|Directed by||Claudio Fragasso (credited as Drake Floyd)|
|Produced by||Brenda Norris
Asher Zulkosky Larson
|Screenplay by||Drake Floyd|
|Story by||Rossella Drudi
|Music by||Carlo Maria Cordio|
|Edited by||Vania Friends|
|Distributed by||Epic Productions|
Troll 2 is a 1990 horror comedy B movie directed by Claudio Fragasso (under the pseudonym Drake Floyd) and starring Michael Stephenson, George Hardy, Margo Prey, Connie McFarland, Deborah Reed and Jason Wright. Although produced under the title Goblins, United States distributors were skeptical about the film's ability to succeed as an indie film and renamed it Troll 2 in an attempt to market it as a sequel to the 1986 Empire Pictures film Troll. The two films, however, have no connection, and no trolls are actually depicted in Troll 2.
The plot concerns a family pursued by vegetarian goblins who seek to transform them into plants so that they can eat them. The film's production was rife with difficulties, largely revolving around a language barrier between the Italian-speaking crew and English-speaking cast, and producer Joe D'Amato's approach to low-budget film making. The resulting film is generally considered to be of exceptionally poor quality.
Although released in relative obscurity, it has gained a very large cult following, leading to a critically acclaimed documentary produced by one of the actors (Stephenson). Best Worst Movie, released in 2010, chronicled the film's large fanbase.
Michael has always dreamed of being a farmer, and arranges a home exchange vacation in which he and his family will move into a house in the rural farming community of Nilbog for the Summer. The night before the family is scheduled to leave, Michael's son Joshua (Stephenson) is contacted by the ghost of his dead grandfather, Seth (Robert Ormsby), warning him that vegetarian goblins want to transform him and his family into plants so that they can eat them. Seth tells Joshua that goblins can turn people into plants by feeding them poisoned food or drink.
Meanwhile Joshua's sister, Holly (McFarland), receives a visit from her boyfriend Elliot (Wright). Holly accuses Elliot of being a homosexual since he seems to prefer spending time with his friends. Elliot promises to show his devotion by accompanying the family on vacation.
The next morning, Elliot fails to arrive and the family leaves without him; they encounter him en route to Nilbog, riding in an RV with his friends Arnold, Drew, and Brent. Outside of Nilbog, Seth appears as a hitchhiker, who warns Joshua that Nilbog is the kingdom of the goblins, and that if his family eats anything while they are there, they will be turned into plants. The family disbelieves Joshua's warnings and continue on to Nilbog. There, Joshua sets about destroying or contaminating all of the food the family finds or acquires.
Arnold goes for a walk outside of Nilbog and encounters a girl being chased by goblins. They flee to a chapel in the woods, where they encounter the goblins' queen, Druid Creedence Leonore Gielgud (Reed), who uses the "Stonehenge Magic Stone" to give the goblins power. Creedence tricks them into drinking a magic potion that dissolves the girl into vegetable matter and turns Arnold into a plant.
Joshua sneaks away from home and eavesdrops on a goblin church sermon, which bewails the evils of eating meat. The parishioners capture him and attempt to force feed him poison ice cream; Michael walks in on the scene and becomes suspicious, taking Joshua home.
At the house, the family discover that the townspeople have prepared them a surprise party to apologize for the events at the church. Joshua attempts to make contact with Seth, only for Creedence to appear in goblin form. Seth's ghost appears and chops her hand off. Creedence returns to her chapel, where she transforms herself into a beautiful woman in revealing clothes; she then travels to Elliot's RV, where she seduces Brent and drowns him in popcorn.
Joshua, Elliot, Holly, Michael and Diane hold a séance to communicate with Seth, who returns from the dead and tells them that he can retain a physical form for exactly ten minutes before he has to return to the afterlife. Seth gives Joshua a paper bag containing a "secret weapon" to use against the goblins. The goblins break into the house and transport Joshua to Creedence's chapel, where Joshua opens the bag, revealing a "double-decker baloney" sandwich. He eats the sandwich, making his body poisonous to the goblins; he then touches the Stonehenge Stone, which destroys Creedence.
The family returns home, where Joshua's mother eats food in the refrigerator. It turns out to have been poisoned by the family of goblins who took over their home, and she is turned into a plant. The film ends with Joshua walking in on a group of goblins eating his mother's corpse out of the bathtub and offering him a bite.
- Michael Stephenson – Joshua Waits
- George Hardy – Michael Waits
- Margo Prey – Diana Waits
- Connie McFarland – Holly Waits
- Robert Ormsby – Seth
- Deborah Reed – Creedence Leonore Gielgud
- Jason Wright – Elliot Cooper
- Darren Ewing – Arnold
- Jason Steadman – Drew
- David McConnell – Brent
- Chris Conroy - Goblin
- Jay Thomas - Goblin (cameo roll)
The script—originally titled Goblins—began as a way for director Claudio Fragasso's wife, Rosella Drudi, to express her frustration with several of her friends becoming vegetarians, which she claimed "pissed [me] off."  The film was produced by Eduard Sarlui and Joe D'Amato, an Italian exploitation film director notorious for his stated view that the profitability of films was more important than their entertainment value. D'Amato, who had been repeatedly blacklisted due to his reputation for poor filmmaking, worked under the pseudonym "David Hills". In keeping with D'Amato's production philosophy, many components of the film were created for little to no money: The score, composed by Carlo Maria Cordio, was played entirely on a synthesizer and consisted of a few brief themes repeated over and over. The costumes were designed by D'Amato's longtime friend and frequent collaborator Laura Gemser, who had built a reputation in the '70s and '80s for her roles in various notorious Italian grindhouse movies and erotic films. Gemser's design for the costumes consisted of burlap sacks and rubber Halloween masks—some which were reused in D'Amato's Ator barbarian franchise—with only one goblin mask modified to have a moveable mouth. Sarlui also bought the rights to a goblin mask used in Troll.
The film was shot on location in Morgan and Porterville, Utah in the summer of 1989; a large "M" erected in the mountains outlying Morgan is visible in some shots. The production crew was made up almost entirely of non-English-speaking Italians brought to America by Fragasso; the only fluent English speaker on set was Gemser. Fragasso and his crew largely relied on a broken pidgin English to communicate with the cast, who recalled not being able to understand much of what went on.
The cast had few experienced actors, and was primarily assembled from residents of nearby towns who responded to an open casting call, hoping to win roles as extras. George Hardy was a dentist with no acting experience who showed up for fun, only to be given one of the film's largest speaking roles. Don Packard, who played the store owner, was actually a patient at a nearby mental hospital, and was cast for—and filmed—his role while on a day trip. He later recalled that he had smoked an enormous amount of marijuana prior to filming, had no idea what was happening around him, and that his disturbed "performance" in the film was not acting.
As neither Fragasso nor Drudi spoke fluent English, the shooting script was written in the same broken dialect in which they both spoke; the cast would later recall that the script was only given to them scene-by-scene, and that they had difficulty understanding their dialogue as written. Some of the cast members offered to correct their lines to sound more grammatically and syntactically correct, but said that Fragasso demanded they deliver their lines verbatim. Despite the majority of the cast ascribing to the same story, Fragasso has vehemently denied their version of events, and once interrupted a panel discussion being conducted by the cast to call them "dogs" and accuse them of lying about their experiences.
Troll 2 is widely considered to be of exceptionally poor quality, and has come to be regarded as one of the worst films ever made by the public. The film has a 6% on Rotten Tomatoes., and routinely appears on IMDB.com's list of "Bottom 100 Films." In addition, the acting and dialogue have become notorious for their camp value. The scene in which Darren Ewing's character states that he will be eaten next has become an internet meme, often appearing in videos alongside the "Garbage Day" meme from Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2. In terms of audience participation, Troll 2 has been compared to the film The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and the two films have been screened together.
In 2007, A major Troll 2 event took place in Morgan called "Nilbog Invasion". The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema's Rolling Roadshow turned Morgan into "Nilbog" again for a weekend, and screened the film for an audience of fans from around the world. Much of the cast attended and appeared in a panel discussion, as well as the writers and director of the film. Director Claudio Fragasso was presented with the key to the city by the mayor of Morgan.
At the event, Fragasso and writer Drudi announced plans for a sequel to Troll II, and the audience was polled for their opinion on what the film should be called. The winning title was Troll II: Part II. Fragasso later asked Stephenson to appear in the sequel.
In December 2009, late-night host Conan O'Brien recommended Troll II on his list of DVDs and books in his "New Oprah" segment.
Best Worst Movie
The child star of Troll 2, Michael Stephenson, directed Best Worst Movie, a documentary about the film and its cult status. The film debuted March 14, 2009, at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar in Austin, Texas, as part of the South By Southwest film festival. Several cast members from Troll 2 attended the premiere. The screening was followed by a showing of Troll 2. The documentary also screened at major film festivals across the world including the AFI Fest and Sheffield Doc/Fest. A screening at the Tower Theater in Salt Lake City included appearances from much of the cast.
The film won Best Feature Documentary (as voted by the official jury), as well as the Audience Choice for Best Documentary Feature at the 11th annual Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival in September 2009. It was released in spring 2010 and distributed by Area 23 A.
- George Hardy - Himself
- Michael Stephenson - Himself
- Darren Ewing - Himself
- Jason Steadman - Himself
- Jason Wright - Himself
- Claudio Fragrasso - Himself
Best Worst Movie was released on DVD on November 16, 2010, distributed by New Video Group.
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- Best Worst Movie: In the Aftermath of the Italian Utah Invasion of '89
- Breakfast in the Ruins: Some Thoughts on Troll 2 and Best Worst Movie
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- Best & Worst of 2009: David Harley Picks His Top 10!
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