Best Worst Movie (Review)

(6/04/10; Documentary)
SCR/DIR: Michael Stephenson
George Hardy, Michael Stephenson, Darren Ewing, Jason Steadman, Jason Wright
1 hour 33 mins

Clearly, the filmmakers, cast and crew who made Goblin (released in 1988 as Troll 2) had no idea they were inadvertently making Hollywood history. To be fair, it wasn’t always the most adored cult movie of all time. For a while, as the movie languished on video store shelves and played repeatedly on HBO, a source of absolute embarrassment for all concerned.

But over time, the sheer awfulness of Troll 2 gained a rabid cult following with midnight screenings and devoted fans. For the record, Troll and Troll 2 have nothing in common and the details of the plot are best discovered on your own. The worst movie ever? Yeah, that’s entirely possible if the clips are any indication.

As a former video store owner, I’ll admit I missed out on the whole experience: our store never carried Troll 2 but it was a hoot to see it in stocked in the “Holy Fucking Shit” section of a small video store in the film.

Director Stephenson, is the child actor who played the kid lead in Troll 2. One senses that Best Worst will purge a lot of demons, so it’s refreshing to find how much goodwill exists among the reunited cast. Well, except for the batty woman who played the mom. Oh, and then there’s the intense “actor” who was actually an inmate from an insane asylum.

Hardy is the successful dentist who played Stephenson’s father, and if there is living person more ticked by the film’s cult status, I’d be surprised. This guy not only knows how ridiculous it all is, but has no problem sharing it with the world. He’s the window into the world of the post-career convention-trolling (pardon the pun) that becomes the path of the has-been. After awhile, it becomes a little uncomfortable watching him peddle himself and this movie to anyone who will listen.

On the other hand, Claudio Fragasso, the Italian director who made Troll 2, has no idea how pretentious he is, or why his film is considered so funny. He defends the movie in such an artsy-fartsy way, you’d think he was talking about a Fellini flick, which of course makes him hilarious. Best Worst Movie goes down many roads but emerges an affectionate valentine to a most terrible, much-loved movie. Ed Wood, watch your back. Plan 9 From Outer Space has got nothing on the vegetarian goblins in Troll 2.


Author: Dennis Willis

Dennis Willis is an award-winning producer, TV host, producer, director, editor (he preferred Avid until a torrid affair with Adobe Premiere, and the rest is history), author and film critic (print and radio). Dennis produced and hosted the TV programs Reel Life, FilmTrip, Soundwaves (1983-2008) and produces the annual Soundwaves Xmas program. He is currently the film critic on KGO Radio in San Francisco, and a member of both the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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