Today's Pick: Troll 2 (1990)
There's a large number of people today who don't know what a proper so-bad-it's-good movie is. Pandering drivel like Sharknado and the entire catalog of The Asylum's output are so aware of the level they are operating at (low budget genre fare with ridiculous premises and less than Oscar-worthy actors) that there's not a single frame of film that has any sincerity in it. These are movies made for people who are awash with a post-modern love of "irony" and wouldn't know a true piece of awfulsome (awesomely awful, or awfully awesome) cinema if it was given a 24 hour marathon on SyFy. Real so-bad-it's-good movies are completely unaware of the limitations they are subjected to, often reaching for goals that are utterly unattainable due to budget restrictions. It's that spirit of trying to make something that the filmmakers believe is worthwhile, but due to their naivete, they fail in a spectacularly unique way which turns a film into something both absurd and admirable. One of the highlights of these kinds of films is Troll 2.
There's such a plethora of bizarre qualities that make Troll 2 so memorable. While it's officially a sequel to the 1986 film Troll, it has absolutely nothing to do with that movie, going so far as to not have any trolls in the entire picture (the creatures are explicitly called goblins). There's a ghost grandpa, a sensual scene involving a corn-on-the-cob (it's much more SFW than what you're thinking), people turning into vegetables, a scene where urinating on food saves peoples' lives, a horrible attempt at disguising the name of a goblin-infested town, and one of the most recognizable screams in Internet history:
Instead of describing all the weirdness and ineptitude on display in the film, I'd rather let you discover it for yourself in all its gonzo glory. What I want to emphasize about Troll 2 is that it is a perfect example of a real so-bad-it's-good film, and why it earns that description as opposed to genuine rubbish like Big Ass Spider or (insert modern SyFy movie here). The actors who starred in Troll 2 were never self-aware in their performances, and the writers and director never intended for their story to be viewed in a silly manner. There was an earnest effort from everyone involved to do the best job that they could. It's that enthusiasm mixed with a lack of cynicism and a necessary creative blindness that creates something sublime like Troll 2.
In a pop culture that thrives on meta commentary and self-aware humor, these kinds of films have become more and more rare. It's something of a shame, but it also makes true so-bad-it's-good movies even more special. It also leads to discovering pictures from eras past that do fulfill those qualities (Miami Connection, Samurai Cop, Hard Ticket to Hawaii and countless others), and exposing new generations of fans to hidden gems of awfulsome glory.
There's a fantastic documentary on Troll 2 called Best Worst Movie (that prestigious moniker is worth debate) that I definitely recommend seeing after experiencing the insanity of Troll 2. There's a scene where the Italian director gets to hold a film reel of his movie, and he is overcome with emotion for it as a piece of art. That is an integral part of what is missing from so-bad-it's-good films today: heart. For all its wacky qualities, Troll 2 is a film that is full of heart. This is a perfect film to gather your friends together for a screening, because you'll all be dying from some honestly funny stuff.
Alright, no more fooling around! Tomorrow, we get serious with a film from the man who was once called, "the future of horror." Spoiler alert: It's not Michael Bay. See you then!
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