Best Worst Movie (2009)
A loving tribute to beloved film Troll 2
We are right in the thick of Halloween season – kids are deciding what costume to wear, radio stations are playing “Ghostbusters” more than they usually do, and stores are beginning to put out their Christmas decorations. And I have gotten into the spirit of the season by reviewing scary films all month long. Be sure to follow the hashtag #cinemaconnoisseurfromtheinterrobangatfanshawecollegepresentstheoctober2013halloweenspooktacularmoviefestfeaturingsomereallyscaryfilms for all the details.
This week I will be taking a look at a film that takes a look at a film. Last year I had the pleasure of watching a landmark motion picture called Troll 2. The low-budget movie, which surprisingly featured no trolls (and very few professional actors), managed to overcome those obstacles to become one of the most beloved films of all time. It took a long and winding road to get there, however.
The documentary Best Worst Movie introduces us to the wonderful cast of characters who came together to produce the terrifying piece of art. We first meet George Hardy, a dentist from Alabama with no acting experience, who was given the lead role in Troll 2. I know whenever I visit my dentist, and he is going on and on about flossing and plaque, I totally zone out what he is saying and think to myself, “Why is this guy not starring in a buddy cop film with Mark Wahlberg?”
Hardy is absolutely beloved by the residents of the small town he lives in, most of whom have no idea about his glamorous past working on the set of Troll 2. Things change, however, when the movie starts to be treated with the respect it deserves. We learn that the film has inspired a cult-like following, with conventions being held and theatre showings of the film being sold out all around the world.
Hardy embraces his newfound fame, and begins jet setting around the globe, meeting his worshipping fans. Joining him for the ride is Michael Paul Stephenson, who starred in the film as a child, and is the director of this documentary. We also meet Claudio Fragasso, the director of Troll 2, who spoke very little English at the time, resulting in some communication issues that some say plagued the film. I say they made it better. Last but not least, we are also introduced to Don Packard, who filmed his scenes for Troll 2 while he was on a day pass from the insane asylum where he was being treated for schizophrenia.
After a while in the spotlight, Hardy begins to yearn for the simple life he used to enjoy. While sitting at a vendor table at a horror convention in England, Hardy, disturbed by the clientele remarks, “There’s a lot of gingivitis in this room.” I’m sure other big name actors like George Clooney are envious of Hardy. I’m sure Clooney would love to be able to give up the long hours on the set, and long nights bedding starlets for the opportunity to scrub the coffee stains out of people’s teeth.
Troll 2 deserves to be revered the way that other films such as The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars and The Godfather are. Hopefully this documentary will go a long way to making that goal a realization. I don’t quite get the title Best Worst Movie, clearly that is a typo and should have been caught somewhere along the way. Fortunately the film itself features much greater attention to detail. Best Worst Movie is a terrific film that will have your squirming one moment, and laughing uncon-troll-ably the next.