Film review: 'Best Worst Movie' not great but mostly good fun

Published: Thursday, May 27 2010 12:00 a.m. MDT

Michael Paul Stephenson stars in Michael Paul Stephenson stars in "Troll 2," a scene featured in the documentary film "Best Worst Movie." (Magic Stone Productions)

BEST WORST MOVIE — ★★★ — Documentary feature about the 1990 film "Troll 2"; not rated, probable R (violence, gore, profanity, drugs, vulgarity, slurs); Tower

"Best Worst Movie" might not be the best movie ever made about a bad movie. But it's still a pretty good and pretty fun one.

It's a documentary feature about "Troll 2," the infamous 1990 horror film that is regarded by many as one of the worst movies ever — if not the very worst. (See the user ratings for the film on the Internet Movie Database, www.imdb.com for more information.)

Again, the documentary is not a great film. In terms of nonfiction filmmaking it's a little rough around the edges — there are moments when it cuts away too early, and other sequences run too long.

Yet when it's good it's very good. The interesting subject matter certainly helps.

In "Best Worst Movie," former-child-star-turned director Michael Paul Stephenson catches up with his former "Troll 2" co-stars. Much of the focus is on George Hardy, a dentist who played his father in the film.

While Hardy now has a thriving dental practice, he's touring the country for science-fiction and horror conventions, and special screening events for "Troll 2."

Stephenson also examines how and why a film that originally went straight to video could become a beloved cult hit — in the way that other, initially dismissed films such as "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and the body of work of Ed Wood have.

"Best Worse Movie" also looks at "Troll 2" fans who live across the globe. It has some fairly Utah-centric moments as well. Not only was "Troll 2" shot in or near both Park City and Heber, a lot of members of its cast and crew are and were Utahns, most of whom get their say here.

And one of the special "Troll 2" events was a 2007 showing at Salt Lake's Tower Theatre. (Ironically, or perhaps appropriately, this film will open at the Tower.)

The most telling moments in the film come when Hardy begins to realize his 15 minutes of "fame" are starting to run out, or when snooty "Troll 2" director Claudio Fragasso looks down his nose at critics and audiences who consider his work laughable.

But it's not all good fun or cheeky. A couple of Stephenson's co-stars have seen better days, which gives the film a slightly tragic feel.

"Best Worst Movie" is not rated but would probably receive an R for strong, sometimes disturbing violent content and imagery, mostly from "Troll 2" snippets (creature attacks and assorted mayhem), gory imagery (creature and other gore and goo), strong sexual language (profanity and other suggestive talk, including slang), drug content and references (food additives, sedatives and marijuana), other off-color and/or suggestive language and references, and derogatory language and slurs. Running time: 93 minutes.

e-mail: jeff@desnews.com

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