Monday, 10 October 2011

Best Worst Movie Review

Fig 1


Michael Stephenson, the star behind Troll 2, embarks on a journey to explore a cult following for the low-budget horror film he starred in, meeting the cast members he worked with and meeting the audiences that love it. Brandished the Worst Movie in History the camera follows the story of a Dentist turned into a cult icon, the other cast members who have tried to make it in the business, and the director who is in denial of the critics reviews and believes he has made a touching film about the unity of a family in troubling times.

Fig 2

Unfortunately not all films can be good. Films are watched as a means of escaping reality, being brought into a different world and exploring it with the characters involved. However when things aren't how they should such as poor acting, poor direction or just plain rubbish storytelling we as an audience are pulled out from this experience and are just left wondering what we are being subjected to. The film that this documentary is about is Troll 2 and is considered to be the Worst Movie in History where amateur actors were led confusingly by an Italian speaking director to create a movie which is somehow selling out in theatres everywhere. The use of the word 'cult' in describing a film categorises it as being a weird film, a film discarded from the mainstream and in light of this gathers a strong following behind it. '...it's easy to see that the term "cult film" ..is very often abused, by fans, reviewers and film historians alike. Movies like The Excorcist, jaws and even recent box office hits like The Ring are often thoughtlessly labeled as "cult favourites" ...None of the three movies can be called cult, though, because they are all readily available. Even viewers not particularly interested in the horror genre are usually familiar with them...' (Paszylk, 2007:2). Cult is considered to be a genre within a genre where audiences watch popular examples of a certain genre but delve deeper and find things much stranger. In this case Troll 2 is a horror film however due to its obscure content such as catchphrases and memorable moments it has become a "cult film" because of its unfamiliarity.

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The documentary sees Michael Stephenson reuniting himself with all of the cast and director and writer of Troll 2 giving their accounts on how Troll 2 impacted their lives (In most cases negatively). Stephenson and his on screen father George Hardy attend the first public screening of the film in New York where it becomes a sell-out and people within the theatre loved it. Both Hardy and Stephenson were amazed that the audience could find something that they believed to have ruined any chances of becoming serious actors to be something that could be cherished. When the audience are introduced to the director Fragasso, he is confused by the interest in his film and misunderstands the audience love for the film. The audience love Troll 2 because it's a terrible movie the audience love it for being "so bad it's good" which obviously Fragasso didn't intend, he believed in the film and genuinely thought that the story was focused on the idea of family unity, about coming together and beating something. In order to understand the cult hype of the film, we need to understand the in-group value of Troll 2. 'The cultists who rescue films like Showgirls and Donnie Darko get some of the pleasure they find in these texts from the practice of salvaging mainstream deritus, from recognising value in texts that the majority of critics or viewers did not care about enough or that the cultists believe the maindstream would not "get".' (Newman, 2011:213) From watching Troll 2 you will understand the in-group society behind the film, understanding comedic standout sections which make the film memorable and worth talking about which is true behind any cult film.

The best worst movie is a heartwarming documentary as the cast who so long regretted their involvement in a terrible 90's horror film have been able to embrace it by understanding its value to audiences around the world. They have become cult icons who have made a better impact than they thought on many lives with their poor directions, script, acting and a nonsensical plot. 

'Troll 2 is not one of those films that set out to be so bad it's good. Everybody tried to succeed and we failed miserably. There's a brilliance in that. I have a lot of respect for Claudio. He made Troll 2 with all his heart. The worst thing you can do is to fail to entertain and he does far from that.' (Stephenson, 2009)

References -

Text -
Newman, Michael Z. (2011) Indie: An American Film Culture accessed 10/10/2011

Paszylk, Bartlomieij (2007) The Pleasure and Pain of Cult Horror Films: A Historical Survey, accessed 9 /10/2011

Stephenson, Michael (2009) - quote from Jones, Alice (2009) Goblins, a dentist and the worst movie ever. Independent [London, England] 30 Oct. 2009: 4. Newspapers Database. Web. 9 Oct. 2011.

Images-
Fig 1 - http://gordonandthewhale.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Best-Worst-Movie-Contest.png
Fig 2 - http://filmmakermagazine.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/troll-2-michael.jpg
Fig 3 - http://dvdmedia.ign.com/dvd/image/article/113/1135213/best-worst-movie-20101117033910429_640w.jpg

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