Whilst neither a sequel nor a movie about Trolls, Troll 2 is a love letter to vegetarians written in all caps and hastily scrawled on the walls of a padded cell in a substance that is certainly not ink, composed entirely of expletives and generously peppered with angry clusters of exclamation points. It’s a shit whirlwind of ghosts, goblins, contradictory plot holes and acting so wooden you’ll be expecting the blue fairy to show up at any moment. Hopefully with a flamethrower.
TROLL 2 (1990)
Genre: Fantasy/ Horror
Director: Claudio Fragasso
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We open on a wholesome scene of family goodness with good ol’ Grandpa Seth reading his grandson Josh a terrifying tale of goblins that feed their victims green goo to turn them into plants so that they can eat them. Forgoing the obvious flaw in this chain of logic and failing to question why the goblins don’t just quit the laborious task of hunting down humans to turn into chlorophyll crammed snacks and chow down on a bit of shrubbery instead, Josh takes it upon himself to reprimand the old coot on the correct usage of tense and pretty much gets told to shove it up his arse because hey, goblins are real you pedantic little douche.
The warm fuzzy family time is abruptly brought to an end when Josh’s mum bursts into the room with no consideration for the nocturnal activities of little boys on the cusp of puberty, which in her son’s case involves story time with his dead grandpa. That’s right – Seth’s been pushing up the daisies for 6 months and upon discovering that Josh is a budding necromancer now plagued with anxiety about the existence of goblins, she heads downstairs to talk to her husband. About goblins. Because that’s her biggest concern in this scenario.
Her husband Michael couldn’t give a toss, as he prattles on about their impending house swap holiday to the town of Nilbog, where they’ll spend a relaxing time living as peasants and farmers like their ancestors of yore, because as we all know, they were having great fun toiling away at back-breaking manual labour. Meanwhile, their daughter Holly is fending off her closet case boyfriend/ stalker who we rarely see without his entourage of equally nerdy chums in tow.
Realising that the rapey approach isn’t being as well received as he’d expected, Elliot begs to tag along on the vacation as the doting boyfriend but succumbs to the lures of homoerotic friendships and instead he and his comrades board the sausage mobile and head to Nilbog together to meet Holly there. That’s the last he’ll see of them as once they arrive in town he promptly loses all of his friends in a series of goblin related incidents – all of which could’ve been prevented had they half a brain between them.
The family Waits meanwhile have an uneventful trip to their new home – aside from Josh’s nightmarish vision about turning into a gloopy green plant and grandpa Seth temporarily possessing a roadside hobo to warn him to turn back before it’s too late, but choosing to commune with a small boy from beyond the grave in an attempt to save his daughter and grandchildren wasn’t the best plan in the world as everyone just thinks he’s having a mental episode and putting a pin in that little hot potato, they continue on to Nilbog.
When they finally make it their vacation home, the creepy goblin family disguised as leprous humans have left a lacklustre feast of jugs of luminous liquid and fairly unexceptional food smothered in an inedible looking gelatinous green paste. Joshua is the only one slightly suspicious about eating something that resembles nuclear waste and wouldn’t ya just know it, grampy Seth pops up outside the screen door (because ghosts are now constrained by physics and social niceties) and tells Josh that if they eat any of the weird green shit, they’ll turn into plants and be eaten by the goblins. Always ready to provide the bare minimum of help, he uses his new time-stopping ability to give Josh a mere 30 seconds to find a way to stop his family from eating the food and the little guy does what he can with the means at his disposal…
Josh is now tasked with convincing his entire family that Nilbog is the kingdom of the goblins (the first clue is in the name) and that they need to leave pronto. To that end he sneaks into the town church during a sermon that basically involves the preacher telling his congregation how filthy humans are for eating meat and illustrating his point by listing ailments that aren’t actually meat-eating induced and largely fictitious, like the well-known smelly bladder syndrome for instance. Being the little plonker that he is, Josh manages to alert them to his presence and is quickly restrained while they try to feed him tainted Nilbog ice cream, but luckily his dad shows up and while wild accusations of the town’s residents begin goblins may not fly, a bunch of slavering adults pawing at his young son is enough to persuade him that something’s definitely up. Oh wait, it isn’t! They get back to the house to find everyone from the church keeping Mama Waits company and a table laden with green goblin food and that seems to be just fine with everyone.
Until Joshua and Seth set the preacher alight and as the flames are doused, his corpse is revealed to be – shock, horror – a goblin! The townsfolk are getting just about as sick of this family of simpletons as we are by now and tell them that they’re going to be killed yet make no move to pursue them into the house, preferring to wait until nightfall to pelt the house with lovely vegetarian goblin sandwiches and demanding that they eat them.
When this brilliant plan fails, the whole town – reduced to a mere handful in number as the budget could seemingly only stretch to 10 goblin masks – break into the house and awkwardly chase the family around until they’re called away by their Rocky Horror Show wannabe mistress who’s had her hand lopped off by Josh as a result of yet another new magical ability bestowed upon the various supernatural characters in the film.
Grandpa Seth couldn’t be more popular after that little snafu and they immediately hold a séance to get his advice on how the hell to get out of this jam. We now discover the existence of a magic stone that will destroy the goblins if touched by someone filled with power of good. This apparently translates as ‘anyone who isn’t a goblin’ and so they set out to cull the dwindling number of denizens even further armed with the bane of the goblins –a double baloney sandwich.
Will the preachy goblins’ unfounded campaign against meat come to fruition? Will Josh and his insipid family succeed in slaughtering the goblins and their queen? Will grampy Seth ever get his shit together and actually use his ghost powers in any useful, meaningful way? Or was he just full of it all along? Find out in Troll 2.
We dare you to buy Troll 2 on blu-ray!
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Previously in Poison Popcorn: 8 Reasons Why Chinese Superman is Better Than the Original. See previous Poison Popcorns right fucking here!