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- BEST WORST MOVIE (DVD MOVIE)
In 1989, a group of unknown Utah actors starred in what would be crowned the worst movie of all time: Troll 2. Now, after two decades of running from this cinematic disaster, the cast can no longer hide from the legion of followers who celebrate them for their ineptitude.
BEST WORST MOVIE, directed by Troll 2′s once-disgraced child star, Michael Paul Stephenson, unravels the stories of these unforgettable real-life characters and the colorful army of devotees who continue to revel in the film’s perfectly flawed brilliance. At the center of this celebrated documentary is the improbable story of a small-town Alabama dentist-turned-cult-movie-icon, and an Italian filmmaker who comes to terms (or doesn’t) with his internationally revered cinematic failure.
BEST WORST MOVIE is an affectionate and intoxicatingly fun tribute to the single greatest bad movie ever made and the people responsible for unleashing it on the world. The result is a hilarious and tender offbeat journey that pays homage to lovers of bad movies and the people who make them, while investigating a deeper story about the strange nature of celebrity, the catharsis of redemption and the humanity that exists in making even the worst movie ever made.
Sometimes the past can come back to haunt you. In 1989, budding child actor Michael Paul Stephenson got a leading role in a movie. Unfortunately, that movie was Troll 2, an ultra-low-budget filmed-in-three-weeks-in-Utah schlocker that went direct to video. Nearly two decades later, thanks in part to broadcasts on HBO, Troll 2 developed a maniacal cult following that continues to pack theaters across the country for midnight screenings. Who were these people? Why had they embraced this particular bad movie? And what impact did the film’s newfound cult status have on the people who made it, some of whom do not include it on their r茅sum茅s? “This is my movie about that movie,” Stephenson states, and it is by turns an affectionate, funny, and heartrending exploration of the Troll 2 phenomenon. Stephenson wisely focuses on George Hardy, the film’s “star” and most prominent goodwill ambassador. The glad-handing Hardy is now a well-liked dentist in a small Alabama town. His life is upended when he begins to be recognized (“Stop watching right now,” he urges a friend who calls mid-broadcast, “It only gets worse”) and he hits the road to join his reunited cast members to reminisce, re-create the film’s most ludicrous scenes, and meet and greet wildly enthusiastic fans. Best Worst Movie takes an unexpectedly poignant turn during a visit with Margo Prey, who portrays the mother in the film, and now lives reclusively and cannot bring herself to take part in Troll 2-mania. More cringe-worthy is the film’s Italian director, who insists his is an important film (his wife, who wrote it, calls it “a ferocious analysis of today’s society”) and begins to resent the audiences’ mocking laughter. As one genre buff observes, his sincerity may be why Troll 2 lives on. “Like Ed Wood,” he says, “These people believed in what they were making.” –Donald Liebenson