Stars: 4 of 5.
Running Time: 93 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: George Hardy, Margo Prey, Robert Ormsby, Claudio Fragasso, Darren Ewing, Connie Young.
Viewed at: Rooftop Films' screening on Friday, July 31st in Brooklyn.
The bad filmmaking gods smiled down upon Claudio Fragasso and his cast of American misfits in 1990, and TROLL 2 has- nearly twenty years later- reached a truly iconic status. BEST WORST MOVIE, directed by Michael "They're eating my Mom- AAAAHH!" Stephenson, chronicles the cult phenomenon as well as the present-day lives of many of those involved. And it's in turns hilarious, devastating, weird, sad, sweet, and spit-take inducing.
George "You can't piss on hospitality!" Hardy is a dynamo; so elated to be a piece of bad movie history that he becomes this movie's feel-good core.
Robert "Goblins still exist! Your Grandpa Seth is telling you!" Ormsby is charming and candid, but is sadly selling himself short if he truly believes he's led a wasted life. Connie "He'd cut off your lit-tle nuts and eat-them" Young makes some difficult self-assessments and removes TROLL 2 from her resumé. (But does ICE SPIDERS make it on there?) Margo "Come on, sing that song I like so much!" Prey provides a sobering detour for the film, as she seems to live her life in a disquieting state of limbo amongst lost dreams, fatiguing responsibilities, and perhaps even mental illness.
Several other actors and original filmmakers make appearances, but a few of them are so choice and brief that I shan't spoil them here.
But stealing the show is director Claudio Fragasso, whose intense, easily pissed-off countenance provided TROLL 2's sincerity (and most of the comedy here).
When actors joke about TROLL 2 at a Q&A, Fragasso labels them ungrateful, bullshit-spewing "dogs." Any irony whatsoever seems lost on Fragasso, king of plagiaristic Italo-trash (and maker of such 'unofficial sequels' as TROLL 2, TERMINATOR II- SHOCKING DARK, EVIL DEAD 5, and TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3. Also see MONSTER DOG, starring Alice Cooper, and featuring both pissing and mention of hospitality). There should be a TV show following this guy around. It could be the next I'M WITH BUSEY.
BEST WORST MOVIE is at its best when it's surreally reenacting scenes from TROLL 2 at original locations ( á la LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY), and at its worst when it drags a bit (it could be a little tighter, especially near the end), but overall, it's a fitting tribute to the squad of eccentrics, weirdos, and regular folks who assembled one of the most insane films in the history of the medium.
Odd side note: at the Q&A, Michael Stephenson denied having seen any other Fragasso films and failed to mention that he starred in Fragasso's LA CASA 5 (also known as BEYOND DARKNESS and EVIL DEAD 5). It seems odd that the film or Stephenson would make no mention of this, as it's a key role in the same vein as his TROLL 2 role (a nearly constantly screaming, grating child). I've even got the proof: