This weekend, fans from around the country and as far away as Austria descended on tiny Morgan, Utah, to celebrate the 1990 cult classic "Troll 2" in the city where it was filmed, and with the largest reunion of cast members yet. In between Q&A sessions and movie screenings, they collected autographs, tossed spears, devoured unhealthy amounts of baloney sandwiches, and faced off on "Guitar Hero II" (which includes a nod to the flick in the form of a venue called Nilbog High School).
For the uninitiated, "Troll 2" is about a family who vacations in the town of Nilbog, only to discover that it's the goblin kingdom (there are no trolls in "Troll 2," nor is it a sequel to "Troll"). The shape-shifting shorties attempt to trick the Waits clan into eating a substance that will transform them into a half-man/half-plant state, suitable for consumption by the vegetarian villains.
On top of all that, throw in the fact that the film was made on a shoestring budget, shot by an Italian director who spoke little English, and starred a cast of amateurs, and you've got a recipe for one of the most enjoyably bad movies ever filmed. So enjoyable, in fact, that it's been drawing raucous sell-out crowds for the past year or so as it tours theaters, inspiring a documentary about the phenomenon called "Best Worst Movie," due next year.
But since traveling to Middle of Nowhere, Utah, for a weekend is a lot to ask of even the most hardcore superfans, here's a rundown of some of the behind-the-scenes secrets and trivia that were revealed while we were in Nilbog and you were at home watching "Troll 2" on DVD for the hundredth time:
- Holly's infamous dance scene wasn't in the script but was added when director Claudio Fragasso spotted actress Connie Young practicing moves for her high school drill team.
- Fragasso hates activist vegetarians, and the vegetarian goblins are meant to symbolize people who go to extreme lengths to push their agendas on others.
- The reason there's no blood in the film — just green goo — is that there were concerns about censorship if the film were too graphic, Fragasso said.
- Actress Deborah Reed didn't realize the phallic symbolism of the corn cob she used to seduce her young victim until someone clued her in afterward.
- The Winnebago seduction scene was among the first to be shot, and the popcorn that resulted from the, uh, enjoyment of the corn cob found its way into the carpet and crevices of the RV. The actors said they snacked on it between takes of later shoots.
- A scene was shot in which the ghost of Grandpa Seth wakes up Michael Waits, who dozes off while reading a vegetable cookbook, but it was not used in the film.
- Actor Jason Steadman (Drew), whose character encounters the goblin queen and is never seen again, said the script called for him to be turned into a man-plant like Darren Ewing (Arnold) but the scenes were never shot.
- Extras were recruited from the local population and were paid in hamburgers and beer.
But perhaps the biggest news of the entire Nilbog Invasion event came on day two, when a representative from the Utah Film Commission officially invited Fragasso back to Morgan to shoot "Troll 3" and pledged up to a half-million dollars in assistance. "Ohhhh myyyy gaawwwwd!" indeed.