PART I: WELCOME TO NILBOG
Welcome to yet another series I hope to establish here at fogsmoviereviews: “Awesomely Awful”. Here I’ll discuss those “So bad they’re good” movies that are at the apex of that genre. They’re not so bad they’re good, they’re so awful that they’re awesome. I love these movies almost as much as the movies I consider classics.
Seriously. Troll 2 is more fun to watch than 3/4 of the movies released in a given year. It happened by accident, sure. But should that be held against it? Hell no. Ridiculous-ness drips from every pore of this film. It should be preserved in the National Archive.
It’s gonna take me a week to mock this fully. It’s a three parter. But I promise you all an epic deconstruction. Whether you’ve seen this movie or not, click through, check it out. It’s LOADED with screen caps so you can follow along. Oh, and don’t worry about spoilers. Like a Twinkie loaded with additives and preservatives, “Troll 2″s delicious goodness can never go bad.
Let’s start here. There are no Trolls in “Troll 2”.
No, in fact, the diminutive menaces our heroes face in “Troll 2” are Goblins. That’s right. Goblins.
Don’t be scared. No, seriously, don’t be.
Here’s when I first realized how much trouble we were in for from “Troll 2”. The movie opens with a grandfather reading his grandson a bedtime story about a boy named Peter who is chased through the woods by Goblins. The boy is engrossed, asking questions, looking scared. As the grandfather tells Peter’s story, the film shows Peter running through the woods and eventually being caught by the Creatures. Peter sees a Goblin in the guise of a beautiful girl, and his fate is sealed. When Grandpa finishes with Peter’s story, they cut back to the bedroom, and here’s what I saw.
See if you can spot what’s wrong with this picture.
That’s ok. I’m not gonna sweat the small stuff. But they did say his name was Peter, I counted like 8 times. Doesn’t matter. The story was what was important, it introduced and established the rules of the Goblins.
To quote “Grandpa Seth”, Goblins are “cruel, deformed forest dwellers. Haughty creatures. Spiteful and impudent. They are the vengeful and evil Goblins. Little people of the night.” Even though we only see them in the day.
But ok, how do the Goblins threaten people? I mean, they’re small, so… couldn’t I just wail on them? Do they use magic on people? Well, not directly… Do they overwhelm you with numbers and threaten people physically that way? Mmmm. No, not really… There was one scene where they used their spears, but just that once. They must be like gremlins or imps, where they cause mischief to the extent that it’s threatening then, right? Nope. Not so much. Well what then? How are these little creatures threatening?
Goblins – well, these Goblins at least – make people eat goo that turns them into half man/half plant. Which they then eat with “a voracity that has no equal on Earth!”
THE GOBLIN COOKBOOK
Step 1: Feed your victim green goo.
Step 2: Wait until victim begins to pour chlorophyl sweat.
Step 3: Eat and Enjoy!
Oh. Right. And “Grandpa Seth” is a ghost. As soon as the boy’s mom turns on the light, he disappears. Almost forgot.
Yessss, meet the Waits. They’re an average, small town 1980s suburban family. Well, except for the Ghostly Grandfather. And the fact that they talk strangely. Although that could be due to the fact that the script was written by a foreigner. Or that none of these actors had ever acted before. Or that the director barely spoke English. Other than that, they all seem relatively normal.
Mr. and Mrs. Waits. They’re not the sharpest knives in the drawer by any means.
The Waits are about to take a month-long vacation to a town called “Nilbog”. (I’ll give you a second.) They’ve arranged a home exchange, where they swap houses with another family for a month. They’re going to this town, population 26, in order to “Live like their ancestors did. Like peasants and farmers.” Except of course, they don’t know how to farm. Whatever… at times I felt like they didn’t plan this trip of theirs very well – for example they never unpack anything – but that’s the least of this movie’s problems.
They have two major problems, aside from a travel agent that hates them and wants to punish them – oh wait, the Dad planned the trip, sorry – anyways, two major problems. “Ghost (Gran) Dad” and the fact that their daughter’s boyfriend is stalking her. He sneaks into her room at night, and later, he’ll follow them out to Nilbog.
The daughter knees her boyfriend in the nuts.
The actors and the dialogue in this movie are both atrocious. I’m having a hard time choosing which one to talk about first. How about this excerpt from the nutshot scene above. As bad as it seems on paper? It’s worse when it’s delivered by this troupe. Trust me.
Holly: Elliott! What kind of idiotic joke is this? You scared the shit out of me!
Elliott: I’m the victim of a nocturnal rapture. I have to release my lowest instincts with a woman.
Holly: [Knees Elliott in the groin] Release your instincts in the bathroom.
Elliott: Are you nuts? You tryin’ to turn me into a homo?
Holly: Wouldn’t be too hard. If my father discovers you here, he’d cut off your little nuts and eat them. He can’t stand you.
I wish I had realized that that was what was wrong with me in college. Maybe if I had KNOWN I was suffering from nocturnal raptures, I could have done something about it, and not cheated on my girlfriends so much. I digress…
The family gets in the mini van and drives off to Nilbog. Along the way, the Mom asks Joshua, the son, to “Sing that song I like so much”, as if she can’t remember the name of it. The family then starts singing “Row Row Row Your Boat”. Shortly after, Joshua falls asleep and has a nightmare that he’s turning into a tree and his family are all goblins. He wakes up screaming. The family reassures him, and he calms down, but that’s when he sees Grandpa Seth’s ghost on the side of the highway.
It’s not easy being a disembodied ghost. You may look real, but you’re actually powerless. There are times when you’re reduced to standing by the roadside, holding up signs. Hoping your family sees…
He has the family stop the car, gets out and runs back 100 yards or so to talk to Grandpa, only after a brief conversation with the ghost, it turns out it’s really a homeless dude.
I’m not a parent, so, bear with me if I’m off-base. If your kid is having nightmares and waking up screaming and having hallucinations where he’s talking to his dead grandfather, don’t you take him to see a shrink? Or do you go off on a vacation?
The family finally arrives in Nilbog and finds the town empty. Not too unexpected when your town’s population is 26.
IQ Test: If you can’t figure this out, you’re a moron. Turn off your computer before you hurt yourself.
Driving out to the farmhouse they’re going to stay at, they meet the family they’ll be swapping houses with for a month. This other family seems hostile, and says next to nothing, practically engaging the Waits in a “You talkin’ to me?” stare down. But that’s ok, the Waits are more than happy to let the strange, hostile family that they’ve never met go off to stay in their house for a whole month. They head inside, leaving just Joshua to watch the other family drive off. What I don’t get is this:
It may just be me, but if the strange, hostile family drives off in their pick up truck, and then Grover Dill in the back there throws you a softball that says “EAT BEFORE WE EAT YOU” in what is that? Snot? Anyways, wouldn’t you tell your family? Run in with it and show it to them? Not our hero. He tosses that softball away, shrugs it off, heads inside. You know. In spite of finally having a piece of tangible evidence (instead of just his claims of being visited by his grandfather’s ghost to warn him of Goblins) to prove to his family that they are in fact in danger… nah. Who wants to keep that?
I hope you’re still with me, and you haven’t been too scared by all of this. Sometimes I forget that this is a horror movie we’re talking about.
The family enters the farmhouse they’ll be staying at, and they come across the most diabolical, insidious, evil trap I’ve ever seen in a horror movie! The Goblins have loaded the kitchen table with food!! Now, it might just be me, but even if it weren’t an evil Goblin trap, I might hesitate just a little about eating food left by strangers after they all just seemed so… standoffish.
Not the Waits, man, they happily sit down to dig right in!!
Mmmmmmm… Green food coloring
Now. Joshua knows, thanks to Grandpa Seth, that this food is a Goblin trap. He’s scared, he doesn’t know what to do. That’s when Grandpa Seth appears at the window to help him out. Somehow, he uses his ghostly powers to freeze time. The entire Waits family except for Joshua is frozen in a state of suspended animation. Grandpa Seth can’t help any other way, but he urges Josh to think of something quick! The family will only be frozen for 30 seconds! If he can’t stop them, they’ll all turn into Green Goblin Goo!!
Well, Josh comes up with something alright.
I’ll give you a hint. It involves urine.
Now, keep in mind that no one else sees Grandpa Seth. No one else knows about the Goblin Menace except for Joshua. So, again, I just have to say… now that urinating on the table has been added to the nightmares and the hallucinations, I’d definitely be checking my son in someplace, but not the Waits! No, it just really, really pisses the father off.
Which is ok, because if he had behaved rationally and brought his sick son to get medical attention, we wouldn’t have had the scene below. It’s so patently inauthentic and poorly acted that it deserves some kind of lifetime achievement award from the Razzies. When this movie is show in theatres (Troll 2 has a “Rocky Horror Pictureshow”-esque following), this is the scene the crowd has memorized and shouts out verbatim as it happens onscreen.
Watch it for yourself.
Ok. Thanks for having some fun with me here, but that’s enough ridicule for one day. Come back tomorrow for Part II, where I introduce you to…