As Bad As You Thought?: Troll 2
A young adventurer makes his way through a fog shrouded meadow, being menaced by an evil, the kind of evil that wears rubber masks, GOBLINS!!!!!! He tried to get away and is stopped abruptly by a homely looking woman with painted on freckles who gives him bizarre looking food to eat and despite being chased by a horde of goblins he takes a break and partakes of the food which turns him into a shrubbery, food for the goblins. But don’t worry it’s all just a story told to our protagonist by the ghost of his grandfather, except it’s not just a story, the phantom tells his grandson that goblins are in fact REAL! And so begins our adventure this week as we decide if the cult classic movie, Troll 2 is As Bad As You Thought. The film over the years has built a massive and rabid following based on how terrible it is. The best description I have come across for this movie from a fan is when he said it was like an alien being who saw some of the movies from our planet tried to make his own film based on what he had gathered, this is a very apt description of a movie so insane and poorly put together and yet so fascinating. And before you ask; no there are no actual trolls in the flick.
Anyways back to the movie at hand, our young hero Joshua Waits is scolded by his mother for having a psychological condition and making his dead grandfather into an imaginary friend. It is at this point that his parents inform us the family going on a month long vacation to a little town called Nilbog. I can safely say that if I had a job where I can take a full month vacation I have no intentions of spending it in a rundown farming town with a population in the double digits, but I digress. His father seems gleeful about spending a month as a farmer like their ancestors did centuries ago, except apparently people are still living like that thus giving us the framework for the movie. As we meet the rest of our characters we meet his teenage sister Holly and her idiot boyfriend Elliot, played by best selling author and political pundit, Jason Wright (take that credibility). Elliot is apparently trying to get laid, but has not figured out that it will not happen if he brings his unpopular friends along as an audience.
The next morning they are off to the wondrous land of Nilbog, but Joshua is told by the ghost of his grandfather that Nilbog is actually the capitol of Goblin Town where the residents will make them eat goblin food and turn into plants for food; which means Joshua has to act like an obnoxious brat the entire movie in a futile attempt to get his parents to leave. Once the family arrives they are gruffly greeted by the strange unearthly people with clover shaped warts, who’s house they will be staying at for the next month, nothing weird so far. The family is delighted to find green and unrecognizable food on the table which they try to consume but the Ghost of Grandpa Seth warns Joshua not to let them eat the strange food so we get the most popular scene in the movie.
That’s right, peeing on the food, classy. In the woods, Elliot and his friends set up an RV in the woods and our picked off by the townspeople who are actually goblins in disguise! The leader of whom is a crazy woman who lives in a cabin in the woods who seduces them to their botanical doom. The family still find Joshua’s claim of Nilbog being Goblin City USA to be nonsense, and reasonably so, but they instantly forgive him for peeing on the only food in the house, without a second’s hesitation. As the film digs deeper into the mythology of this universe we learn that nobody in Nilbog apparently sells normal food only chunky unrefridgerated milk, which the townspeople love to no end.
Seeing that our beloved family is immune to the charm green and blatantly disgusting looking food, the goblin townspeople resort to strong arming tactics, such as inviting themselves to their home and throwing a party and refusing to leave until the family feasts. The Ghost of Grandpa Seth makes one last grand gesture for the safety of his family, which would be much more noble, if it did not consist of teaching his grandson how to commit arson and then being easily defeated by the head goblin who is apparently familiar with how to defeat ghostly grandfathers. But the terrible plan does reveal to the family that the townspeople are in fact goblins and it gives Joshua a chance to do his I-Told-You-So Dance. But that’s not the end of his spiritual involvement in the story; once the goblins lay siege to the household Joshua’s logical solution is to hold a seance to get the ghost’s help. With his over reliance on the supernatural help of his dead grandfather at every challenge he faces it’s amazing the parents never saw fit to send him to a therapist or two…or twelve. Nonetheless the ghost transports young Joshua right into harm’s way, in the house of the goblin leader, Creedence Leonore Gielgud. It is here that the Waits family have their final confrontation with the goblins, where the stone which serves as the source of their goblin powers is housed, but by concentrating really hard while touching the magic stone they destroy the goblins, it was really that simple.
The concludes with the exhausted yet triumphant family returning home and the father decides rather abruptly he has to go to work and Elliot and Holly have to go out, leaving Joshua and his mother at the house. Joshua goes to his room and after a few moments hears strange growls and murmurings which lead him to the kitchen. It is inside the kitchen that he finds his mother in plant form being feasted on by GOBLINS!!!
It is truly difficult to describe the pure batshit craziness of Troll 2. Despite how hard I tried to describe the movie, the tale of vegetarian goblins doing battle with an annoying kid and a ghost must be seen to believe. While I highly encourage you to watch this flick I also encourage you to watch the documentary, Best Worst Movie, made by the actor who played Joshua, it shows how the the cast has adapted to the cult popularity of the film and how a movie which started with the best of intentions, became renowned for how bad it is. It is to Troll 2 what Roger Ebert’s commentary track is to Citizen Kane. So the question we must ponder is: is it as bad as you thought? It is, rarely does a movie fail on every level that a movie can possibly fail on but Troll 2 does so in spectacular fashion; from the script, to the acting, to the production value, everything about this movie is at the lowest level it could possibly be at, and yet it remains strangely entertaining, to this day screenings of the movie sell out theaters. It still inspires legions of cult followers to host group viewings of the flick and go nuts when the film’s stars appear at these events. Troll 2 is even worse than you thought, but still worth watching over and over again.