#15 – Troll 2 1990
Nilbog? It’s “Goblin” spelled backwards! This is their kingdom!”
Troll 2 is your basic time-honored tale of a family that goes on vacation to some podunk town in the middle of nowhere, only to discover that the town’s residents are actually burlap potato sack wearing, vegetarian goblins that want to transform them all into plants so they can eat them. Troll 2 stands out from the rest of the movies on my Halloween list for one very noticeable reason. You can probably guess what that reason is solely from the plot description. But, if not: it is a terrible, terrible, terrible movie. Terrible….cubed. It is terrible in pretty much every facet involved in the craft of filmmaking: acting, dialogue, directing, special effects, etc. If you can name it, Troll 2 managed to screw it up in remarkable fashion. But that is what makes it so hilariously awesome and has firmly entrenched it as a strong contender for the title of Worst Movie Ever Made. It is so complete in its terribleness that it has garnered a rather passionate cult following, a phenomenon which is explored in the documentary, Best Worst Movie.
So what makes Troll 2 so terrible? First of all, the name doesn’t even make any sense. Yep. They even screwed up the name of the movie. Should you ever watch Troll 2, you will probably notice that the movie doesn’t actually contain any trolls. It features goblins. The movie was originally produced under the name, Goblins, but its U.S. distributors were unsure about the potential success of the movie as a standalone picture. So they renamed it Troll 2 in order to market it as a sequel to the 1986 movie, Troll. Even though the two movies have absolutely nothing to do with one another. And Troll 2 doesn’t even feature a single troll. Make sense so far?
Next we come to the “actors”. Within the first five minutes of this masterpiece, it is painfully obvious that you will not be witnessing any performance in danger of winning an Oscar. Probably because the cast was almost entirely assembled via an open casting call to the residents of the neighboring Utah towns in which it was filmed. George Hardy, a professional dentist with no acting experience, went to try out because he thought it sounded like fun. Maybe he could become an extra. No such luck. He ended up landing one of the largest speaking roles in the movie.
Then there is Don Packard. Packard plays the Nilbog General Store owner. His character was weird and creepy. Success! The best part about it? He wasn’t acting. It turns out Packard was a mental patient at a nearby hospital who had been released for a daytrip. Oh…he also recalled smoking a copious amount of pot prior to the filming of his scene so he had actually no idea of what was happening around him.
Then we have Arnold. I guess I should take back that comment about Oscar performances. This kid could flat out act.
When you factor in the film’s directorial problems, you can almost excuse the poor acting. Almost. Troll 2’s director, Claudio Fragasso is an Italian that spoke little to no fluent English at the time that the movie was being produced. The same goes for the scriptwriter, who also happens to be Fragasso’s wife, Rosella Drudi. And it also went for the entire Italian production crew that he brought to Utah, save for the costume designer. Due to the language barriers between cast and crew, the cast usually had little to no idea what was going on. The script was written in the same broken English that they had been receiving their direction in. When some of the cast members tried to offer a more grammatically correct version of the dialogue, Fragasso shot them down and told them to deliver it as written.
There you have it. If you enjoy awful movies, they don’t get much more awful than Troll 2.