Saturday, July 3, 2010

Troll 2. (1990) Claudio Fragasso

This could honestly be the worst film ever made. It has the world's worst idea for a plot, and a script that elevates the ideas to an even greater level of stenchiness; horrible, staged acting which sounds like a grade school play where the lines are robotically repeated ad nauseum; terribly poor camera work and stunning special effects; and for a film entitled Troll 2, it doesn't even have a troll. It's got goblins galore, though, each actor fitting into a fully suited costume with a zipper down the side that shows. It's also got some kind of a witch -- I really couldn't quite figure out why -- and she takes the cake as the most overdramatic stage queen in a role seemingly lifted from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. (One of her shrieks even had a vibrato.)

The film tried to aim for horror, a genre that's been crucified over and over again with countless hacks and misses. But it turns out twenty years later to be suited for a pomo comedy, where we don't wince at the badness but rather laugh at the lost cause, chuckling from our hipster positions. It rakes up five star ratings at Netflix (their highest) with comments telling you it must be seen for its badness. There are conventions in California where crowds gather to watch it, to marvel at film abortion on display.

It works for that crowd. There's really nothing you can do but laugh. There's enough unintended camp that comes from an understanding of the typical conventions and an ability to recognize low-budget failure to take in a viewing two decades later and spit out barrels of laughter. But it probably didn't work when the film first came out -- those audiences must have been shell-shocked.

There's a documentary hitting the big screen later this month called Best Worst Movie in which the actor from Troll 2, now a good looking grown-up small-town dentist who has been hiding Troll 2 from the local community, comes out of the closet about his lurid acting past and even appears as a guest speaker at a California screening. Having had more than a few hacks and misses at creating art myself, I find the notion of this fellow looking back completely fun, and from what I can see in the trailer, he really seems to be a good sport about the whole thing. In preparation for the doc, I wanted to see just how bad Troll 2 really was -- if indeed, as has been claimed, it really is the world's worst movie. (It has been on the bottom of IMDB's
Bottom 100 list and still sits there today at a comfortable #62.)

I love to seek out the good and not the bad. My posts here at Filmsweep are more about the films and ideas I fall in love with. The idea that there was something so hideous in this fellow's past as Troll 2 -- which I assure you is really as hideous as I've made it sound -- but that he can smile about it and celebrate it with a crowd of affectionate scoffers, is an idea that intrigues me. I can't wait to see Best Worst Movie, it's the second highest film I'm looking forward to this summer.

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