Thursday, December 8, 2011

Best Worst Movie (2009)

Nearly two decades ago Troll 2 graced the straight to DVD category with the distinction of being the worst movie ever made, but what disguised itself as shame was in truth a cult phenomenon, and as the documentary lets way it is almost as big as Rocky Horror. Now eighteen years later the kid star of the film Michael Stephenson dredges up the film's success and gives us and update on our favorite bad Utah actors. The real face of Best Worst Movie is George Hardy who plays the dad, Michael Waits in the bad film, then and now a dentist he's an outgoing lovable guy with a huge personality. Coming in as a supporting role is Claudio Fragasso, a true Italian director at heart, who's passion for film making is not fazed by the actors confusion or the critics hate. As the film intertwines the where are they now with the cult following that is growing annually, the mission is simple enough, 'What the fuck is Troll 2?'

This documentary is not necessarily horror but it tries to explain how a horror film could go so disarray. The actors commentary is enduring and unique as no two opinions are the same, all have a brief moment of reflection on their careers and life, even Hardy who discusses one night after the high of a showing that his true love was in acting, but for the instability in the field he never pursued further. As a general the teen stars of the film lump it into an embarrassment especially Connie Young who played the daughter, even going as far as removing it from her resume. Others like Jason Steadman know that it's awful but don't mind so much as their careers went in different directions. Then there's the darker side of the film with Margo Prey and Don Packard who both are suffering from a mental illness of some sort (the latter admit-tingly and the former allegedly). But as mentioned Fragasso and Hardy steal the screen, as Hardy embraces his cult icon status and Fragasso stands firm on his work, despite when asked questions like "Why is the film called Troll 2 when there are no trolls in the movie?" Fragasso and his wife who wrote the screenplay claim that Troll 2 is a social commentary, on the American family...and vegetarians.

The other side, the fans who've escalated the film from secretion for fifteen years to a true embodiment of an audience, makes for an glimpse into the world of cult. You see the midnight screenings played out with two hundred people lined up outside, the energetic reenactments by the cast members of the infamous scenes, and then interviews of fans who try to get down to what they love about the film. Collectively most agree that it's Fragasso's vision and passion that make it not a bad movie but rather a movie that just failed on an epic level.

Ultimately I'm eager to see more from the director who captures the spirit of Troll 2 rather well. Best Worst Movie, like the film it focuses on, has a lot of heart. It's amusing in some places and somber in others, particularly when Hardy and other cast members realize that the film doesn't belong at the horror conventions or the Sci-Fi ones, which unfortunately plays out in the later half of the film. However, just as you feel your about to end the movie on a bit of a buzz killer as Hardy seems to have worn on his cult status, Stephenson asks him, "If Claudio asked you to do Troll 3 would you do it?" and without hesitation Hardy replies "Of course, what are you talking about? Of course I would", and it brings you right back up. At the end Stephenson achieves an understanding of the success for Troll 2, it's not a film for the critics, and it's not even a film for the average movie goer, it's for the bad movie addicts and the people who stumble across it. Troll 2 is clearly a cult classic and the documentary accurately portrays that, defiantly worth a watch.

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