Documentaries are hard to review, because, ya know, things like “story” are hard to judge. So are “acting” or “special effects”. I guess what it comes down to is how well the film conveys or documents certain ideas and themes. I feel as though most documentaries are meant to convince you of a certain opinion, and use clever editing to get their point across, which makes them less about documenting and more about persuading. It’s pretty rare when a documentary focuses just on documenting events that take place without trying to convince you of anything. This film is definitely more of the latter, rather than the former. This documentary chronicles the rise in popularity of one of the worst movies ever made, Troll 2, and how that horribleness has made thousands of people fall in love with it.
George Hardy. Always smilin’, always lovin’ life.
Considering Troll 2 was made in 1990, it was a little bit difficult to say when it started being considered a “cult classic”. One step in it gaining notoriety is when it was highlighted as one of the worst things ever at the UCB Theatre in New York City, where it was also screened. This was one of the first screenings to showcase how entertainingly bad the film was, but certainly not the last. The actors from the film, who had been almost completely oblivious to the cult phenomenon, started getting in touch with one another as these screenings started getting press. It wasn’t until George Hardy, the main actor from the film, and Michael Stephenson, the young boy from the film, went to a screening at the UCB Theatre that they really got an idea of the cult following this film had, which is why Michael Stephenson decided to document their appearances at more and more screenings.
Margo Prey, the one actress who refused to be involved. Fuck, just look at her, it was probably for the best.
The more screenings that take place, the more you enjoy the actors and see their excitement over something that they had known for years was terrible. The more screenings there are, the more actors show up. Even the director makes his way from Italy to attend some of the screenings. George Hardy, just being excited to spend time with his fans, even starts traveling overseas to conventions in support of Troll 2, only to go unrecognized. He even makes his way to some horror film conventions, and is visibly depressed when he sees other actors who have been in one film their entire lives spending all day in hopes of being recognized. He decides to take part in one last screening of the film, which was held in the town where Troll 2 was filmed, sponsored by the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX. After this screening, most of the actors go back to their normal lives, losing interest in the attention brought to them by this film, but not ruling out taking part in another film.
Claudio Fragasso, Italian director of Troll 2, or “Goblin“, has shitty Italian facial hair that makes him look like a troll, or “goblin”.
This documentary sounds kind of sad, but luckily it centers around George Hardy, who is clearly a down-to-Earth person. You feel compassion over his sadness at what his life could have become, but he perseveres and goes back to his life as a dentist. One of the more interesting points are the comments that the Italian director makes throughout the film. He starts off kind of poking fun at the whole thing, and taking all the comments with a grain of salt. However, the more and more he watches it, and the more he hears actors tell stories of how insane it was making this movie, the more agitated and defensive he gets, trying to claim he made the best film with what he had. The whole concept of movies like this, movies like The Room, and movies like Birdemic: Shock and Terror, is really strange, especially when you get to hear from the filmmakers themselves. There’s plenty of movies that I’m sure all parties involved with are embarrassed of, but we still watch them and laugh at them. Seeing Tommy Wiseau speak about The Room or James Nguyen speaking about Birdemic without even the slightest hint of embarrassment is almost empowering. They don’t care that people enjoy these films because of their lack of quality, because all they care about is that there are hundreds and thousands of people coming to these screenings to see them speak. Whether you have seen Troll 2 or not, whether you have movies you love to hate or you don’t, it’s an interesting portrayal of a strange concept.
Wolfman Moon Scale