Film Rec: “Best Worst Movie” (2009)

Best Worst Movie film poster

To understand Best Worst Movie, you must first understand Troll 2, a low-budget horror film that does not feature any trolls and is not a sequel to the film Troll. As you might expect, Troll 2 was not a towering achievement of cinema. In fact, at one point it held the dubious distinction of being IMDB’s lowest-rated film. Best Worst Movie is a look at how the hell that happened.

Former child actor and Troll 2 star Michael Stephenson gets the cast and crew back together almost 20 years later to tour around the country attending screenings of the terrible movie and telling the curious tale of how it all came together, or rather, apart. Along the way, the documentary explores the movie’s emerging cult status and records how the filmmakers respond to their sudden (if ironic) notoriety. Reactions are, to say the least, mixed.

Three Reasons to Watch:

  • Bad Movie Hijinks: Any fan of bad movies is sure to enjoy this frank look at how one of these beauties is born. The story is as ludicrous as the original film’s plot, and no one’s feelings are spared in the postmortem. A few of the talking heads interviewed for the documentary also lovingly weigh in on what exactly draws us to these cinematic catastrophes.
  • The Real-Life Characters: Truth is stranger than fiction indeed. One of the most interesting aspects of the film is getting to know the cast and crew and hearing their stories. Some of the cast are charmingly mundane, but others seem like they walked off of a horror movie all their own. Especially fascinating is the cantankerous Italian schlockmeister who dreamed up the film and isn’t exactly sure why everyone is laughing.
  • The Movie Dad’s Journey: The real star of the documentary is George Hardy, the affable and outgoing small-town dentist who played the father. A lot of the doc’s run time is spent watching George as he discovers that he’s a bit of a celebrity in some obscure circles and gets drunk on the attention. Will he turn his back on mundane success in favor of horror conventions and kitsch merchandising? Watch and see!

Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You About:

  • Seeing Troll 2 First: While the film tells many interesting stories in its own right, so much of it rests on examining a separate work that it really doesn’t make much sense to watch it without having seen its subject. So fire up the streaming media and invite some witty friends over for a bad movie night, then find out the whole story later.
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