Troll 2 or The Room? Two of the Worst Films Ever Made?
There are so many terrible movies out there it's hard to list even half of them. Not only are there so many bad films, but many of them are not bad enough to be considered objectively horrid; they have good points to them such as editing, sound, acting (though a script usually helps determine this factor) and overall production. But every so often you come across a film that hits every wrong note possible, and because it's not intentional, it truly becomes the standard for all of bad cinema. The two films I've seen that help to truly set this standard for today's film industry have been Troll 2 and The Room. These two are the two worst films I've ever seen in my life and I've seen too many to completely recall. I've heard people disgrace films I've actually enjoyed, though maybe not adored, and make those sound terrible. Then there are terrible films that don't take themselves seriously, and the filmmakers in fact know they're bad, which can actually make them good, such as many B-movies, especially those of the 80s.
2003's The Room , by the infamous Tommy Wiseau, was a film Wiseau took seriously as a project. He wanted to create a disheartening drama that would explore the relationship between a man named Johnny trying to make do with life and his sociopath fiancée, as well as her affair with Johnny's best friend. What resulted was instead arguably the most unintentionally hilarious film to come out in the 21st century thus far. Wiseau failed in every account as a producer, director and main actor and comes across as a French wannabe “artiste” with the IQ of a five-year-old who's trying feebly to understand human relationships. Every line of dialogue is horrendously simple-minded and laughably delivered, each conflict and resolution for it is unbelievably childish in execution, and every actor involved virtually eradicated his or her future in one short swipe. Not that the film could have succeeded with its trite concept anyway, as most soap operas are more complex. Tommy Wiseau, on the movie's critical fail, later claimed that the film was a dark comedy in order to defend it. But the film doesn't work as that, either! There's nothing funny about the story and there's nothing funny about the situations, other than the fact that every aspect of the film is completed in the most tragically terrible way possible. You get awkward editing, including cutaways to San Francisco that aren't even transitional, often when no passage of time even happens (you see the same shot of the Golden Gate Bridge at least three times). You get awkward camera shots (who's ever seen a quick close-up pan between two actors before?) and you get the most idiotically written characters ever, the pinnacle of them being Denny, the strangest, most underwritten and most confusing eighteen-year-old in film you will ever see. A dark comedy takes intelligence to put together, and I'm convinced Wiseau doesn't understand the dynamics of male-female relationships, or even friendship , outside of the fact that men and women want to sleep with each other.
Tommy Wiseau is a miracle, not only for how horrible a director he is unintentionally, but also because of how he managed to get the two million dollars to fund his first film in the first place. I'd go so far as to say he's the worst prolific director in history, even surpassing Ed Wood, who smartly settled for porn, which in my opinion even Wiseau would suck at based on the drawn-out sex scenes in The Room utilizing some of the same shots in each of them.
I've seen interviews with Tommy Wiseau and it's eery how much like his Room character Johnny he is in real life: unintelligent, eccentric and completely oblivious to his alien nature. In The Room Wiseau always gives horrible delivery (every line of his is more than obviously dubbed post-production) and he appears inexorably stoned in every shot, which is ironic in itself because it's made clear his character doesn't even drink. Johnny even has a job at the bank, though we have no idea what it is other than through this glorious snippet of dialogue between Johnny and his friend Mark:
Mark: How was work today?
Johnny: Oh, pretty good. We got a new client at the bank and we'll make a lot of money.
Mark: What client?
Johnny: I cannot tell you, it's confidential.
Mark: Oh come on. Why not?
Johnny: No, I can't. Anyway, how's your sex life?
I'd definitely say this is one of the worst films I've ever seen in my life, both subjectively and objectively, but I love it because of its complete failure as integral art, which is why I have a similar love for this next disaster of a film, Troll 2 .
While The Room attempted to be a serious tragic romantic drama, Claudio Fragasso's 1990 horror film Troll 2 tried its hand at fitting in among horror classics. Intended by Fragasso to be a scathing attack on vegetarianism, Troll 2 became incredibly prolific for such a different reason--as unintentional schlock-comedy--that it spawned a 2009 documentary about its production and attempted reunion of its crew directed by Michael Stephenson, who played Troll 2 's main character when he was just a kid. Fragasso reportedly hardly spoke English, despite filming in America, and so hardly any of the crew could speak English as well, causing mass confusion among the American cast members. The lack of proficiency in English most likely accounted for the terrible script as well.
The story revolves around a family who decides to do a home trade with another family in a town called Nilbog (“Goblin” backwards for anyone not paying attention) where they will spend a weekend. The youngest son in the family, throughout, is warned by the ghost of his grandfather that his family will wind up plant food for goblins if they go to Nilbog. The hilarity of the film hits long before the family even initiates their road trip; the acting alone--worst of all performances going to the older sister and mother--showing that this film is far from salvageable. And despite being named Troll 2 all of the monsters are called goblins, since the only way this movie could be green-lit was to make it a sequel to Troll, a film totally disconnected from this one.
As the film progresses, situations arise that set up the film for more failure, including Michael Stephenson's character ruining the family's dinner, which will turn them into plants, in a messed up way. Anybody who's seen the film will know what I'm talking about when I say “Oh my Gooooooood!” There really is nothing good about this film, but I can say the editing and camera shots are a slight improvement over The Room , if there is any way this film could be considered better. Otherwise, this film is pretty much on the same level, though for a different genre.
Fragasso is another director who fancies himself a sophisticated “avant-garde” filmmaker, but instead hit every branch of bad filmmaking he could when falling from a possible career. Surprisingly, in spite of this terrible plunge, he's still falling, apparently, as he's produced a number of films since Troll 2 , unlike Tommy Wiseau (though he's directing another film himself, now). Of course, they're all for the most part terrible according to IMDb, with the exception of a short-lived Italian TV series scoring a 7.3 out of 10 stars, though it's only been rated by twenty users.
Fragasso, again unlike Wiseau, has maintained that the film is a serious effort and, very much like M. Night Shyamalan with The Happening , claims that the public simply doesn't understand the film or what he was trying to do. The film, like The Room , has gained a cult following that is enormous, involving national annual Troll 2 screenings where people prepare green food and get together to watch this mess.
I think within the past thirty years, at least, Troll 2 and The Room can both be considered on the bottom ten of films produced in this time. And yet, they're very likable and enjoyable to watch for this reason. They're examples of everything wrong in film and can serve as “How Not To” guides for aspiring filmmakers. As a writer, I can safely say that these films' screenplays are masterpieces of awful I am sure I can never reproduce, even if I tried. I personally believe what makes an objectively bad film is when those behind it try to make it something it can never be perceived as by the intended audiences. These two films are the more recent still-steaming turds proving this.
One of the best scenes in The Room
Most infamous scene from Troll 2
More by this Author
Hollywood Reporter It's been a long time since my last post, but I figured I'd share my thoughts about a film that touches me in a certain way while remaining curiously evasive. It's not the greatest film of the year,...
Takashi Miike's Audition was my introduction to his work, the Japanese horror film revealing the terrifying capabilities of a needy and psychopathic actress. Miike's known for being one of those directors who pumps out...
“So ya thought ya might like to go to the show, to feel the warm thrill of confusion, that space cadet glow. Tell me, is something eluding you, Sunshine? Is this not what you expected to see? If you wanna find out...