Every year, some new obscu­ri­ty is trot­ted out before the cult movie crowd as its fol­low­ing tries to make the case for it being the best bad movie since the days of Ed Wood, Jr. A lot of the­se movies — The Room and Things to name two — are as bad as their rep­u­ta­tions sug­gest but their par­ti­sans tend to over-exag­ger­ate how fun they are. A bad movie that mix­es wacked-out ideas and aes­thet­i­cal­ly sus­pect exe­cu­tion with a relent­less dri­ve and a non-stop bar­rage of insane sights and sounds is tru­ly rare. Troll 2 is such a film and it eas­i­ly Troll2-posearns its place in the mod­ern bizarro-flick pan­theon.

Troll 2 has no real con­nec­tion to its pre­de­ces­sor oth­er than the pres­ence of beast­ly lit­tle crea­tures up to super­nat­u­ral mis­chief, pre­sent­ed here as a gag­gle of fright-masked lit­tle peo­ple. The wild plot­line deals with the Waits fam­i­ly par­tic­i­pat­ing in a “fam­i­ly exchange” that takes them to the small town of Nilbog (spell it back­wards).

Young Joshua (Michael Stephenson) is in con­tact with the spir­it of his recent­ly deceased Grandpa Seth (Robert Ormsby), who warns him he must get the fam­i­ly out of this town. However, mom (Margo Prey) and dad (George Hardy) aren’t eas­i­ly swayed and his sis­ter (Connie Young) is too caught up in boyfriend dra­ma. Thus, Joshua has his work cut out for him again­st this town, where all the locals are sin­is­ter and a strange witch-like fig­ure named Creedence (Deborah Reed) wields sin­is­ter pow­ers that include trans­form­ing peo­ple into plants and an army of lit­tle beast­ies.

That plot might sound strange enough in syn­op­sis form but see­ing unfurl across the screen is the cin­e­mat­ic equiv­a­lent of smok­ing angel dust. Director Claudio Fragasso was a vet­er­an writer and direc­tor of dement­ed Italian schlock — his C.V. includes every­thing from Hell Of The Living Dead to Monster Dog — and he brings the full pow­ers of his gift for cel­lu­loid insan­i­ty to bear here.

Troll2-01The script, penned by Fragasso’s wife and reg­u­lar col­lab­o­ra­tor Rossella Drudi, mix­es strange ideas about what is scary, even stranger ideas about social com­men­tary and satire of veg­e­tar­i­an­ism and most impor­tant­ly, a thor­ough­ly crazy “fun­house mir­ror” vision of how American fam­i­ly life and teenage behav­ior work. Fragasso directs it all with a sense of dri­ve that is exhaust­ing, rest­less­ly com­bin­ing shop­worn hor­ror motifs lift­ed from a vari­ety of sources into some­thing that gen­uine­ly feels like a trash-hor­ror fan’s fever dream.

A big part of Troll 2’s effect is the most­ly ama­teur cast. It seems that beyond get­ting the cast to per­form the script as writ­ten, Fragasso essen­tial­ly left the cast to their own devices. Stephenson and Young play their roles like pre­co­cious kid actors on the Halloween episode of a sit­com, Hardy tries to bluff his way through in com­mu­ni­ty-the­ater style and Prey is a blank-eyed, Troll2-02haunt­ing­ly numb pres­ence. However, top hon­ors must go to Reed, who puts on a dis­play of Lugosi-accent­ed histri­on­ics and silent movie facial expres­sions: “over the top” isn’t suf­fi­cient enough to cap­ture the over­pow­er­ing effect of her per­for­mance. Virtually every­one seems to have a dif­fer­ent act­ing style and the cacoph­o­n­ic clash their inter­pre­ta­tions make just add to the film’s hyp­notic weird­ness.

As a result of the­se artis­tic choic­es, Troll 2 become a roller­coast­er packed with whiplash turns of nar­ra­tive log­ic as it hurtles you past sights and sounds you will expe­ri­ence in no oth­er film. People bleed chloro­phyll and trans­form into plants, only to be devoured by lit­tle peo­ple in troll cos­tumes. The least joy­ful round of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” ever filmed. A child hero who uri­nates on tox­ic food to keep his fam­i­ly from eat­ing it. A seduc­tion that involves a cob of corn and fills an R.V. bed with pop­corn. The afore­men­tioned moments are just a sam­pling of what Troll2-03awaits you in this one-of-a-kind film.

Simply put, Troll 2 is a bad movie clas­sic wor­thy of the Ed Wood, Jr. pan­theon because it offers a sin­gu­lar­ly out­ré take on life and cin­e­ma, deliv­ered with a bar­rage of crazed ideas and sur­re­al exe­cu­tion that nev­er stops com­ing at the audi­ence. Disconnect piles atop dis­con­nect piles atop dis­con­nect until the view­er is trans­port­ed to a strange world where con­ven­tion­al log­ic, aes­thet­ics and san­i­ty do not apply. Thus, it is a must see for any patron of cult movie mad­ness.