Documentary chronicles 'Best Worst Movie'

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A film shot in Utah that's often called the worst movie ever made has morphed into something very different.

Did you know... No trolls actually appear in "Troll 2." The movie is about goblins, but was trying to play off the success of the 1986 horror movie, "Troll."

The 1989 film "Troll 2" has somehow made the transition from awful monster movie to cult favorite to critically-admired documentary. That documentary, "Best Worst Movie," opens Friday.

This may be a case of turning trash into treasure, or a sow's ear into a silk purse -- or maybe it just tells us people love movies, good and bad, and sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.

When otherwise rational people put on ridiculous masks 20 years ago and made a movie in Morgan County, no one imagined they were making cinematic history.

"People were trying their hardest," said former actor Jason Steadman. "We were trying our hardest to make a good movie, but we failed."

"Best Worst Movie"
Salt Lake City Screening
Beginning May 28, continuing for at least a week
The Tower Theater
876 East 900 South, Salt Lake City
Click for showtimes and tickets

Steadman, now a Salt Lake concert promoter, is helping promote a documentary about a film that turned out to be historically atrocious.

In 1989 Steadman played a teenager in the movie "Troll 2," threatened by creatures that weren't even carnivorous.

"Yes, they fed me green food and I started to turn into a plant, because they're vegetarian and they eat plants," Steadman explains.

With a premise like that one, you can only imagine how bad the rest of it must have been.

And yet, against all reason, "Troll 2" became popular -- beloved, even.

"It was pure genius!" raves one fan. "We watched it a second time, right away."

For several years now, "Troll 2" has been packing them in at special screenings.

Movie Synopsis: "Troll 2"
A young boy and his family take a vacation to the small town of Nilbog ("Goblin" backwards). Once there, the boy's dead grandfather returns to warn him that his family is headed to the kingdom of the goblins. The boy discovers the town's people are actually goblins, who try to get them to eat their goblin food, turning them into plants so they can be eaten (the goblins are vegetarians). The boy must work with his grandfather's ghost to defeat the goblins and restore peace in Niblog. Click to watch "Troll 2."

"We've been traveling around the nation and world, sold out theaters, raving fans, interviews, fan mail. Just crazy, crazy stuff," Steadman said.

That's what the new feature-length documentary is all about. "Best Worst Movie" covers the phenomenon, and the people -- like the Italian director who seems to have trouble understanding his audience.

"For me, it's very strange," said director Claudio Fragrasso.

When asked, "How does it feel, that you were the director of the worst movie ever made?" He responded, "But you think it, you think it's the worst movie. I did a very good movie."

Yes, Fragrasso always believed. Now his masterpiece is studied in film schools, probing a deep philosophical question What is a bad movie?

"You know, for an hour and a half if you go to a theater and you're laughing most of the time, how is that a bad movie? So it kind of challenges that notion of what is a bad movie," Steadman said.

If you want to see "Best Worst Movie" the documentary opens in Salt Lake City Friday at the Tower Theatre. It's had rave reviews around the country.

And if you want the real thing, the baddest of the bad, the unadulterated worst movie ever, you can see "Troll 2" online for free HERE.


[BEST WORST MOVIE TRAILER]( from [Best Worst Movie]( on [Vimeo](

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John Hollenhorst


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