Best Worst Movie (2009)
By: Devon B. on July 7, 2012  | 
Docuramafilms | All Regions, NTSC | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 93 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Michael Paul Stephenson
Starring: George Hardy, Claudio Fragasso, Michael Paul Stephenson
Country: USA
External Links
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When I was 12, my family had a friend in the video distribution business. She knew I liked horror films, and gave me a screener of a movie because none of the stores she visited were interested in purchasing it. The movie was Troll 2, and since I had an advance copy, I saw this movie before most people had the chance to. As it turns out, I even saw it before most of the cast and crew. My point is not that I'm super awesome because I got this movie early, but rather that I've had more time than most to reflect on Troll 2, and I've never liked it. I'm not part of the cult that holds the film in high regard as the "best worst movie" of all time. I've watched the movie at least three times, and even had a few years to develop a taste for bad cinema before my most recent viewing, but I just never found this one amusing. A lot of people clearly do, though, and Best Worst Movie is a documentary directed by Michael Paul Stephenson, one of the child stars of Troll 2, that examines the cult phenomena surrounding the film.

Best Worst Movie starts by introducing us to George Hardy, a small town dentist who everyone seems to think is a great guy. Also, he starred in Troll 2. After meeting Hardy there's some establishment of what the hell Troll 2 is, and the fan base that gradually found this justifiably obscure movie. Best Worst Movie interviews many of the key players from the film, some of whom have tried to keep their involvement secret, and also catches up with people that had smaller roles. Like Troll 2 itself, the funniest bits of this documentary come from the people that are trying to be serious. Troll 2's director Claudio Fragasso clearly thinks he's made a masterpiece, and while it's obvious we should all laugh at him for that, his megalomania does cause some uncomfortable moments in a documentary that would otherwise be a pure celebration of ridiculousness. There are other bits of Best Worst Movie that are uncomfortable, particularly around some cast members that are clearly suffering from mental illnesses, but these moments are just sad, whereas Fragasso's tantrums are off putting and made me feel sorry for everyone that worked with him on Troll 2. The man is so uptight that he gets upset when people flub silly recreations of scenes from the film, and is confused that people don't take his movie seriously. His confusion is at least partially down to a language barrier, but he also seems like a right dickhead.

While it handles its more serious elements well, where Best Worst Movie shines is in its gleeful rejoicing in Troll 2's awfulness. Stephenson himself hated Troll 2 on first viewing, and while his coming to terms with the travesty of his childhood is integral to Best Worst Movie, the documentary is really about Hardy. Hardy is a very likeable, personable guy, and he carries this movie far better than he did Troll 2, and the viewer gets to go along on his journey from being a guy who was in a bad movie, to being a cult celebrity, to his eventual disillusionment with the hoopla.

One thing that does come up in Best Worst Movie is that horror fans don't really seem to be part of the film's followers, and Hardy even has a few digs at horror fans he's met at conventions. The type of person who would discover Troll 2 is discussed, but it seems horror fans are somewhat immune to its "charms." I can only comment from my experience, but I'd say I disagree with the fans on the rather important point that Troll 2 is the worst movie ever. The worst movie ever is unquestionably Model Killer. And I'm just talking things actually shot on film here, because there's a ton of crap that was shot on video that makes Troll 2 look like The Godfather 2. I'm willing to admit that Troll 2 is bad, but for the best of entertainingly bad I would back the original Breeders or Out of Reach way before Troll 2. One interviewee in Best Worst Movie actually clarifies that Troll 2 is not so much awful as just awfully odd, and it does seem it's the oddity of it that captures its fans imaginations.

Best Worst Movie is a well constructed, entertaining film that will delight Troll 2's crazy fanatics. I really liked it and I'm a Troll 2 dissenter, so I can only imagine how great someone who likes Troll 2 will think it is.
Best Worst Movie doesn't look bad, but sometimes the edges of people and objects can get a bit jagged. I didn't notice this problem in clips from Troll 2, so it might be more to do with the cameras used to shoot the documentary than a fault of the transfer.
Audio comes in 5.1 or 2.0 mixes, but I found the 5.1 unnecessary. The 2.0 was louder and clearer, and I ended up watching the movie with that mix on. There is some occasional distortion, but again that would be on the source material.
Extra Features

The best extra is a nice collection of deleted scenes which include interviews with people that didn't make it into the documentary. I'd say all of this footage was cut for pacing reasons, as everything in here was of good quality. Also included is a segment from the Reel Good Show which has a funny song about Hardy and brings up another contender for Troll 2's best worst movie crown: The Room. There're also two video clips by fans of Troll 2, some fan made stuff, and a bio for Stephenson. The Creative Screenwriting Q & A podcast is included as well, but this is naturally an audio only feature. Lastly on the disc are the doco's trailer and trailers for Air Guitar Nation, A Crude Awakening, Don't Look Back Now and Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.

The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Even at 12 I knew Troll 2 was a terrible follow up to a low quality film, and the clips from Best Worst Movie didn't make me want to revisit it again. I might not accept Troll 2 as the "best worst movie" ever, but Best Worst Movie is far better than a documentary about Troll 2 has any right to be.

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