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NUM-INOUS COMICS PT. 2

This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TROLL PLAYING

Troll2 is a fable for children a crazy horror, much comic. The film did not have to be prohibited, nothing censorship, therefore nothing blood that I have replaced with the chlorophyll, using the green color of the goblin, North European Celtic legend, like monster vegetarians many fanatics us of the salutista, macrobiotico food. I have used the goblin like vampiri, using the amburger (tipical american food) of meat to [sic] the place dell' Saint water...-- a poster signed on as TROLL 2 writer Rossella Drudi on this review comments-thread.


My most recent cinematic viewing was a double feature consisting of TROLL 2, a recent claimant to the title of "best worst movie," and BEST WORST MOVIE, a documentary about the making of this 1990 cultfilm and its slow word-of-mouth revival over the ensuing 20 years.

Written and directed by Michael Stephenson, who as a child starred in TROLL 2, BEST WORST MOVIE is an enjoyable documentary whose most interesting subtext involves showing how easy it is for one person's enthusiasm to become another person's "move away slowly from the creepy guy" vibe. BWM (as I'll abbreviate it here) is as full of oddball viewpoints as Zwigoff's CRUMB, not least the TROLL 2 scripter Drudi, quoted above. (Of course I can't be sure that a poster on a review-site is the real Rossella Drudi, but nothing this poster says contradicts the words of the Drudi of the documentary.) There she justifies her notion of cannibalistic vegetarian trolls (actually called "goblins" in the film proper) by noting that at the time the film was scripted she had a serious mad-on against vegetarianism. True, in the doc Drudi doesn't mention having modeled her goblins on vampires, but it's pretty obvious: the scene in which Stephenson's kid-character drives away the goblins by brandishing a "double decker baloney sandwich" is an obvious parody of a familiar vampire trope. Even here, though, it's amusing that the poster confuses two different vampiric banes: the "amburger" is being used in place of a cross, not "Saint water" (holy water, one presumes).

Drudi's husband Claudio Fragasso directed the film and appears in BWM as well, and he doesn't seem to agree that the film was meant to be "much comic," becoming visibly testy whenever he realizes that the audiences aren't just laughing at the things he meant to be funny, but at pretty much everything in the film. But bruised egos aside, the question must be asked-- does TROLL 2 deserve the title of "best worst movie?"

The short answer for me is no, for I can think of many, many other bad movies which I liked more. I do appreciate the lunacy of TROLL 2, but watching it in the theater proved more of an endurance test than (say) my experience watching a revival of Jack Hill's dynamic SWITCHBLADE SISTERS (1975).

Still, TROLL 2 can't help but be a contender for my list of, say, the top 20 badfilms. Part of the flick's appeal falls into the same Burnsian "to see ourselves as others see us" mentality that comes across in the documentary, for all through TROLL 2 the characters-- most of whom were played by amateur American thespians-- speak what may be the most amazing English patois ever devised for a professional film. This was a consequence of the fact that the film was being shot in Utah by an Italian crew that barely spoke English, and though director Fragasso claims in BWM that during the shooting he became "more American than the Americans," a big part of TROLL 2's appeal is seeing cornfed Utah residents spout weird, hyperbolic dialogue. A minor line that might sound perfectly ordinary in conversational Italian, such as Stevenson's line to his sibling-- "You're a genius, big sister!"-- becomes horrendously over-the-top and laughworthy coming from the Utah-born actor. In a dubbed Italian movie, one is always aware that the English dialogue is coming from Italian actors, and so one doesn't necessarily laugh at the weirder verbal sallies. But in TROLL 2, the disconnnect is a constant source of fun.

And so the disjunction between two modes of speech is at least one big facet of TROLL 2's burgeoning appeal.

However, it's not the only one, and I'll address yet another facet of the film's popularity in Part 2 of TROLL PLAYING.

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