By Helen Cox
Last month I was inducted into a cult. A cult of green goop and erotic corn on the cob. A cult of frighteningly cheerful grandfathers, spontaneously dancing sisters and mothers who appear, by that wild look in their eye, to be high as a kite: the cult of Troll 2.
The Prince Charles Cinema in London is renowned for its juicy doubles of cult classic films and, thus, when it came to my attention that they were showcasing the worst film ever alongside a documentary entitled Best Worst Film I understood immediately that resistance was futile. Lining up to take my seat as a Troll 2 virgin I looked on in bemusement as I saw a member of the Prince Charles staff sitting with a platter of double decker baloney sandwiches. They were free, according to a nearby placard, but there was strictly only one per customer. As randomness is pretty much my bread and butter day-to-day I didn’t give much thought to this, simply assuming it was a “Troll 2 thing” that I had yet to understand. I was right.
Before I delve into the story of Troll 2 there are a few things you need to know. A kind of Troll 2 orientation, if you will. Absolutely no acting takes place in Troll 2. That’s a fact. Secondly Troll 2 has nothing whatsoever to do with the original Troll, so there’s no need to worry about continuity (and they really don’t). Thirdly no Trolls actually appear in Troll 2. The cast, the credits, everything and everyone related to this film refer to the strange creatures who are eating people, pretty indiscriminately, as Goblins. Lastly, the writer Rossella Drudi and director Claudio Fragasso put Troll 2 together as a serious social critique on the rise of vegetarianism. I kid you not. How very wrong things went.
Troll 2 opens simply enough with a grandfather reading, to his grandson, a story about Goblins. It is already clear twenty seconds in that there is no acting to be seen in this film. The grandson simply widens his eyes or frowns on cue and the grandfather smiles in what can only be described as a sinister fashion at the most unexpected, and inappropriate, moments. The introduction of the mother a few minutes later is somewhat of a shock in itself. Not because we learn that granddad is dead, nobody living could smile like that, but because the mother seems to be tripping. Things go very swiftly downhill from there as we’re further introduced to a weight-lifting sister, a father whose golden rule is that “you can’t piss on hospitality” and the gnarl-faced residents of a town called Nilbog.
As little Josh correctly cries out when he catches a road sign reflected in a mirror, Nilbog is indeed Goblin spelt backwards. Rather distressing then that all there is to drink in Nilbog is Nilbog milk – a white, lumpy, suspect substance. The Prince Charles staff phoned George Hardy, the hospitality-conscious father, after the film for an interview and not even he knew what had gone into that stuff.
My favourite character was, without a doubt, Creedence Leonore Gielgud played by the delectably dark Deborah Reed. If you think Sean Penn or Kiefer Sutherland over-act from time to time watch this:
I’ll say this for her though: she was a part of, hands-down, the most arousing scene I have ever witnessed that featured corn on the cob. Then again, I’m not big on internet pornography.
Best Worst Movie, the second part of the double bill, was an extremely entertaining but also, unexpectedly, thought-provoking documentary. We, all of us, have jokes about certain actors who were seen once and never again but to see the reality behind that was actually quite moving. The grandfather, played by Robert Ormsby, admitted that he felt he’d squandered his life somewhat. The light leftover in his eyes from when he’d been talking about his stint in Troll 2 flickered a little as he said this. Margo Prey who played Josh’s mum was nursing her elderly mother at home and clearly struggling with emotional and financial difficulties. There were heart-warming moments too however when one of the players, Don Packard, who’d actually been in a mental institution at the time of filming, received a rousing applause from an army of Troll 2 fans and declared that he’d never been so happy to be himself.
I’d recommend both Troll 2 and Best Worst Movie if you’re big on movie masochism. Troll 2 has to be seen, not only to be believed but to understand why it has been indisputably dubbed as the worst film of all time. Best Worst Movie makes a fascinating chaser, shedding some light on how a film like that could come into being in the first place and the personal aftermath of low budget pictures.