Some movies are so bad that they‘re good.
One such movie is Troll 2. The movie’s original title was Goblins, but the studio thought it could cash in on the success of the movie Troll, despite the fact there are no trolls in the movie. Troll 2 has absolutely nothing to do with Troll.
In this 1989 movie, the Waits family swaps homes with another family for the summer, moving from the big city to the small farming town of Nilbog. The citizens of Nilbog, vegetarian Goblins disguised as humans, feed the people food tainted with a green potion that changes them into plants, plants which the Goblins then eat.
The movie was directed by Italian director Claudio Fragasso (under the pseudonym Drake Floyd) and written by Fragasso and his wife Rosella Drudi. Drudi was inspired to write the movie because of her frustration with a number of friends who had recently converted to vegetarianism. It was filmed in Utah with a cast of unknown actors and an Italian film crew, most of whom didn’t speak English. At the time, neither Fragasso nor Drudi spoke fluent English and as a result the script was difficult for the cast to understand in certain places. However, the director insisted that the cast follow the script verbatim rather than correct grammar and syntax. This led to some very awkward dialogue.
Troll 2 by-passed theatrical release and was quietly released to home video in 1989.
On Christmas Day 1989, Michael Stephenson, the child star of Troll 2, unwrapped a present: a VHS copy of the movie. He hadn’t yet seen the completed version. Stephenson played Joshua Waits, the hero of the movie. The young, aspiring actor popped the video into the family VCR and watched dreams of stardom fade away.
Troll 2 does not grace the shelves of the Everett Public Library.
More than 20 years have passed since the release of Troll 2 and it has developed a sizeable cult following. Fans hold viewing parties and dress up like characters from the movie. Art House theaters screen the movie and invite cast members to discuss the movie and sign autographs.
The documentary film Best Worst Movie is available at Everett Public Library. The film is directed by Michael Stephenson and explores the making of Troll 2 and its cult following.
This documentary, produced over a four year period, follows Utah dentist George Hardy who played the part of Michael Waits, father of Joshua, as he travels to various Troll 2 events and autograph shows. Hardy showed up at the Troll 2 casting call for fun, hoping to be cast as a non-speaking extra. He ended up with one of the largest speaking parts in the movie.
In one memorable segment, Stephenson and Hardy visit the home of actress Margo Prey who played Diana Waits, wife of Michael and mother of Joshua. In Prey’s living room, the trio reenacts a scene from Troll 2 which took place in the family station wagon, while Prey’s elderly mother looks on bemusedly in the background. Prey is interviewed in the documentary, and, with complete seriousness, puts Troll 2 in the same class as Casablanca. She also appears to have become a bit of a recluse, refusing to leave her home when Stephenson and Hardy invited her to accompany them to the ‘Nilbog Invasion – A Troll 2 celebration’ in Utah.
Another cast member, Don Packard, who played a rather creepy store owner in the town, spoke during the panel discussion at ‘Nilbog Invasion’. He recalled being cast one weekend and filmed during the next while on day-passes from a nearby mental hospital. He’d also smoked an enormous amount of marijuana prior to filming and didn’t really know what was going on around him. So, according to Packard, the store owner’s disturbing, creepy behavior was not acting.
Director Claudio Fragasso also appeared at the event, having been tracked down in Italy by Stephenson. During the panel discussion, members of the cast recalled that the script to Troll 2 was incomplete when filming began, and that script pages were handed out as scenes were being shot. Fragasso declared that the actors were lying and referred to them as ‘dogs’.
Despite the fact the cast and crew of Troll 2 made one of the worst movies ever, most of them seem to look back at it with fondness.
Best Worst Movie is very enjoyable viewing on its own and as a companion piece to Troll 2.