Troll 2: The 20th Anniversary Nilbog Edition (Blu-ray Combo Pack)
Directed by Drago Floyd
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 95 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Dolby Digital 2.0 mono English
Subtitles: SDH, Spanish, French
MSRP: $ 19.99
Release Date: October 5, 2010
Review Date: October 13, 2010
Let me see if I’ve got this straight. Neither Citizen Kane, Singin’ in the Rain, nor Lawrence of Arabia has yet to make it to Blu-ray. MGM holds the rights to thousands of films including such masterworks as Witness for the Prosecution, West Side Story, and The Miracle Worker, and what do we get for their latest high definition release: Troll 2! Isn’t it great when studios have their priorities in order? Troll 2, of course, is a fairly legendary film, one that consistently scores among the highest on every all-time worst films list. And yes, I’m aware that some viewers find garbage like this hip and fun in its utter badness. But frankly, life is too short to laugh at such ineptitude. The camp factor inherent in such terrible movies as Valley of the Dolls or Myra Breckinridge isn’t present here; Troll 2 is just bad. Glaringly bad. Excruciatingly bad. Infuriatingly bad. Even if this is the Halloween season, there is really no excuse for releasing this absurdly and incompetently plotted, amateurishly acted, and raggedly produced horror film. There are plenty of goodies in the MGM vaults that would be fine for this time of year: the 1959 The Hound of the Baskervilles anyone?
Young Joshua Waits (Michael Stephenson) is still grieving over the death of his beloved Grandpa Seth (Robert Ormsby) who used to read him stories about goblins in the woods who try to capture humans and turn them into vegetation before eating them. His father Michael (George Hardy) decides the family needs a getaway where they will leave the conveniences of the city behind and rough it in the wilderness for a week. Though sister Holly (Connie McFarland) doesn’t want to leave boy friend Elliott (Jason Wright) behind, she’s dragged along with the family despite her protests. Their objective is the small hamlet of Nilbog where a local family is going to trade lives with them for a week. Once there, however, things seem way off. Residents continually attempt to make the family partake of food and drink imbued with an icky green substance which will, as was the case in the grandfather’s stories, turn them all into vegetation. Yes, the town is under the control of the very goblins Grandpa Seth had warned Joshua about.
It’s hard to know where to begin describing the awfulness that is Troll 2. One sees quickly where the production budget for the film was spent: on tons and tons of green food coloring to make the creams, gelatins, and liquids which serve as the food, drink, and blood of these alien creatures. The screenplay is credited to Clyde Anderson and Sarah Asproon, but the story is all over the place inventing rules for its horror and magical mischief as the film proceeds. Continuity is a joke with high priestess Creedence Leonore Gielgud (Deborah Reed)’s look changing in each scene (she also seduces her prey with popcorn). The goblin costumes and make-up look as if a kindergarten class had a hand in their construction (and performance) while Drago Floyd (real name Claudio Fragasso)’s direction drags a ten minute story past the point of endurance for ninety-five unbearable minutes. There isn’t a frightening moment to be found anywhere, and production values down the line are shabby. Well, to be fair, there is one make-up effect when Holly’s friend Arnold (Darren Ewing) gets himself planted in a pot as he’s turning into a tree where the film’s special effects make-up artist has convincingly made it appear that a tree limb is growing out of his arm. That’s about it for the positives about this production.
There are two performances that wouldn’t find their way to the reject pile at a local community theater audition night: Michael Stephenson’s Joshua and Robert Ormsby’s Grandpa both have a naturalness and ease with their line readings that showcase some professional attributes. (Stephenson went on, of course, to make the documentary Best Worst Movie about this very film.) But the archly amateur work of many of the actors, especially Margo Prey’s mother, Deborah Reed’s Creedence, and Jason Wright’s Elliott, goes beyond terrible. It’s downright insufferable.
The film has been framed at 1.85:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. It may be a lousy film, but it’s a good transfer featuring excellent color saturation and accurate and appealing flesh tones (before all the green goo starts oozing down faces). Contrast is nicely handled giving the image a clarity and naturalness that it doesn’t deserve. The film has been divided into 16 chapters.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is basically the mono track (also provided in a lossy 2.0 Dolby Digital encode) with the music spread across the front and echoing a bit into the rear surrounds to add some depth to the sound design. There is no hiss, crackle, or pop on the track, but this is clearly a makeshift surround experience. Purists may want to stay with the mono track.
The film’s theatrical trailer runs 2 ¼ minutes and is presented in 1080p.
The second disc in the case is the DVD version of the movie.
1.5/5 (not an average)
Yes, Troll 2 is as terrible as its reputation suggests, and unlike such horrendous cult movies as Reefer Madness or Plan 9 from Outer Space, it isn’t even much fun. It’s horrible all right, but not in the way we want a horror movie to be. This is one to avoid.