hide the movie from their resumes as they continue to try to make it as actors. The documentary also features the cult phenomenon surrounding Troll 2– annual fan screenings around the country, a couple who created their own Troll 2 costumes from scratch, an American soldier who shared his love for the “stinker” with the troops in Iraq, and so on. The film also interviews the director, Claudio Fragasso, who deems it “an important movie” and bristles at any mention of it being “the worst movie”. Finally, the documentary shows (nearly) the full cast and director reuniting in the Utah town where they shot the movie, recreating the scenes under the director’s stern eye. The end credits reveal that Fragasso is planning Troll 2: Part 2. Yes!

Review: Unlike the movie it is documenting, this is a really good film. It helped me understand why I, and so many others, love bad movies. It also reminded me of my favorite mockumentary Waiting for Guffman. Particularly, the dentist George Hardy. Just as Eugene Levy’s character was successful in dentistry but had big screen dreams, Hardy clearly missed his calling (or so he thinks). Without hesitating, when asked by Stephenson if he would be in a sequel to Troll 2, Hardy responded “Yes!”

This documentary was sweet, awkward, and ideal for anyone who enjoys behind the scenes discussions of movies, especially bad movies.

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