Sunday, November 1, 2009

Troll 2 (1990)

Review #0015

This uber-camp classic has all the cheese you want dripping inbetween slices of rotten bread. The lame actors (all of which are, or appear unprofessional) stare straight at the lens to deliver lame lines of dialogue (such as the classic: "They're eating her... and then they're going to eat me... OH MY GOD!", or "Nilbog! It's goblin spelled backwards! This is their kingdom!"); the nonsensical scenario involves an axe-wielding, time-stopping, lightning-shooting ghost grandfather and a magical stone that gives power to a big-breasted druidess and her goblin followers, whose plans are foiled thanks in part to a double-decker bologna sandwich(!); the goblin costumes, designed by porn star Laura Gemser (who also worked on the unrelated "Troll 3" a.k.a. "Creepers" a.k.a. "Contamination .7" a.k.a. "Troll III: Contamination Point 7" a.k.a. "The Crawlers") are basically potato sacks filled with foam, combined with stiff latex masks (only one of which featured a movable mouth) and spears made of sticks; editing is a mess, totaling more than fifty continuity errors; the two-tone soundtrack is forgettable in places and downright annoying in others (such as the "party" scene where townfolks groove to the same four notes repeated endlessly); only the FX are slightly interesting, in particular Arnold's man-tree suit and the pool of green goo where one of the girl victims dissolves. In short, "Troll 2" is a total fiasco. It doesn't even feature trolls! You see, it's one of those deals where the American distributor repackaged the film (an Italian Gremlins rip-off originally entitled "Goblins") under a new name to stimulate sales by association. And eventually, it did sell, and become a deserving cult classic. Largely considered one of the worst films of all times (as I'm writing this, it is #83 on's Top 100 Worst Films list, #1 of which is "Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2"), it has got legions of fans attracted by its good-natured campiness. I first saw "Troll 2" at this year's Fantasia festival with an over-capacity crowd of about 700 people shouting lines and chanting "Grandpa Seth, Grandpa Seth, Grandpa Seth!", and let me just say it is the only way to see the film (and truly enjoy it). With some friends and a DVD, it's sure to draw a few laughs, but at a sold-out midnight screening, it becomes more than its filmmakers ever intended it to be: a true cultural phenomenon.