Terribrill - Troll 2 (1990)
Posted by Luke at 01:37 on 09 Jan 2011
Let's make one thing clear before we go any further: Troll 2 features some of the worst dialogue and acting you're ever likely to see beyond the condos of Sunset Beach. Lines are droned with the conviction of an Al Qaeda hostage forced to read erotic limericks, whilst midgets bumble about in ludicrously unconvincing costumes, as if the Midget Acting Union had their copy of the script put on a high ledge and were too embarrassed to admit they'd spent all night jumping to reach it without success.
Things get off to an iffy start when you realise Troll 2 is suffering from a severe identity crisis. Released as a sequel to Troll (1986), the creatures are referred to as "goblins" and "monsters" but never once as the titular beasties promised - which means somebody somewhere thought the name had enough drawing power to launch a completely unrelated film off the back of it. That could actually be the most horrifying aspect of the film right there...that is, if the goblins didn't look as shoddy as this:
You'd think a film based around little man-creatures would go to the effort of getting that one thing right. But just...look at them. At times some of the heads aren't even on straight. There is something unsettling about their naff appearance, however - a slightly disturbing quality derived from the fact a psychotic dwarf wearing roadkilll would actually look exactly like one of those things in the picture up there. Wouldn't get that with CGI.
Speaking of which... Troll 2 came out in 1990, a mere three years before Jurassic Park, and a thriving time for rubber-masked movie critters, so there's no excuse for anything from that period to be so woefully inadequate. You have to admire the perserverance though, even after what was probably a very subdued morning on set after the costumes arrived. It would be great to think every shot ended with someone joyfully proclaiming "we'll fix it in the edit", followed by cheers, but that would imply some sort of skilled editing process was involved.
As well as crappy costumes, the rubbish and exposition-laden script gives Troll 2 the unique distinction of being its own rubbish audiobook. Which would be a plus if it didn't feel like you were listening to the sonic equivalent of a grey wall. A typical conversation goes something like this: "I am talking to you. We walked here." "I am listening. There's a goblin." It actually gets quite draining after a while, like waiting for a late bus.
But despite the insistence on explaining away every insignificant little action of the characters, it's the larger plot points going wholly unanswered that make you wonder how a film can be so tragically backwards. Why does nobody know about a town where people never return from? Why the anti-meat stance? Why Stonehenge? Why shamrocks - that's leprechaun stuff? Why did the crazy-sexy woman revert to just crazy after the popcorn sex? Why the whole phallic popcorn thing?
Ultimately it's hard to get mad at Troll 2. Most of the elements are skewed in some way, but you can tell the filmmakers did the most with the resources available to them. These people knew they were making shit from the very beginning and went along with it, which shows a great amount of dedication - a quality that surely anyone can appreciate. The only real reason a movie like this exists in the first place is to entertain, and if you can sit through the entire thing with a straight face then perhaps you are the real monster/troll/goblin/whatever.
There's so much more to say, but as with anything like this it's best experienced first-hand. The cast and crew of Troll 2 were interviewed for the 'making of'/celebration documentary Best Worst Movie (2009), which is essential companion viewing. Both are available on Amazon - just don't expect your girlfriend to say thanks when you get her the Troll 1 & 2 boxset for Christmas.