Obscure Netflix Guy Movie: Troll 2

Year: 1990
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 94 minutes

Halloween is rapidly approaching, and if you want to watch a scare-a-minute thrill ride to get you in the mood, Troll 2 (stream for $3 / own for $8 @ Amazon.com) … definitely isn’t it. The premise is absurd, the script is terrible, the acting is lousy, and the production value barely surpasses that of a high-school musical-theater performance. Yet the shitstorm of awfulness somehow manages to be an hour and a half of pure cinematic gold.

The 2010 documentary Best Worst Movie (stream for $3 / own for $9 @ Amazon.com) details the making of Troll 2, and — spoiler alert! — the shoot was a complete mess. There were only bits and pieces of a finished script, the Italian-speaking director could barely talk to the actors, and few people involved with the production could comprehend the plot, including the guy who wrote it. The result? Amazing scenes like this:

Oh, did we mention that there are no trolls in Troll 2? It’s a sequel in name only to 1986’s Troll, which did, in fact, feature a troll. (It also starred Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and Sonny Bono, and featured two characters named Harry Potter.) But in Troll 2, the audience is treated to vegetarian goblins dressed in burlap sacks who can magically take human form. So why wasn’t it called Goblins? Well, the name was an attempt to piggyback on the very moderate success of Troll. It didn’t work.

So here’s what happens: The Waits family goes to the remote town of Nilbog for a summer vacation, where they plan to get some much needed R&R from their hard-knock life in suburbia. What the family doesn’t realize is that they’re headed into a trap — Nilbog is actually choc-a-bloc with goblins. (The town’s name is “goblin” spelled backwards; watch the clip above for that shocking reveal.) If the Waits eat or drink anything in Nilbog, they’ll be transformed into goblin food, which means they’ll turn into some sort of human-plant hybrid. It’s up to the ghost of Grandpa Seth and little Joshua Waits to save the family and destroy the evil goblin queen and her minions.

Below is a scene that borrows liberally from the movie The Fly. Sort of.

Director Claudio Fragasso and his wife co-wrote the script in broken English. When the cast offered Fragasso suggestions for line changes that would make their delivery sound more natural, he vehemently objected and demanded their lines be recited as written. But maybe our favorite bit of Troll 2 trivia involves the actor who plays the he store owner in the clip below. His name is Don Packard, and you may recognize him from the mental hospitals he was a patient in before and after filming. He’s also probably the most gifted actor in the movie.