There are no trolls in this movie – only nilbog’s… and they are going to turn you into a vegetable, and then eat you!
Dir. Drake Floyd (really it’s Claudio Fragasso going by a pseudo-name)
Runtime: 95 minutes
Starring: Michael Paul Stephenson, George Hardy, Margo Prey
What do you consider the worst film of all time? Is it “Plan 9 from Outer Space” (1959), “Showgirls” (1995), or maybe “The Room” (2003)? Well, have you watched “Troll 2” yet?
Just so you know, this is not a sequel to “Troll” (1986). This was actually supposed to be an independent film called “Goblins”, but the distributors didn’t think it would be successful, so they decided to link it to the first “Troll” film – that’s despite having no links to that film – in believing it wouldn’t be a success is something they got right at least.
Something else you should know; this film is not about trolls – no, seriously, it doesn’t have a single troll in it. There are mythical creatures/monsters in the film, but they are “Nilbog” – which is basically “Goblin” spelled backwards a-la “Redrum” in “The Shining” (1980).
Great start, eh?
While on vacation with his family, a boy learns that his worst nightmare has come true as hideous plant eating monsters threaten him and his family. Assisted by the ghost of his dead grandfather, Joshua Waits (Michael Stephenson) tries to save his family, while all around him the town is falling into chaos. How could a plant eating monster be a threat to a meaty human you ask? Well, thanks to the Goblin Queen humans can be fed a magic potion, or poisoned vegetables, which turns them into a vegetable, or a puddle of vegetable ooze, which the monsters will happily consume. Joshua and his family have a fight on their hands if they are to escape and get home; and the fight for their loves involves a magic crystal and a “double-decker bologna sandwich”.
… or… here’s a summary in 180 characters or less…
Family holiday to Nilbog goes wrong – child must kill local druid leader and destroy her dark crystal so that his family can escape.
Oh boy, oh boy. This film has some bad bad acting. Terrible acting no less. The kind of acting that wouldn’t get a job on a lot of 1970’s and 1980’s American adverts on free-to-air channels. You know, the ones were a little blond kid smiles to camera and cheesily announces that some product or another is “spunkily good for his body” or some rubbish like that. It feels like these people were dragged off the street and told that it is a stage show that nobody would ever see so don’t worry about being bad. The resulting over-dramatic bad acting was hilarious at times – but I know that it wasn’t supposed to be. I don’t blame the actors though, well, not entirely. They arrived for the casting call with the plan to be extras. Somehow, they ended up in the leading roles.
What didn’t help the bad acting of course, is the terrible writing. Everything from the dialogue that was provided for the actors, to the story and plot absolutely stunk. The more I think about how ludicrous the film is, the more it sounds like somebody had a bad dream after a weekend of taking LSD and magic mushrooms (not that I would know, maybe those dreams aren’t that bad?). Perhaps there is another issue at large here. The director and crew only spoke Italian, except for a costume designer who acted as a translator. Maybe something was lost in translation – on top of it all being garbage of course.
The soundtrack – well, the less said about that the better. The first time I watched this film in the 1990’s I got the impression that it probably could have been scored on a Casio keyboard. It was years later that I learned the true technicalities; it wasn’t a Casio keyboard, no no no, it was in fact a Korg M1 Synthesizer.
The “special” special effects are that special that they haunted me for a years. Not because they were any good, or they looked threatening and scary – but because of how ludicrous they were. The goblins look like somebody found Jim Henson’s trashcan, poured acid into it, shuck it up, and what fell out was a mask for the goblins. To compliment them, somebody went to the nearest “Toys’R’Us” and bought loads of green slime, and then casually dripped it around the set. The actual story here is that the costume designer – I’ll come onto her in a minute (like so many others have nudge-nudge-wink-wink) – used burlap sacks and rubber Halloween masks. Who is this costume designer with a wealth of experience in costume design? Well, that would be Laura Gemser, who starred in some the 1970’s and 1980’s softcore sexploitation “Emmanuelle” films (ask your dad, or grandfather, I am sure they will know).
If the false and mislead title lured you in with the promise of trolls only for you to find goblins, that is only the start of the problems with this film. It has no connection with the original movie, it’s cheesy, the acting is poor, the characters being portrayed are unlikable idiots, the writing is bad, the special effects are laughable, the wardrobe (and the nilbog’s) are unintentionally hysterical. There are plot and holes all over the place, at times it makes no sense – goofs galore too. Why do vegetarian goblins need to eat humans when there is more vegetation in the forest, but worse than that is the cliff-hanger which closes the film – but I will not spoil that.
Time for a bit of honest, I own a copy of “Troll 2”. In the late 1990’s while first studying film I bought a copy of VHS because I’d heard it was a bad horror movie – and I get a thrill out of (some) bad movies. To this day I still own a copy of the detritus. Each time I have watched this film though, I Fear it that it might have made me stupider and stupider. This film is physically, mentally, and emotionally a chore to watch, and it will leave you tired and rasping for air. The best thing I can say about it is, that if you are making a bet with your friends about turning up to a party with the worst films – take this and you might have fuller pockets on your walk home – just watch out for the nilbog’s hiding in a dark alley waiting to mug you!
I wouldn’t call this the worst film that I have ever ever seen (which, on reflection says a lot about the kind of rubbish I subject myself to) – but its not getting more than a 1 out of 10.