In the canon of so-bad-they're-good movies, Troll 2 has been an unqualified success. The 1990 non-sequel to Troll follows the travails of a family turned into plants to satisfy vegetarian goblins. (There are no trolls in the film.) The disaster-at-the-box-office has since spawned midnight screenings, dress-up parties, T-shirts, catchphrases and other trappings of cultdom.
Now, its child star, Michael Stephenson, goes behind the camera to find out what happened to his castmates and the film's Italian creators -- and how they feel being latently adored for the wonderful dreadful movie they made. This is tons of fun for Nilboggers, i.e. Troll 2 diehards, and somewhat less so for the rest of us.
But Stephenson's smallish journey is made enjoyable by the near-constant involvement of the endlessly engaging George Hardy, former Troll 2 star and now a dentist in a small Alabama town. And not surprisingly, the stories behind the low-budget horror film, shot in Utah with aspiring local actors by a director who didn't speak English, are amusing, and yield a number of real-life "characters."
Best Worst Movie, itself a low-budgeter, doesn't delve too deep into our propensity for embracing the bad. Stephenson's film rides the gravy train of hipster adoration, until he and Hardy discover that "getting" Troll 2 is by no means universal. It's a moment that the irrepressible Hardy handles with aplomb, but that Stephenson fails to probe. Yet this isn't wonky analysis so much as catching up with old friends: Sometimes a troll is just a troll ... uh, make that goblin. In English, and some Italian, with subtitles. Fri., Sept. 17, through Mon., Sept. 20. Melwood (Al Hoff) [2.5 out of 4 stars]