Italian ripoffs of successful American films are a constant factor on the exploitation movie scene, but rarely is the result as idiotic as TROLL 2, a film that makes the moderately entertaining original look like a Spielberg blockbuster. The plot (which, of course, has nothing to do with that of its inspiration) centers on young Joshua Waits (Michael Stephenson),...read more
Italian ripoffs of successful American films are a constant factor on the exploitation movie scene, but rarely is the result as idiotic as TROLL 2, a film that makes the moderately entertaining original look like a Spielberg blockbuster.
The plot (which, of course, has nothing to do with that of its inspiration) centers on young Joshua Waits (Michael Stephenson), who's been having visions of his grandpa, Seth (Robert Ormsby), even though the old gentleman passed away six months before. Grandpa likes to tell Joshua scary stories
about evil goblins who live in the forest, and soon begins to warn the boy that he'll be facing similar terrors in the real world.
As it happens, he and his parents, Michael and Diana (George Hardy and Margo Prey), and sister Holly (Connie McFarland) are about to take a vacation, on a strange kind of exchange program in which they'll be switching houses with a family from the small town of Nilbog. (Get it? It takes the
characters about half the film to figure it out.) Both during the trip and once they arrive, Joshua continues to have visions of Seth, who warns him that the goblins are lurking about, and will conspire to have him and his family eat tainted food that will turn them into half-flesh, half-plants,
the creatures' favorite food. One such warning occurs just as they're about to sit down to a lunch left for them by the locals, but Joshua thinks quickly and stops them from eating by urinating (offscreen, thankfully) all over the table.
Meanwhile, Holly's obnoxious boyfriend, Elliott (Jason Wright), has followed the Waitses to Nilbog in a motor home with three friends. One of the young men, following a pretty girl he sees running through the woods, winds up at a church that actually serves as the domain of Creedence (Deborah
Reed), a witch who acts as high priestess for the goblins. The girl foolishly drinks a potion proffered by Creedence, and turns into a human guacamole salad that is devoured by a group of the creatures; her would-be rescuer winds up being turned into a human potted plant with branches growing out
of his limbs. While Joshua is busy stumbling onto a meeting of goblins in human guise (whose leader rails against the evils of eating hamburgers and hot dogs) and his family continue to wonder why he's acting so strange, Creedence and the trolls plot to ensnare the family with a dinner reception
at the house.
After Creedence seduces one of Elliott's friends (an encounter that begins with mutual nibbling on a corn on the cob and ends with barrels of popcorn falling all over the couple), the party takes place, and the Waitses are about to eat some tainted food when Seth's spirit intervenes, zapping one
of the townspeople to a troll-shaped skeleton and giving away the village's terrible secret. Soon our heroes are on the run from a legion of the stunted monsters, but Seth's ghost appears once more, whisking Joshua to Creedence's lair, where the Stonehenge rock that gives the beasts their power
rests. Seth then gives Joshua a secret weapon in a backpack, warning him not to use it until absolutely necessary. Needless to say, that time comes very quickly, and as the trolls are advancing on the helpless family, Joshua reaches into the pack and produces--a bologna sandwich! Gobbling down the
sandwich, and protected from the vegetarian monsters by the meat in his system, Joshua is able to lead his family to concentrate, and the force of their wills destroys the goblins. The exhausted Waitses return home--but forget about the Nilbog family still living in their house, and Joshua soon
witnesses his vegetized mother being devoured by the trolls.
That synopsis pretty much says it all, but suffice it to say that TROLL 2's moronic story is not the least bit made palatable by the dialogue; this must be the first fantasy film where the evil witch admonishes the young hero not to employ the secret weapon by saying, "Think of the cholesterol!"
There are hints on occasion that the whole thing might have been intended as a spoof, but the horror scenes are played too straight (and with too much emphasis on gloppy makeup effects) for a tone of intentional amusement to hold for long. In any case, the laughter turns sour during the several
sequences in which poor Joshua is subjected to grotesque horrors, particularly in the unforgivable final scene.
The actors are all terrible, but can hardly have been expected to do sterling work given the unspeakable lines and tone-deaf direction, both the responsibility of Claudio Fragasso. He's billed in the film as "Drago Floyd," though someone at Epic Home Video got the pseudonyms crossed and--among
many other errors--ascribed the script to Fragasso's other nom de film, "Clyde Anderson," on the cassette boxes and ads.
Of course, any attempt to obscure the names of those involved in the making of this fiasco can only be construed as an act of mercy. TROLL 2 is really as bad as they come. (Violence, profanity, adult situations.)
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