BEST WORST MOVIE
Director: Michael Paul Stephenson
Starring: George Hardy, Claudio Fragasso, Michael Stephenson, Margo Prey
At first I thought I was watching the wrong documentary. I thought I had my first Netflix mishap. The documentary starts out by following a day in the life of a local dentist who seems to love his job and everyone in town loves him. Low and behold, George Hardy starred in a small budget horror flick called, Troll 2 before he was a dentist. It has become known as one of the worst movies ever. Word slowly gets out that George was one of the stars of the film. Director Michael Paul Stephenson appeared inTroll 2 when he was a child actor and now traces the origins of the movie and checks in with numerous actors that appeared in it.
The movie never had a theatrical release so the stars finally started seeing the film as it aired on HBO and when it was released on VHS. Many of the actors started to distance themselves from the film and acting after it was released. Apparently, it was not something you would want on your resume as it may kill your potential at another acting gig. Whenever movies are this terrible, they gain cult status. There are midnight screenings and the VHS and DVD get put in the “Holy Fucking Shit” category at the local video store. The film may get 0% on the Rotten Tomatoes meter and rank ultra low on IMDB, but people really love it. After the fan base started growing and growing, some of the actors came to have a new appreciation for the film. George Hardy seems to have the most fun with his new found fan base. He attends numerous screenings across the country, gives autographs, takes pictures with the groupies, and completely embraces his past. One of the best interviews comes with the director of Troll 2, Claudio Fragasso. You get the idea that he is very appreciative of the love people have of the movie, but does not appreciate that it is known as one of the worst movies ever. He still believes it to be a good picture.
This is a pretty well-rounded documentary. It not only traces the ecstatic fan base but also goes into the filming of the movie and some of the troubles they encountered. Stephenson and Hardy go on a mission to find all of the principal actors to catch up on what they are up to and what memories they have of the filming process. Some of them do not have the same appreciation that they do and have a hard time dealing with the new spotlight on their lives. I find it a bit strange that they often reenact parts of the film for each other. I am even more surprised they still remember all of their lines. I tend to forget a script about a month after we close a show. Hardy and Stephenson take Troll 2 to a few horror and sci-fi conventions to receive a surprising reaction that they did not expect.
When you think about terrible movies, you think about movies that are just stupid and awful and then you think about movies that are sooooo bad that they end up being so much fun to watch making you actually enjoy them. Earlier this year, I wrote an article about the worst movies ever. You can find that piece “here”. What would midnight movies be without some of these cult films? Some of these films have had a huge impact on the film industry just as much as the cinematic classics. I would love to see more documentaries about terrible movies to dive deep into these gems. As an actor, I want to see how other actors respond to their early work and their performances. Some truly embrace it and others, like Faye Dunaway, refuse to discuss them. Apparently, she has clauses and strict rules that she will NEVER discuss Mommie Dearest.
There is no need for you to see Troll 2 before watching this documentary. It is solely an homage to a cult classic and knows the quality of Troll 2. It does not try to find any hidden meaning to it, like say Room 237, nor does it try to claim it is good quality cinema. I think actress Margo Prey and director Claudio Fragasso are the only ones who think that way. This film is made for the fans and to reach out to a new audience that has never seen it. I am embarrassed to say that I have not seen this cinematic gem yet. There are enough clips shown throughout to get an understanding of just how terrible the movie turned out. If you have seen Troll 2 or have an appreciation for bad cinema, you will get a kick out of Best Worst Movie.
“Wow. This is great. It was a simple elegant down to earth, real, natural, actor actor movie…You compare our movie to a Katherine Hepburn/Humphrey Bogart movie, it fits in because our movie is all about people and the experiences those people were experiencing.”—Troll 2actress Margo Prey after watching the film.
RATING: **** (4 out of 5 stars)