SPECIAL ATTRACTION: Troll 2 (1990)
Think about this for a second. Most horror films, at least back when horror films mattered, came with a moral to smooth out the violence. Sleepaway Camp, for example, would have you not bullying people because of their looks, Friday the 13th warns against the dangers of child negligence by insinuating that the child you let drown today could be the undead, machete-wielding manbaby of tomorrow, and A Nightmare on Elm Street is as anti-vigilante as the Gotham City Police Department around quarterly evaluations. Not that there are a ton of horror films made about 1) the environment or 2) the horrors of eating meat (maybe the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and other cannibal-centric films), but Troll 2 nevertheless makes its stand on the issue: Meat good. Veggies bad.
The story, for those of you unfamiliar with Troll 2′s haphazard near-brilliance, is this: Two families, one from the city and one from the middle of nowhere, agree to swap houses so they can experience each other’s life. The youngest of the city folk can speak to his recently deceased grandfather, and like guests of Lando Calrissian, the pair have a bad feeling about rural hospitality. They arrive to a giant banquet, cooked up by the slack-jawed, grumbly locals, only for the grandfather and the little boy to deduce that the food, if eaten, will turn the eater into a tree, trees being the chief sustenance of
So the little boy is tasked with saving his family from the “delicious” looking food, which is a weird variety of cakes and porridges and other assorted green things. Meanwhile, on the other side of the town of Nilbog (one of the great horror movie town names), an RV of horny teens unaware of the situation are waiting to be made into plant food. They’re easily seduced by a witch, who offers them food and sex, pretty much at the same time.
The truth of the matter is that there’s a pretty decent movie lurking behind Troll 2′s low budget awfulness, and this is the kind of movie that hypothetically begs to be remade: There are enough fans of Troll 2 who’d see a remake that a (small) audience is built in, and the people who come to it blind might go off and watch the original on Netflix, where they’d pretty much get trolled. If Fright Night and every other horror movie ever made can get the remake treatment, I don’t see why, in 2013 or so, I can’t go to a movie theatre and expect a father to ground his son for literally pissing on hospitality.
“Gross!” the little boy would say. “I hate corn!”
“Aww,” his father responds, “it’s not that bad. Corn is good for you!”
Meanwhile, in the RV, the witch and the horndog are making popcorn (woe to the screenwriter who leaves that scene out), and the goblins of Nilbog gather around their giant campfire to make a roasted ear of human/corn. Heck, I’m getting shivers just picturing the kid breaking into the witches house, pealing back the leaf and revealing a desiccated, unnaturally yellow teenager. Hospitality’s not the only thing he’ll be pissing on.
As for the reason I’d play this in my hypothetical rep theatre, just check out the above clip: Troll 2 has everything I want from a bad movie–poor acting, unintentionally great lines and a ridiculous plot. Oh sure, people would come just to laugh at Troll 2, and that’s fine. But Troll 2, in its way, is laughing at them: eating popcorn, drinking soda, sex-obsessed and sedentary. That’s just how the goblins want you.
Paul Arrand Rodgers
Paul Arrand Rodgers has this blog, and that's about it.