So it all began innocently enough when Ben told me to look at a video on YouTube. Little did I know that watching this 30-second video clip would change my life.
Do I need to be so dramatic? Probably not. But it's not every day that you spend a considerable amount of time trying to track down a movie made in 1990 on a budget of $5.25.
The movie in question?
(Are you sure that one was not enough? 'Cause I'm pretty sure it was.)
I have a child-like wonderment when it comes to stuff like this (i. e. stuff that normal people would generally spend five seconds thinking about), so when I heard that TROLL 2 was voted one of the worst movies ever made on the Internet Movie Database (funnily enough, The Hottie and the Nottie is currently #1), I just had to see it for myself.
So is the film as bad as the VHS cover would have you believe?
If this picture is any indication...
...then the answer is a resounding SO BAD IT'S...BAD.
And yet, I have a strange compulsion to document it.
Here are 21 reasons why TROLL 2 is maybe not so great.
1. BAD STUNT WORK
If you look closely, you might notice that this guy trips over absolutely nothing. At least the editors are kind: this appears within the first minute of the film, so it gives you a chance to shut off the DVD player and spend your hour-and-a-half more wisely than watching TROLL 2. Unfortunately, it only made me want to see more.
2. COSTUMING BY AN EX-PORN STAR
This is the town where the all-American Waits family vacation on some convoluted "family exchange." I know, I don't get it either. Even a wrong turn or a flat tire en route to a "The Tyra Banks Show" taping would have made more sense. The biggest revelation that "Nilbog" is "Goblin" spelled backwards (the beauty, I suppose, is in the simplicity, and oh, how simple it is) doesn't even come until the half-way mark. Which brings me to... It's also very apt that her name appears as we're treated to her potato sack troll-friendly summer line. It's also apt that as someone who spent the better part of her youth unclothed, she spent her latter years dressing others.
4. TROLLS vs. GOBLINS vs. LEPRECHAUNS
Mr. Waits is the archetypal family patriarch -- steadfast, patient, and loving. He's also got an affinity for revealing pajamas, in which he likes to lounge around in, always ready for a romance novel cover shoot should the opportunity arise spontaneously in his living room. Unfortunately, by the next shot, the director's made him cover up. Boo.
So the film is called TROLL 2, even though it's not a sequel to Troll and doesn't actually feature trolls. And the town is called "Nilbog," obviously named after the townsfolk. But for some strange reason, we're supposed to make a connection via tattooed four leaf clovers that these people are nefarious trolls. I love movies that go through several identity crises just because they can.
5. TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL DAD
Just to refresh our fond memories, let's see it again:But the big question is, can this look be easily incorporated in our every day lives?
Holly is the rebellious teen daughter who likes to work out in her room, tease her hair, and date emasculated men. When her boyfriend, Elliott, climbs up her bedroom window and nearly scares her, causing her to knee him in the groin, she has this fascinating conversation with him: Yes, yes it can! Thanks, Laura Gemser!
(Here's some fun trivia: George Hardy, the actor playing the father, is a real-life dentist.)
6. HOLLY WAITS AND HER WACKY BOYFRIEND
ELLIOTT: "Are you nuts? Are you trying to turn me into a homo?"
HOLLY: "Wouldn't be too hard! If my father discovers you here, he'd cut off your little nuts and eat them. He can't stand you."
ELLIOTT: "And you?"
HOLLY: "I like you."
They bicker some more about Elliott's need to bring his pervy friends everywhere. I might point out that the argument arises because Elliott has brought his friends to this midnight rendezvous. When confronted with Holly's impatience, Elliott says, "What's wrong with having friends?" To which Holly replies, "Nothing, if you want to remain a virgin all your life. You take them to bed with you too! And I don't believe in group sex." Elliott is sad.
In real life, Holly would be way too high maintenance to date. One second she's beating the crap out of her boyfriend, and the next she's coyly flirting with him. It's also strange that in the next chunk of clunky dialogue, she invites him on the family trip, considering how her father hates him and all.
But in Holly's defense, her boyfriend is pretty annoying (and possibly a long-lost member of Menudo). So let's see her deliver some street justice once more.
7. THE HOLLY WAITS DANCEThis was just one of many WTF moments to be mined from this movie. Is this filler? The director's loving tribute to "Thriller"? A new form of jazzercise? But most importantly, is Holly really an Aries? Watching this wacky, nonsensical and non-plot-driving dance unfold before your eyes is worth the price of rental alone.8. THE BASEBALL OF FORESHADOWINGInstead of shelling out a couple of bucks for a soundtrack of foreboding music found in most discount stores after Hallowe'en, the makers of TROLL 2 have opted to show us that something ominous is about to happen through a magical baseball that reveals all via green food colouring.Wait, I didn't quite get it. Can I have another clue?Ah. Thanks.
9. THE GOOGLY-EYED GOBLIN
No list can go by without a shout-out to the goblins who actually make the film, and this one, which pops up intermittently to show us of what we can all do with our fifth grade Hallowe'en masks, is probably my favourite. How can you be scared of something that looks so tragically comical? And most importantly, how can you stay mad at it?
10. BAD SPECIAL EFFECTS
But the most laughable thing has to be this:They couldn't just hire a freckled actress if they wanted them so badly?
It goes without saying that TROLL 2 would be riddled with these, but it's sometimes akin to watching a junior high drama club stage an adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I don't know what's worse, the special effects or the tacky 80s decor. And this is supposed to pass for lightning.
11. VEGETARIAN GOBLINS
Seriously. No one actually gets eaten in this film until they turn into a puddle of green digestible goo. Like, if you were to encounter one of these goblins (let's hope it's the googly-eyed one!), they couldn't actually eat you. Instead, they would try to force green jelly slime down your throat that turns you into goo so that they could eat you. This process takes up way too much time...which brings us to the next point.
12. THE GREEN GOO
The trolls spend half of the movie trying to entice people with their form-changing food. And half the time, it doesn't work. Perhaps they should come up with a different course of action; one, say, that doesn't involve trying to trick people into eating food. I don't know about you, but watching these trolls try to coax a young boy into having a bowl of ice cream doesn't exactly scream "menacing" to me.
Speaking of Joshua Waits, why are the trolls constantly trying to turn him into goo so that they can eat him?He doesn't seem like he would be of much substance, being a child and all. And he's obviously way smarter than they are, foiling their plans at almost every turn. Luckily for the trolls, he seems to be the only remotely intelligent person in this entire film.
13. THE LOSS OF LOGICThere are many instances where watching TROLL 2 feels like you're witnessing Sheri Sheppard teach a science class, and this is just one of many leaps in logic: When the Waits family arrives in Nilbog, they don't actually bring any food with them. I don't know if they expected their host family to provide all meals, but I would say that it's pretty stupid to plan a family exchange with no regard to eating arrangements. And yet, they're actually shocked that the fridge is stocked with nothing but spoiled milk.
This is Drew, one of Elliott's friends. Like Elliott, he's not really all that bright. And like the Waits family, neither boys think to bring food when they follow the Waits to Nilbog. When Elliott is presented with this sandwich, which is obviously laced with the green goo of troll malice, he doesn't hesitate to wolf it down. But really, would anyone really eat a sandwich that looked like it was stuffed with coleslaw? On the other hand, coleslaw is good, so I can forgive Drew for sealing his own fate.
What I can't get behind is the Waits' stupidity. Not moments ago, Mr. Waits witnessed this bearded man menace his son with a bowl of ice cream, and now they're all happy that the same man is throwing them a party. I guess they're just easy that way.
To be continued...