So my reward for suffering through Troll last week is that I get to suffer through the even worse Troll 2 this week. I made it through about 5minutes of Best Worst Movie, the documentary of the making of Troll 2. It’s earnest and dull in all the standard documentary ways. I did learn that Troll 2 was originally supposed to be called “Goblin” and had no relationship to Troll 1. Yeah, no kidding. Not to mention it should’ve been called “Goblins” since there are more than one of them. Well, that’s enough set up for Troll 2 the current title holder of “Best Worst Movie”, let’s check it out, shall we?
Troll 2 (1990)
To answer your foremost burning question, yes, this movie is amazingly bad in completely new and terrible ways. Both simultaneously over-acted and under-acted, as well as over and under-directed, it’s an astonishing piece of garbage filmmaking. Unlike most derivate no-budget horror movies, this one is completely original, because nobody else would make a movie this stupid.
We begin with an homage to The Princess Bride as Grandpa is telling an obnoxious, freckled boy named Joshua the story of the Goblins. But then, dun-dun-duh, Grandpa nonsensically turns out to be a ghost. I will ask you to note the title of this film. Warning: No trolls were involved in the production of this movie.
So Ghost Grandpa explains that the goblins, portrayed by little people wearing burlap sacks and immobile rubber masks, force humans to eat gross green goop that makes you sweat green slime and turn into a tree person. I will charitably call the make-up effects unconvincing. The goblin masks never look like actual monster faces, but the make-up artists did have the clever idea to leave slits for the actors’ tongues to poke out. So that’s lurid and unpleasant.
It seems like the filmmakers were familiar with the original Troll, as the goblins’ plan involves turning people into half-plant goblin goo. But then everything else is different. And cheaper. But also directed like a first year college student after a two week Jolt Cola binge. Sadly though, Sonny Bono didn’t sign on for the rest of the Troll universe films.
Joshua and his family, featuring Minimal Acting Mullet Dad, Bad Hair Mom, and Sex-Obsessed Daughter, as well as her boyfriend Brain-Damaged Horn-dog, get a sweetheart deal on a vacation to Nilbog, population 40. It took me 30 seconds to notice that Nilbog spelled backwards is “goblin” but it takes Joshua 45 minutes to come to this brilliant conclusion. It seems the town is harboring goblins and our boring family are on the menu.
So what elevates this movie above, or below, your standard low-budget horror turkey? Sub-standard production values in every area of filming. A complete lack of directing style, and a Halloween decoration level of scariness.
My favorite scene involves one of Brain-Dead Horndog’s friends, Pervy Nerd, who rescues a random blonde girl wearing half a costume. He gets speared by goblins, then runs into an over-lit un-scary church whose caretaker is the gloriously over-acting Deborah Reed, giving a Nick Cage level performance. Sadly, this is Ms. Reed’s only film credit. Deborah Reed sports frightening teeth and, spoiler alert: turns out to be the Queen of the Goblins, as she tricks the girl into eating goblin glop and then has her covered in slime and turned into goblin chow and Pervy Nerd is turned into a half-tree man, but not before narrating the blonde girl’s demise for the audience’s benefit. “They’re eating her. And then they’re going to eat me. Oh my god.” But imagine that line delivered with all of the conviction and enthusiasm of an accountant while amortizing your taxes.
So Joshua and his family are harassed by goblins and demented townspeople, who are really disguised goblins. In the second best scene, a goblin inexplicably crashes through a mirror and tries to kill Joshua, but he is rescued by Ghost Grandpa somehow wielding an axe. More crazy stuff happens and more scenery is chewed by barely competent actors. And just to entice you to watch it further, I will only say there’s a death by popcorn. Needless to say, this is a must-see film for bad-movie aficionados like myself.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Subpar in every way, except in entertainment value, Troll 2 puts Troll 1 to shame. Unlike the original, something strange and amusing happens every five minutes. There are a ton of unconvincing, but creative gore effects and, even worse, goblin make-up effects. This is the kind of movie where you’re rooting for the characters to die in horrible ways. It’s basically got it all, and buckets of goblin slime, too. Deborah Reed goes for it and she’s terrific. In an alternative universe, she would have gone on to a long career playing blitzed out weirdos in bigger budget movies.
Do yourself a favor and sit back and enjoy the dulcet tones of actors shouting their lines for no reason, long sections of dialogue-free screaming, and several catastrophically failed jump scares. You definitely need to see “The Best Worst Movie”, Troll 2.