Like Ingrid, I was at the Memorabilia show in Birmingham last weekend. (I was decidedly on the other side of the table from her, though!) For a sci-fi/horror geek, it was awesome, if hazardous to the wallet – table after table was laden with books, toys, comics, clothing, and all sorts of other goodies, interspersed with celebrities sitting and charging a fortune for their autographs or for a quick photo opportunity.
And slap-bang in the middle of the hall, next to the enormous GoreZone area, was a stall selling Troll 2 merchandise. They even had people dressed up in authentic troll costumes* wandering around (one in particular that seemed to grab me every time I walked past, annoyingly.) But what exactly was there a stall promoting a low-budget movie released in 1990 doing there anyway?
Well, Troll 2 has the dubious honour of being regarded as one of the worst movies of all time. It currently sits at number 30 in the IMDB’s list of the worst 100 movies of all time. I’ve seen it – fairly recently, too – and I can confirm that it is complete and utter dross. It’s actually not, despite the title, a sequel to the 1996 movie Troll (which is currently being remade – urgh!). The name was just a marketing tactic. Actually, it’s a horrible low budget bit of nonsense about a family whose pleasant holiday to the countryside turns into a nightmare when it turns out that the inhabitants of the town they’re staying in are evil vegetarian goblins. You’d think vegetarian goblins couldn’t do you much harm, but you’d be wrong – first they turn you into a plant, and then they eat you. Makes perfect sense.
The highlight of the movie is an overacting diva witch thing who spends a lot of her time screeching, though the utterly bizarre sex scene which features exploding corn comes a close second. I’m actually managing to make it sound quite entertaining, somehow, and if I heard about a film like that I’d probably want to see it, because I love crap. But Troll 2 isn’t really that entertaining. Yet it’s exactly this angle – the fact that the film is pure, unadulterated crap – that the filmmakers are using to promote it now. A documentary, entitled Best Worst Movie, has been made about the film, and selected cinemas around the US will be showing it.
I’m completely torn here. Generally, I enjoy crap horror movies, and if the film getting all this attention was House of the Dead, I’d be straight in there. But Troll 2 is just rubbish! And somehow, because this is clearly Bizarro World, it’s being celebrated because of it. The filmmakers are out there, at conventions, signing autographs. They’re selling the movie’s soundtrack, along with other merchandise. They are, quite clearly, proud and happy to be peddling complete crap.
It’s sort of depressing. Have we learned nothing in the last 17 years? Aren’t there other movies out there we could be celebrating – lost classics? Low budget slices of genius? No. Let’s all watch bloody Troll 2 again instead. That’ll be fun. It wouldn’t be so upsetting if the current crop of horror movies were all good; if there was a plethora of good, recent films to enjoy, then Troll 2 would just seem like a curiosity, and the re-release would seem like a way of laughing at ourselves and how far we’ve come since then. But really, we haven’t come very far. In fact, compared with many of the torture porn/”extreme” horror movies that have been released recently, Troll 2 starts to look almost good. Which is pretty damning.
On one hand, I’m opposed to anyone making money off having made an incredibly shitty film. But on the other hand, 30 Days of Night seems to be doing alright, and that’s proper shit. Deep down, an extremely perverse part of me really wants one of the Nilbog shirts the Troll 2 guys on the stall were wearing.
Just so long as I never have to watch the film ever again.
I’m going to leave you with a YouTube compilation of clips from the film, because I want you to feel my pain:
* The “trolls” in the movie seemed to just be people wearing sacks and rubbish rubber masks, so the ones in jeans and rubber masks at the NEC were actually spot on.