Troll 2

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Troll 2
Troll 2 poster.jpg
Poster
Directed by Claudio Fragasso (credited as Drake Floyd)
Produced by Brenda Norris
Joe D'Amato
Asher Zulkosky Larson
Screenplay by Drake Floyd
Story by Rossella Drudi
Drake Floyd
Starring Michael Stephenson
George Hardy
Margo Prey
Connie McFarland
Deborah Reed
Jason F. Wright
Darren Ewing
Jason Steadman
Ethan Sarphie
Music by Carlo Maria Cordio
Cinematography Giancarlo Ferrando
Edited by Vania Friends
Production
  company
Filmirage
Distributed by Epic Productions (Original)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (Current)
Release date(s)
  • 3 October 1990 (1990-10-03) (Germany)
Running time 94 minutes
Country Italy, USA
Language English

Troll 2 is a 1990 horror B movie directed by Claudio Fragasso[1] (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 a standalone picture and renamed it Troll 2 in an attempt to market it as a sequel to the 1986 Empire Pictures film Troll.[2] 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 English-language script was written by Fragasso and his wife Rosella Drudi, neither of whom actually spoke fluent English at the time. Despite filming the movie in Utah, and casting the movie entirely with American actors (many of whom had no prior acting experience and had responded to the casting call hoping to be extras), Fragasso also employed an exclusively Italian crew, who likewise spoke no English. The resultant communication breakdown, coupled with the cast's lack of experience and Fragasso's insistence that his script be performed verbatim, has led to the movie being considered one of the worst movies ever made.

Because of the film's reputation, it has gained a very large cult following. A critically acclaimed documentary produced by one of the actors (Michael Stephenson), Best Worst Movie, was released in 2010, chronicling the film's large fanbase.

Plot[edit]

For summer vacation, the Waits family has decided to vacation in the town of Nilbog, a remote farming community, where they will swap houses with one of the local residents and spend the summer living from the land. Young Joshua Waits (Michael Stephenson) is contacted by the ghost of his dead grandfather, Seth (Robert Ormsby), who warns him about monsters known as goblins — malicious vegetarians who turn people into human/plant hybrids in order to eat them.

Meanwhile, Joshua's sister, Holly (Connie McFarland), receives a visit from her boyfriend Elliot (Jason Wright), with whom she has been having relationship problems: Holly is concerned that Elliot spends too much time with his friends. Elliot assures Holly of his love for her, and tells her that he will prove it by accompanying her family to Nilbog.

The next morning, Elliot fails to show up at the Waits house; parents Michael (George Hardy) and Diane (Margo Prey) grow impatient waiting for him to arrive, and the family departs for Nilbog. En route they meet up with Elliot, who has decided to bring along his friends Brent (David McConnell), Arnold (Darren Ewing) and Drew (Jason Steadman) in an RV. The family also runs across a hitchhiker whom Grandpa Seth uses as a medium to channel himself, warning Joshua that the town of Nilbog is the Kingdom of Goblins and that his family has been lured there to be made into food.

Arriving in Nilbog, the Waits family discovers that the residents have left a large, all-vegetable meal for them. Grandpa Seth appears again, freezing time and warning Joshua that the food is actually a potion that will turn them into vegetable people. When time resumes, Joshua jumps on the table and urinates on all of the food.

Meanwhile, Arnold takes a walk in the woods outside of Nilbog and runs into a woman, Cindy, being pursued by goblins. They seek shelter in a chapel that turns out to be the residence of Creedence Leonore Gielgud (Deborah Reed), who feeds them a goblin potion—the woman disintegrates into a mass of green ectoplasm, while Arnold becomes a plant/human hybrid. Creedence reveals herself to be the druid queen of the goblins, whose "Stonehenge Magic Stone" is the source of all the goblins' power; a horrified Arnold watches as goblins consume the ectoplasm, realizing that he will be next. Although Drew ultimately finds him and attempts to free him, he is killed by Creedence.

That night, Holly is unintentionally contacted by Grandpa Seth via a mirror and she and Joshua swap rooms. On Grandpa Seth's instructions, Joshua destroys all of the food in the house, which only results in Michael taking him on a trip to the town general store the next morning. They find the store closed, with all the town's inhabitants attending a "sermon" about the evils of eating meat held by the town's demonic preacher. Joshua sneaks away to the church where the goblins have congregated. The goblins capture Joshua and attempt to feed him ice cream spiked with goblin potion, but Michael arrives, prompting the goblins to let Joshua go. A suspicious Joshua and Michael return home, only for the family to be met by seemingly the entire town of Nilbog, who want to throw them a party. Joshua runs upstairs to try to contact Grandpa Seth through the mirror, only to be confronted by Creedence in goblin form. Grandpa Seth suddenly appears out of thin air and chops off Creedence's hand with an axe, prompting her to retreat.

Grandpa Seth and Joshua go back downstairs to prevent the family from eating any food. The town preacher (Mike Hamill) attempts to stop them by trying to banish Grandpa Seth to Hell, but Grandpa Seth causes a magic lightning bolts to ignite a molotov cocktail, killing the preacher. When the preacher dies, he transforms into his true, goblin form; Grandpa Seth's presence and the sight of the dead goblin finally convince the family that they are in danger. Grandpa Seth disappears, and the family barricade themselves inside the house.

Meanwhile, Creedence transforms herself into a beautiful young woman and appears at Elliot's RV in an exotic negligee, where she seduces Brent using an ear of corn. As they begin to have sex, the corn spontaneously explodes into a flood of popcorn. Brent is quickly swallowed up and left immobilized but alive; with the family's last hope of rescue neutralized, Creedence heads back to her chapel.

Back at the house, Joshua, Elliot, Holly, Michael and Diane hold a séance to communicate with Grandpa Seth. He appears and tells them that in 10 minutes he will be permanently cut off from the mortal world. Although goblins invade the house and kidnap Joshua, Grandpa Seth is able to pass him a backpack, which he informs Joshua has a weapon that will save him from mortal danger; he is further able to tell Joshua that if he can touch the Stonehenge Magic Stone, it will drain the goblins of their power.

In Creedence's chapel, Joshua opens the backpack and discovers a double decker bologna sandwich. He eats it, "tainting" his blood with meat and preventing the goblins from consuming him. The Waits and Elliot then arrive and, together, they all touch the Stonehenge Magic Stone, destroying Creedence and all of her goblins.

The next day, the Waits family heads back home; Diane eats food in their refrigerator, not realizing that it was placed there by the family with whom they exchanged houses. She is transformed into a human/plant hybrid and eaten by the remaining goblin family; the film ends with a screaming Joshua being offered a piece of his mother's corpse to eat.

Cast[edit]

  • Michael Stephenson as Joshua Waits
  • George Hardy as Michael Waits
  • Margo Prey as Diana Waits
  • Connie McFarland as Holly Waits
  • Robert Ormsby as Grandpa Seth
  • Deborah Reed as Creedence Leonore Gielgud
  • Jason Wright as Elliot Cooper
  • Darren Ewing as Arnold
  • Jason Steadman as Drew
  • David McConnell as Brent
  • Mike Hamill as Bells
  • Christina Reynolds as Cindy
  • Gary Carlson as Sheriff Gene Freak

Production[edit]

The script—originally titled Goblins[3]—began as a way for director Claudio Fragasso's wife, Rosella Drudi, to express her frustration with several of her friends becoming vegetarians. Drudi told the makers of the documentary Best Worst Movie that "Some of my friends had recently become vegetarians...and this pissed me off."[4] 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 costume designer Laura Gemser, who had built a reputation in the 1970s and '80s for her roles in various notorious Italian grindhouse movies and erotic films. 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.[3]

The cast had few experienced actors, and was primarily assembled from residents of nearby towns who responded to an open casting call. George Hardy was a dentist with no acting experience who showed up for fun, hoping to be cast as an extra, only to be given one of the film's largest speaking roles. Don Packard, who played the store owner, was actually a resident at a nearby mental hospital, and was cast for—and filmed—his role while on a day trip; after recovering and being released from the hospital, he recalled that he had smoked an enormous amount of marijuana prior to filming, and he had no idea what was happening around him, and that his disturbed "performance" in the film was not acting.[4]

As neither Fragasso nor Drudi spoke fluent English, the shooting script was written in the same broken pidgin 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.[4] Despite the majority of the cast ascribing to the same story, Fragasso has vehemently denied their version of events; he angrily interrupted a panel discussion for the filming of a making-of documentary, calling them "dogs" and accusing them of lying about how much of the script the cast had access to.[4]

Reception[edit]

Troll 2 is widely considered to be of poor quality. The film has a 6% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[5] Cult Internet critic Brad Jones stated in his comedic video review of the film that "the best thing about Troll 2 is that it's the perfect bad example. Pick something about the movie, anything you want. Not only does this movie do it bad, but it does it bad tragically, almost like this movie is a father who intentionally spills his drink on the table as to show his son that that's what happens when you screw around."[6] The film was also #1 on IMDb's worst movie of all time at one point.[7]

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. Many of the cast members attended and appeared in a panel discussion, as did the writers and director of the film. Michael Castro was present, and Fragasso was presented with the key to the city by the mayor of Morgan.

At the event, Fragasso and writer Rossella 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 2: Part II. Fragasso later asked Stephenson to appear in the sequel.[8]

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[edit]

Main article: Best Worst Movie

The 2009 documentary Best Worst Movie was made to showcase the cult-following of Troll 2 and about the people involved in the film. An ABC article notes that, "Two decades later, audiences seem to think that Troll 2 is so terrible, it's actually good".[7] Stephenson, child-actor of Troll 2 and director of Best Worst Movie, stated that, "All of a sudden I had just about every major theater in the country contacting me, saying, 'We have all these "Troll 2" fans too,' and it set off all these screenings everywhere, and aside from the big screenings there were screenings happening in kids' basements everywhere".[7]

IGN ranked Troll 2 and its companion documentary, Best Worst Movie as #7 on their 25 Best Movies You Didn't See in Theaters list.[9]

Release[edit]

Troll 2 was released directly to VHS. The film also played on HBO in the mid-1990s.[7]

MGM and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released Troll 2 on Blu-ray and DVD in the United States on October 5, 2010, in honor of the 20th anniversary of the film's release. MGM also made an agreement with Netflix to allow for instant streaming of the title.[10] On January 1, 2014, Troll 2 was removed from Netflix's streaming service as a result of expiring licensing conditions.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

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