Title: Best Worst Movie
Directed by: Michael Stephenson
Starring: George Hardy, Michael Stephenson and Darren Ewing
Horrific acting, an awful script, confusing plot twists and bad cinematography are just some of the reasons why movies flop at the box office and receive negative reviews from critics. But when all of these things are combined in one film, as is the case with the 1990 horror release ‘Troll 2,’ the project rightfully becomes known as the worst movie ever made. To celebrate the failed film’s 20th anniversary and detail how it continues to affect all of its actors today, ‘Troll 2’s child star, Michael Stephenson, directed the new documentary ‘Best Worst Movie.’
Stephenson also aimed to explain why ‘Troll 2’ garnered, and continues to maintain, its cult classic status, with ‘Best Worst Movie.’ The director spoke with several of ‘Troll 2’s stars, including Jason Steadman (who portrayed Drew), Connie Young (who played Holly Waits) and Darren Ewing (who portrayed Arnold), about their experiences filming, and what their careers have been like since the movie was released. But the documentary mainly focused on George Hardy’s life since he appeared as Michael Waits, the father of Stephenson’s character, Joshua.
‘Best Worst Movie’ focuses on Hardy’s life as a dentist in Alabama. But he also continues to travel across the U.S. to appear at conventions and screenings for ‘Troll 2.’ While he’s touched that people are still responding so enthusiastically about the film, he doesn’t understand why they are still obsessed with it.
The documentary also follows ‘Troll 2’s director, Claudio Fragasso, as he questions why American critics and audiences dismissed the film when it was first released. He hails from Italy and had difficulty speaking English while filming the movie in Utah in 1989. However, he still maintains that he thinks there’s nothing wrong with the script, which was written by his wife, Rossella Drudi.
With ‘Best Worst Movie,’ Stephenson achieved his goal of wanting to showcase what life has been like for the actor’s since ‘Troll 2’s release, particularly Hardy. Viewers will connect with Hardy, as he was praised by his neighbors, co-workers and family in Alexander City. For example, his mother, Mary Ann, described him as being the “kindest, most fun person to be around,” while Alexander City Mayor Barbara H. Young said he genuinely likes people.
However, Stephenson should have included more details on the lives of some of the other actors from the movie, including Young, Steadman and Ewing, instead of focusing on so many of the ‘Troll 2’ conventions. While it’s interesting to see what the film’s audiences in cities across America, including New York, L.A., San Francisco, Boston and Chicago, are still saying about it, viewers of the documentary don’t get to connect as much with the movie’s other actors. Like what Stephenson did with Hardy, ‘Troll 2’ fans would most likely want to see what happened to the film’s other stars.
While many of the actors have embraced the fact that ‘Troll 2’ is a terrible movie, and were somewhat embarrassed when it was released, it’s hard to believe that Fragasso still defends it, thinking it’s a great film. While it’s understandable that Drudi and he had difficulty crafting the script and working in Utah, as English is their second language, and admirable that he doesn’t make movies just to be praised, it’s still easy to question why he doesn’t accept the fact that ‘Troll 2’ isn’t the greatest film ever made.
Overall, ‘Best Worst Movie’ achieved its goal of showing how ‘Troll 2’ achieved its cult classic status. As Blair Sterrett, the founder of Lost Media Archive in Salt Lake City, said in the documentary, “Every bad movie wants to be this (‘Troll 2’) movie,” since its actors and fans alike embraced the fact that it’s terrible. While ‘Best Worst Movie’ is a well-crafted telling of the cult status of ‘Troll 2,’ overall, the documentary is really aimed for avid fans of the “worst movie ever made.”
Written by: Karen Benardello