Troll 2 Claudio Fragasso 1990

"So Bad, You'd Think It's Italian!"
Italians make some pretty lousy movies, ladies and gentlemen. Sure -- we've got the greats like Fellini and Antonioni and Bertolucci, and some of my favorite horror pics were directed by Bava (both of them), Argento, Fulci, Soavi, et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseum, amen. But aside from these few glittering gems, the Italians have a knack for producing some of the most incomprehensible garbage I've ever seen.

Enter "Troll 2". Folks, this is not a film -- this is shit at 24 frames-per-second.

"Troll", believe it or not, is one of my favorite movies. It's fun, it's creepy, it's got a great sense of fantasy and an even better sense of humor (it's also got Sonny Bono, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, June Lockhart, Michael Moriarty, and Gary Sandy). The fact that I saw it in the theatre at age 12 on a double-bill with "Ghoulies" may also add a sentimental aspect to my view of the film (it was PG-13, see, and I was only 12 -- hot shit!!), but I've seen it again recently again on DVD and it holds up surprisingly well over time.

So if you, like me, found yourself in possession of the "Troll and Troll 2" double feature DVD, enjoy "Troll" -- view it several times, I encourage you. But whatever you do, DO NOT TURN THE FOUL DISC OVER AND WATCH THE ATROCITY THAT LURKS ON THE OTHER SIDE, JUST WAITING TO SUCK. Unless, of course, you are like me and enjoy watching trainwrecks directed by Italian hack directors like Fragasso, who is also responsible for a bunch of horrible cannibal and zombie films, as well as a few Emmanuelle sequels. And if this is the case, here's what you have in store for you ...

Let's see if I can remember all this. Joshua (good, strong name!) has imagined chats with his dead grandfather -- or are they imagined? His parents, for some unexplained reason, have booked a family vacation where they trade places with a farming family from the rural town of Nilbog, apparently too retarded to notice that the name is Goblin backwards. Joshua's older sister benchpresses weights in her room and bitchslaps around her sissy boyfriend, telling him that he has to choose between her and his three fag friends (my added emphasis on fag. Or rather, my added "fag" -- one of these guys actually complements her on her drapes. It's fully warranted.). She even goes so far to say that if he doesn't get out of her room, her father will come upstairs, "bite off his tiny little balls, and eat them".

Alright then. Let's move on ...

The family heads out, and Joshua has nightmares about being forcefed green pudding and turning into a tree, after which he is eaten by his parents. One does not need a degree in psychology to see that there are some serious fulfillment issues going on here with our little momma's boy hero - I predict severe body dysmorphia later in life, probably leading tomale pattern eating disorder and exercise addiction. The boyfriend of the sister follows with his three fey friends in a Winnebago, or whatever kind of camper they drive in Utah. They get to the house, the farm family is creepy, and they find a spread laid out for them of green-frosted food, including corn. Green frosted corn. So the kid knows that this food will turn his family into trees, so what does he do? He pisses on the food. Good move, kid! Way to let your folks know you're a total psycho. Grandpa comes back, some other shit happens, the older sister does a dance routine in an honest-to-god oversized Garfield shirt, and the four sissies in the van argue.

Then, what do you know, a hot girl in torn clothes comes running out of the woods pursued by a group of midgets in Wilford Brimley masks. Huh? OH! My God, that's right -- this movie is called "TROLL 2" -- there must be TROLLS in it. And here they are, and they want their oatmeal. One of the guys runs with her to an old church which houses a community theatre actress who pretends to be about 50 years older than she is. I imagine the script said "in this old church lives an old witch", but that's not exactly what we get -- we get perhaps the worst actress ever committed to celluloid in grey hair-paint mugging at the camera and putting on some random "European" accent. It's so bad it made my teeth hurt. She turns the girl into a pile of green pudding, the Brimleys scurry out to eat it, and the boy gets made into a tree.

Back at the farmhouse things are getting so bad that I need to get a beer. So I do. When I return I realize that I was wrong in saying that the woman playing the witch is the worst actress ever filmed -- the actress playing the DAUGHTER is the worst actress ever filmed. Grandpa keeps coming and going, Joshua uncovers the Goblin plot, and Sissy #2 leaves the camper to find food. Now, this kid is REALLY one for the books -- yellow shirt and pink shorts, half-socks, and floppy blonde hair. He goes for food and gets picked up by a cop named Sherriff Freak. Hmm... subtle. The Sherriff gives him a green-covered sandwich and the kid eats it. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! NOW THEY'VE GOT YOU! It's beginning to dawn on me that this entire film is hinged upon getting people to eat green food and I remember when I was about 9 and my friend Troy's mom made a huge cake shaped like Cookie Monster, but the mold broke and she had to ditch the project, leaving a giant bowl of bright blue frosting unsued. Troy and I ate the entire bowl of frosting, and I shat blue for two days.

So the witch miraculously becomes "young" again (she washes the grey right out of her hair) and she goes to the camper to seduce the last sissyboy friend. Now, this is what I like to call the Gaypex of the film -- the point at which all homoerotic undertones finally come to a point. The kid in the trailer watches TV and suddenly the witchy woman appears on his screen, ambling down the path like a dimestore Elvira. When she approaches the camera, she brandishes an enormous ear of corn, strokes it enticingly, and says, "Are you hungry? Why don't we eat it together?" He asks if she is real, and she replies, "Why don't you come out and see?". AHEM! He lets her in, she throws him on the bed, and again pulls out the enormous corncob and rubs it up and down her leg. Finally the youth can no longer control the draw of the giant phallic vegetable and he takes half of it in his mouth, as the witch takes the other half, and they both fall into a haze of maize ecstasy, harmonica-style, on the lucky ear -- which eventually pops all over the camper in excitement. People, I have seen the EXACT SAME THING happen in bisexual pornos, only the two folks on the cob get covered with more than popcorn.

At the farmhouse, the locals have thrown a hootenanny to welcome the family, which is just a subterfuge to get them to eat the green frosting (don't do it!! You don't want to see green the next day!!). The kid sees grandpa, who makes a molotov cocktail for the kid to throw at the townspeople. The preacher stops them, but then grandpa uses his MAGICAL LIGHTNING POWER to set the preacher on fire! Kids -- you can do this at home! Apparently all you need for preacher-torching Magical Lightning is a piece of black paper, some scissors (ask your parents), and a bright light. Cut the shape of a lightning bolt in the paper, shine the light behind it, film it and insert the footage into a widely-distributed feature film, and voila. The family then holes up in the house and holds a seance to bring back grandpa, but instead Joshua turns into a Brimley and chases the family around. We then see that Joshua is no longer there but actually at the witch's house, where he and grandpa touch the Magic Stone. The Brimleys appear to stop him, but Joshua takes a magic baloney sandwich out of his backpack (noo! the Brimleys are vegetarian!), and touches the stone, throwing the Brimleys into fits of agony. Joshua's family arrives, and he pleads with them to touch the stone -- "Only goodness can stop them!". And baloney.

Cut to the family returning home and mom and Joshua falling back into their codependent relationship. Mom eats an apple and goes to take a shower -- and of course is punished for her greediness by turning into a naked, large-breasted mannequin covered with green ooze on the kitchen table. Joshua comes in and screams the immortal line, "They're eating my mother!"

Scene.

If this sounds fun to you, watch it. I actually had fun, but I'm a sick fuck. The gay subtext is preposterous, from Joshua's relationship to his mom to the sister's demands for her boyfriend to choose between her and his "boys", to the infamous corn-cobbing. Not surprising coming from the man who directed "Zombie 4", starring gay porn legend Jeff Stryker. With the bad acting, obsession with vegetation, and queer underpinnings, the whole thing reads like a Juiceman infomercial featuring Richard Simmons.

Rating (out of 5):