Troll 2 (1990)

Director: Claudio Fragasso

Starring: Michael Stephenson, George Hardy, Margo Prey, Robert Ormsby

“Do you see this writing? Do you know what it means? Hospitality! And you can’t piss on hospitality! I won’t allow it!” (Michael, Troll 2)

A lot of films are considered awful, but Troll 2 is so bad that calling it awful feels like going easy on it. Not content with simply being a bad film, Troll 2 was actually at one point the #1 worst-rated film on the entire Internet Movie Database site.

That’s one hell of an achievement, and one that most people who’ve seen the film wouldn’t argue with, but that dubious honour only tells half the story. It doesn’t explain, for example, that despite (or indeed because of) its flaws it’s one of the most entertaining films you’ll see.

This Jimmy Saville goblin is easily my favourite of the bunch

The plot is up there with Citizen Kane. Young Joshua and his family head to the tiny country town of Nilbog to do a house swap with a family there. All is not as it seems though, as Joshua’s dead grandfather appears in a vision to tell him that the town is actually inhabited by goblins pretending to be humans. What’s more, these goblins want to turn Joshua and his family (as well as a group of teenage lads who’ve also driven to Nilbog) into plants so they can eat them. Because they’re vegetarian goblins, you see.

The slowest rescue scene ever committed to film

The truly impressive thing about Troll 2 is the consistency with which it delivers comically bad moments. From the opening scene in which Joshua’s grandpa tells him the story of the goblins, to the moment where Joshua literally pisses  on a dinner table to stop his parents from eating tainted goblin food (leading to the classic line at the top of this review), to the sister’s amazingly bad dance routine, to the hilarious goblin costumes, to the blatantly obvious ‘revelation’ when Joshua looks in a car mirror and realises why the town’s called Nilbog, every single scene features at least one thing that’s laughably awful.

To give Troll 2 a little credit (and only a little, mind) there are some moments that are clearly supposed to be ridiculous. The part where a young lad in a camper van is seduced by a woman wielding an ear of sweetcorn, in which their passionate encounter ends up getting so steamy that the entire van somehow fills up with popcorn, couldn’t possibly have meant to be serious.

Not a good actor among this bunch, yet they're all lovable in their own way

Indeed, the more you watch Troll 2 and the more hilariously bad moments you encounter, the more suspicious you get and you start to fear you’ve been the victim of an elaborate practical joke, that the movie that was designed to be deliberately bad and you’ve fallen for it. Thankfully, as proven by the recent (fantastic) documentary Best Worst Movie, it’s clear this wasn’t the case and the cast and crew were actually trying their hardest.

Troll 2 is the perfect film to watch with a group of friends. While most cheesy films suffer from bad acting or a daft plot, Troll 2 is rare in that every single element – the direction, music, acting, special effects, script, plot and editing – is fantastically terrible. It’s the movie equivalent of all the planets lining up as they revolve around the sun – it’s so rare that every single element that could be shit is present and accounted for. As a result, it’s a joy to watch from start to finish.

(technical ability)

(pure joy)

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