US (dir. Michael Stephenson)
Cast: Michael Stephenson, George Hardy, Darren Ewing, Jason Steadman, Jason Wright, Connie Young, Robert Ormsby, Don Packard, Margo Prey, Claudio Fragasso, Rossella Drudi, Paul Gibbs, Patrick Gibbs, Steven Hatch, Lily Hardy, Pita Ray, Micki Knox, Tommy Bice, Lila Graves, Laura Gulledge, Randall Colburn
Synopsis: In 1989, a group of unknown Utah actors starred in what would be crowned the worst movie of all time: TROLL 2. After two decades of running from this cinematic disaster, the cast can no longer hide from the legion of followers that celebrate them for their ineptitude.
Review: Though I haven’t seen “Troll 2” (yes, I am a professed “Troll 2” virgin), I’ve heard enough about it to know that it stinks something awful. And thanks to various clips through the charmingly funny “Best Worst Movie”, and this Oscar clip, I’ve seen the “greatest hits” of bad scenes that comprise the aptly named “worst movie ever”. “Best Worst Movie” is the attempt of one-time child actor, Michael Stephenson, to capture the unexpected cult success of the film decades after its shameful DTV to release. At the center of the story, and the main focus of the documentary, is actor turned dentist George Hardy, whose stint as the dad who lectured about “pissing on hospitality” and the like in”Troll 2″ has turned him into a cult film hero, in the same way Bruce Campbell became a B-movie God after the Evil Dead series. The documentary follows the instantly likable, Michael Scott-ish, George Hardy, Michael Stephenson and other colourful folk from the disastrous film as they travel to midnight screenings and horror conventions in the wake of “Troll 2″‘s unlikely elevation to cult hit.
George Hardy, a friendly, good-natured father and a down-to-Earth, easy to like kind of everyman is the main focus of Stephenson’s “Troll 2” documentary. Unsatisfied as a small town dentist, his sudden rise to fame and the attention he gets during horror conventions and midnight screenings of “Troll 2” satisfies a deep urge he’s had to be a recognized actor. As the film progresses, he tends to get a little full of himself, and in the more downer moments he encounters situations like an incident at a horror convention in England where only 5 or 6 people show up for his Q&A session and at Texas Fear Fest where he is snubbed by Neil Marshall (director of “The Descent”) off screen, unrecognized by virtually anyone attending the convention, and a less lucrative draw than some chick from the fifth installment of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise. In his anger, he admonishes the horror genre as “sick”, but it’s really more of a reflection of his wounded pride and flourishing ego than it is of any genuine hatred. It’s this kind of awkward stuff captured by Stephenson that shifts the tone of the documentary from silly fun to a more serious look at what it’s like to be a has been that never really “was” in the first place.
A bizarre encounter with recluse Margot Prey (who played the mother in “Troll 2”) also proves to be just about as awkward George Hardy’s public snubbings, but more pathetically sad then one could imagine. Clearly suffering from some sort of mental illness or delusion, Margot Prey (one cat short of being a crazy cat lady) lives alone with her invalid mother, refusing to leave her home even when told of how her only film has gone on to be a cult hit. Another, equally bizarre, encounter with Don Packard (who portrayed a store owner) reveals how he was on leave from a mental institute while filming his scenes and that he harboured a deep desire to kill then child actor Michael Stephenson during filming. Uh… yeah. And Grandpa Seth (Robert Ormsby) confesses that his life truly was a waste and he has nothing to show for it with the sole exception of “Troll 2”. Sad.
Interviews with the director of “Troll 2″ (Claudio Fragrasso) and his wife/”Troll 2” screenwriter Rosella Drudi reveals the madness at work behind the scenes of the the epic fail movie (both director and screenwriter are firm in the belief that their film was an exceptional work, with Fragrasso himself proclaiming his excellence as a director). It’s here that the documentary reveals what “Troll 2” is exactly: a perfect storm of awfulness made possible by a troop of madmen. And yet despite the fact that it is undeniably awful, there’s no denying the film’ ability to make people laugh, bring people together, and put a (often reluctant) smile on the faces of the unfortunate folk who were involved in the movie yet have the good sense to recognize it was a crappy film and move on. While I expected a light-hearted film about the folks involved in making the worst movie ever, I didn’t really expect the documentary to expose the darker side of being involved in “Troll 2” (i.e. the inability to find work in movies afterwords, the shameful realization of how bad the film was, and the stubborn refusal of some to deem the film as anything less than great). Even if you know your knowledge of “Troll 2” is limited only to this, I still recommend you check out “Best Worst Movie”, a charming expose of the lives of those involved in the creation of the worst movie ever made.