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Best Worst Movie -- Film Review

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Considering the extensive competition, many people will no doubt quibble with the assertion that the supremely cheesy horror flick "Troll 2" is indeed the "Best Worst Movie" of all time. Filmmaker Michael Paul Stephenson, who made this documentary examining the cult phenomenon that has grown up around the misbegotten direct-to-video 1992 effort, has a very personal reason for making the claim. He appeared in it as a young child actor, and has been trying to live it down ever since.

Sure to be embraced by moviegoers even more fascinated by blazing failure than by success, this quirky doc will inevitably be paired with its inspiration for double bills at repertory theaters for many years to come.

The documentary focuses mainly on George Hardy, who played a leading role in "Troll 2." Now a dentist with a successful practice in Alabama, the genial Hardy has clearly embraced his notoriety, appearing at fan conventions and at the many screenings that celebrate the movie's quintessential terribleness.

Exploring the phenomenon that has sprung up around the film--which bears no relationship at all to the original "Troll"--Stephenson includes interviews with many of the original, non-professional cast members, none of whom, needless to say, have gone on to acting glory. (One of them, Connie Young, even refused to list it in her resume, although that may now very well change.) Also featured prominently are the film's Italian director Claudio Fragasso and his screenwriter wife Rosella Drudi, who explains that she made the film's evil goblins ("Troll 2" doesn't actually feature any, uh, trolls) vegetarians because she was annoyed by her similarly minded friends dietary issues.

At times "Bad Worst Movie" borders on being exploitative, especially in its treatment of several of the "Troll 2" performers who have clearly gone on to have troubled lives. And it never digs particularly deep in its examination of why this film, rather than untold others, has so fully captured the imaginations of so many bad movie lovers. But there's no denying that it is often outrageous fun, and the news that Fragasso and Drudi are working on a script for "Troll 2: Part 2" is but the icing on a very nasty cake.

Opens May 14 (Abramorama)
Production: Magic Stone Productions
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Michael Paul Stephenson
Producers: Lindsay Stephenson, Brad Klopman
Director of photography: Katie Graham
Editors: Katie Graham, Andrew Mathews
Not rated, 93 min.