From the moment we started the Bristol Bad Film Club, we have been besieged with people going “Oh, you’ve got to show Troll 2“, but how did this film that famously scored 00% on Rotten Tomatoes become such a cult phenomena?
The story of Troll 2 has become legend to its legions of fans. In 1989, a bunch of first time actors were hired to make a film written and directed by a man who spoke no English. No one knew what they were doing and it shows.
“I was just having fun. I just thought, ‘What the heck, I’ll be in a movie for the experience of it. I probably will never get another experience like this again,'” says George Hardy, who is now a dentist in Alabama and who starts as Michael in the film. “We were just trying to make a good movie.”
They failed spectacularly.
Not only does the film have nothing to do with 1986’s Troll (the ‘2’ was added to cynically cash in on its success), but there’s not a single troll in the movie. Instead, it’s about a little boy, Joshua Waits, who is terrorised by vegetarian goblins who want to turn his family into plants and eat them.
“I thought that I was going to be a movie star. I thought that this was the next Gremlins or the next Labyrinth,” said Michael Paul Stephenson, who played Joshua Waits. “We put the VHS in and we all sat around the TV, and seven seconds in, my dad’s jaw dropped and he said, ‘Oh, Michael, this is a terrible movie.'”
However two decades later, the fact that it is SO bad has made it a fan favourite with people putting on special screenings all around the world to sold-out audiences.
“The biggest reason Troll 2 has become this phenomenon is that it’s sincere. It’s a sincere failure that haunts us,” Stephenson said. “With Troll 2, we thought we were making a great horror film, and that’s what causes people to smile and to laugh.”
Stephenson wanted to find out what happened to the people behind Troll 2 so he made a documentary, Best Worst Movie about the movie’s renaissance.
Unlike Troll 2 though, Best Worst Movie has received critical acclaim and turned George Hardy into a kind of cult celebrity.
It’s got such a following that word is that Troll 2: Part 2 is in development, giving the actors another chance at becoming a household names.