Behind Troll 2: The Best Worst Movie Ever Made!
Furry Vengeance might be giving it a run for its money loss, but the 1990 critter epic Troll 2 is still deemed the most amusing bad movie of all time by many aficionados of enjoyable stinkers. For one thing, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Troll 1. Even more astoundingly, it’s inexperienced actors—including a small-town dentist named George Hardy—flounder around Utah in a ludicrous story about a family trip ruined by man-eating goblins in burlap sacks.
But at least Troll 2 has now spawned a good film! It’s Best Worst Movie, a lively documentary directed by Michael Paul Stephenson, who was the child star who so fatefully met the goblins in the town of Nilbog (that’s you-know-what spelled backwards). In the doc, Stephenson starts reluctantly coming to terms with his resume, while the implacable Hardy unrepentantly adores getting recognized by the cult bomb’s growing legions of fans.
Here’s my quick chat with Stephenson, in which I congratulated him on now being associated with two diverse classics.
Me: Hi, Michael. What are your present feelings about Troll 2?
Stephenson: It fails in every way—writing, directing acting–but somehow it’s not boring. And it hasn’t failed to entertain—clearly not in the way it was intended to, but all these years it’s left an impression. I’ve seen friendships created over Troll 2. I’ve seen people get engaged over Troll 2. It means something in this day of irony and cynicism. Everyone’s celebrating it for its awfulness, but people are coming together over it and these experiences are positive. People aren’t booing.
Me: Or nodding off. And while root canal isn’t boring either, I definitely prefer Troll 2.
Stephenson: I don’t know if I believe in ‘guilty pleasures’ anymore. You either like it or you don’t. Who cares why you like it? Why should people feel guilty about it?
Me: They’re only guilty of craving a good time. But as a kid, was it creepy to work with those creatures? (I’m talking about the humans, lol.)
Stephenson: I was a screaming, whiny 10-year-old running away from people in burlap sacks and having a lot of fun. But I remember being frightened by [supporting actor] Don Packard. All these years later, I find out he wanted to kill me!
Me: Just a hallucination, I’m sure. Your future? George Hardy has bravely said he’d do Troll 3, if asked. Would you?
Stephenson: That’s a tough question because of how personal and meaningful Troll 2 has become. I started out hating this movie and I’ve grown more and more fond of it. You can’t set out to make a bad film that becomes a cult classic. So would Troll 3 work? I don’t think so. Would I do it? If George Hardy were the star of it, even if it was Troll 12, I don’t know if I could turn it down.
Me: Furry fingers crossed!