Well, it’s finally happened. FINALLY! At long last, someone has challenged me to write a positive review of none other than the truly awe-inspiring, frequently voted ‘most awful horror film of all time’ Troll 2 (1990, directed by Claudio Fragasso). I was so happy when this challenge came in that I literally wept with joy. Well not literally – I mean, I’m not a maniac. I only weep over normal things, like when a scotch pancake slips too far into the toaster.
This page, Challenge Kayleigh, exists because I boasted that my love of horror is so great that I can find redeeming qualities in any horror film in existence, so you guys pitch me the challenge, and I review the film. If you best me (I’m so far undefeated), you win grand prizes. Since I’m now on a 12-movie winning streak, I also now give consolation prizes to those who take the time to pitch me a challenge. George Ilett Anderson – thank you for this. Contact me or Jimmy McNutsFace and I’ll get your CONSOLATION prize sent to you! Major spoilers ahead.
So, Troll 2 then.
Troll is the 1986 story of an evil troll king who sorta kinda possesses a little girl in an apartment complex and there’s a witch and indoor plants and all sorts of madness. It’s not considered a masterpiece but it does have a cult following, and it’s plenty of silly fun.
Troll 2 is a sequel with absolutely no connection whatsoever to the first movie, or indeed, trolls. It’s not only been consistently cited as the worst sequel ever made, but also the worst horror movie, and even the worst movie of any genre, of all time. And I loved every second of it. And I’ll tell you why.
Troll 2 is an insightful, paradoxical prediction and metaphorical foreshadowing of what the then future would hold; the Internet, and everything wrong with it (or right with it, depending on whether you use it for good or evil). I assume that the filmmakers used some sort of sorcery to gain insight into certain Internet phenomena. Specifically, what I’m referring to here are the following issues:
Goodness grief, if there were ever people obsessed with their diet, it’s EVERYONE in this film. The goblins themselves are ‘vegetarian’ (which is bizarre, considering that they turn humans into plants so they can be consumed). All the goblins think about is eating – their lives revolve around ‘sourcing’ the next meal. Humorously, despite them being honey-trapping murderers, they are easily offended when ‘unclean’ food comes up in conversation. A goblin storeowner becomes aggressive when asked for coffee, because apparently it’s the devil’s drink. Said storeowner also doesn’t sell eggs or bacon because ‘we’re all vegetarians’ here. Later, one of the goblins make a disgusted reference to ‘stinking, filthy meat’, because the goblins don’t want their future meals eating unhealthily because then they’re full of gross toxins before they’re consumed. For a bunch of folk who hold their food morals very highly and seriously, they’re also a bunch of hypocrites who eat people and justify it because they’ve turned them into people/plant hybrids. Just because the humans end up liquefied, it doesn’t mean they’re not made of meat, you cheeky little nilbogs.
The goblins represent the hungriest and greediest of us. They also represent the preachy, self-righteous, ‘clean eaters’ who use the Internet to attack people who don’t meet their own, personal food standards. In the movie, they’re literally attacking them; so it’s a metaphor, see?
It’s not just the goblins that are obsessed with food – it’s the people too, though they’re more obsessed with the lack of it. They’re on the other end of the diet fad food spectrum, you see. The family in the movie seems to be shrouded in a unique kind of shame around food. Josh has a nightmare about being turned into a plant and being eaten, and when he tells his family about it, all three of them turn on him and inform him that he brought the nightmare on himself by eating too much. We haven’t even seen Josh eat at all by this point. When they arrive at the goblins’ house, they are met with a feast on the table. Josh literally pisses on all of it so none of them can eat. This serves as a problem because the only food in the house is that left by the goblins because neither parent thought to bring any with them. A group of lads staying in a camper van near by also forgot to bring food. Starving oneself appears to be a common thread in this movie.
Perhaps (well…definitely) the most bizarre representation of food in this movie arrives in the form of corn. A goblin/witch disguised as a hot woman arrives at the camper van when one of the guys is alone, and literally seduces him with some corn on the cob. They sort of.. kiss?... the corn, and it gets so hot in the camper van that the corn turns into popcorn. I’m not joking. The corn sprays everywhere, filling the trailer, like some sort of mega corn ejaculation. It’s porn. It’s corn porn. This may not quite fit into the ‘diet fad’ category, but it most definitely hints at the kind of depraved porn that was just becoming not only available, but popular, on the Internet.
The point I’m making is this – these aspects of the movie represent the diet crazes made popular by Internet access. The people represent the shame of eating and the millions of ‘too-thin’ Instagramers who successfully promote an emaciated body image. The goblins represent the ‘clean living’ vegetarians and vegans of the world, a movement that has taken the world by storm in recent years, thanks to the spread of information via Youtubers and Bloggers alike.
Oh God. You know what I mean by this, you guys. You know those parents who refuse to have their children immunized because they’ve gone online and ‘done their own research’? They’re horrified to learn that vaccines contain the disease, as if that’s some evil secret the medical community was hiding until the day the net became widely available? More and more often, we’re seeing ‘movements’ arising, due to people surfing the web and then deciding to ignore the advice of qualified doctors.
During the movie, a dude mouths off to a horde of goblins, and quite rightly, gets a spear through the leg. He stumbles through the woods with a girl he found, who is pre-plant mutation and very ill, and they find the witch’s house. He asks for a doctor and she informs him that ‘we’re used to curing ourselves’ and then feeds the girl a broth containing all the ‘vegetable properties of the earth’. This scene is indicative of both ‘self-diagnosis’ and the ‘alternative medicine’ craze, both of which rely heavily on the Internet.
The ‘central relationship’ in this movie is that of Sister and her Bo (oh yes, that’s what she calls him). It’s a vicious, unhealthy relationship in which she constantly undermines him, insults him, demands 100% of his time, and tries to emasculate him all the time. She even mocks him for being a virgin. Their relationship is based on her keeping tabs on his every move, much in the same way that people use Facebook to secretly stalk their significant others. There’s even a scene in which she’s dancing in front of the mirror and she actually talks to the mirror as if it’s her boyfriend, and demands that he like her. Everything she does is for ‘likes’.
There is a more obvious example of this weird type of stalking when the mouthy dude sees a girl running through the woods, so naturally, he chases her. This is following a discussion about the lack of women around. Terrified, the girl continues to flee, so the dude actually tackles her to the ground and then demands to know who she is. Much like that guy that keeps sending you friend requests, and then when he receives no response, starts messaging you asking for your details.
The goblins in this movie are the ultimate catfish – way better than even the mightiest of keyboard warriors we see today. The film opens with Grandpa telling Josh a nice bedtime story about how goblins imitate human form in order to trap unsuspecting people into eating this weird green goop, that then turns them into half-human/half-plant, so that the goblins can eat them later. In Grandpa’s story, the ‘hero’ is tricked by a beautiful woman, who obviously is not who she appears to be because she turns out to be a goblin. This is basically the premise of every single episode of MTV’s Catfish. If half of those unsuspecting, gullible ‘victims’ had watched Troll 2, they might have saved themselves a world of hassle.
The family this movie follows is a silly bunch that arranges to swap house keys with another family, who are strangers, presumably to ‘holiday’ in each other’s houses. This family looks human but they are goblins that lured the family to Nilbog to be eaten. Catfished.
I’ve been Rick Rolled, and so have you. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s simply that annoying thing where you’re prompted to click on a link (usually there’s a ‘click bait’ type of headline to sucker you in, or the promise of a massive spoiler for a popular show). However, the link doesn’t take you to where you expect it to – it actually leads you to either a meme or a video of Rick Astley. This is considered just one of many branches of ‘trolling’. Why Rick Astley, I hear you ask? I don’t think anyone knows, but it makes me laugh every time someone tricks me with it.
Troll 2 is the ultimate experience in being trolled. That whole catfishing element shows us that the characters in the movie are being mislead for the entire time, but as an audience, so are we. Notice how not only is this sequel nothing to do with the first movie, but it doesn’t actually have trolls at all? The monsters are explicitly referred to as goblins for the entirety of the movie. We came to this sequel expecting trolls, but in a hilarious, ironic twist, there are none. We have been trolled by a lack of trolls. We have been Rick Rolled. NAY! We have been RICK TROLLED.
Magical, psychic predictions of modern day aside, I can honestly tell you that this movie is enjoyable. It’s hilarious on so many levels, and is worth a watch if only for the scene in which Elliot screams “They’re eating her! And then they’re gonna eat me!.....OH MY GODDDDDDDDDDDD!”
I also enjoyed the hilarious joke of the hammiest actor on the planet, who plays the witch. Honestly, you’ve never seen such hammy acting.. it’s not just hammy; it’s an entire pigpen of hilarity. I’ve assumed that the actor gave such a hammy performance so that the word ‘hammy’ would come to mind when you watch her. Because goblins don’t eat ham. So it’s an ironic joke (and not just unintentional bad acting). Obviously.
Way too easy George, but again, I thank you for giving me a brilliant afternoon of ‘work’.
If you think you have a movie in mind that can’t possibly be redeemed, send it my way and I’ll tell you why you’re wrong :p