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Troll / Troll 2: Double Feature

As John Waters has noted, there is a difference between "good" bad taste and "bad" bad taste. For some that distinction is too fine, but for those with the right spirit (or spirits, as the case may be), there is much to be enjoyed from transcendently awful cinema. Troll 2 (1990) is such a film, and is the main reason to buy MGM's double-feature set. It follows a young boy named Joshua (Michael Stephenson), whose grandfather Seth (Robert Ormsby) keeps giving him advice about goblins — but in visions, since Seth's been deceased for a couple of weeks. To recover from this tragedy, Josh's family decides to take a month-long vacation in the small town of Nilbog. Well, it doesn't take a Princeton Ph.D. to realize that Nilbog spelled backwards is goblin, but Josh's family seems blissfully ignorant of it while Joshua consorts with his dead Grandpa for guidance to help keep his family from eating the goblin's food which will — in turn — turn them into goblin food. From the fact that a movie called Troll 2 includes no actual trolls, one can guess that we're in for something truly hideous and hilarious. Made by Italians (the film was directed by Joe D'Amato and Claudio Fragasso under the nom de guerre Drago Floyd) the acting in this could not conceivably be worse; one would have to search the annals of film history to find shoddier performances than the ones given by Joshua's parents Michael (George Hardy) and Diana (Margo Prey). Troll 2 gives the sense that this was never meant for American audiences — that seems the only explanation for why Diana asks Joshua to sing a song she likes, only for that song to turn out to be "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." There are literally so many moments of bad goodness in the picture that virtually any ten minutes has a "Huh?"-inspiring gem, but for a favorite this critic has always had a soft spot for what he likes to call the "third Goblin on the left" — one of the goblins has an inarticulate mask that looks sort of like Edvard Munch's "Scream" cribbed by a ten-year-old child. The first Troll (1986) also is included and stars Michael Moriarty as Harry Potter. His family moves into a apartment complex where a troll is plotting to take over the world by possessing Harry's daughter. Only Harry Potter Jr. (Noah Hathaway) might be able to stop it, with the help of good witch Eunice St. Clair (June Lockhart). The movie features a more recognizable cast (including Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Sonny Bono, and Shelly Hack), but it is simply mediocre. MGM presents both Troll and Troll 2 in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) with the first film in Dolby 2.0 Surround and the sequel in monaural DD 2.0. Trailers, keep-case.

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