One of the great things about being a nerd in L.A. is that there is a huge “revival” theatre scene going on that allows a plethora of options for all geek tastes. This last Saturday evening I was faced with two exciting options for my nerd-dollar. The Silent Movie Theatre had a screening of the infamous, so-bad-it’s-awesome TROLL 2 and a few hours later at midnight, The New Beverly Cinema was showing the original HALLOWEEN II. Since the theaters are only a few blocks from each other, I decided to check them both out for an evening of sequel insanity…
When TROLL 2 was released on VHS back in 1990, the makers were trying to capitalize on the modest success of the film TROLL from 1986. One of the first wonderful FAIL signs on this film is that it is not a sequel in any way to the original. It doesn’t even have any trolls in it. The evil creatures in TROLL 2 are actually goblins! The film was made ultra-low budget, by a crew of Italian filmmakers in the woods of Utah. The director of this trash-terpiece is a man named Claudio Fragasso, but for some reason he’s credited in the movie as Drake Floyd. Most of the cast is made up of Utah locals, all of whom seem to be acting for the very first time ever. Lots of beautifully awkward performances in this film, but the REAL star is the plot!
Meet the Waits family! They have decided to go on a vacation to the town of Nilbog (go on, spell it backwards) where they will exchange homes with a local family. Little 8 year old Joshua Waits has been warned by the ghost of his dead Grandpa Seth that bad things will happen there, but Mom and Dad think he’s insane. His sister Holly wants to bring her boyfriend Elliott along, but he can’t seem to leave the side of his 3 male friends in their winnebago. I’ve never seen SO MUCH implied homosexuality in a film about killer goblins before. The Waits arrive in Nilbog and are treated with amazing hospitality. The family that the Waits are exchanging houses with have left them a huge feast of weird looking green food to enjoy. But Grandpa Seth warns young Joshua that the food will hurt them and that they must not eat any of it. The decision to have the small boy urinate on the feast to protect his family is one of my favorite, “WHAT THE FUCK!” moments. You see, the townspeople are all evil goblins and if you eat their crazy chow you will dissolve into a disgusting green mess so that they can gobble you up easily.
As Elliot’s “friends” are turned into goblin-mulch one by one, it is up to Joshua and the ghost of Grandpa Seth to save the fucking day for the Waits clan! I will not give away the ending, but it goes out on a perfectly fucked up note that you will not soon forget. All in all, TROLL 2 was exactly what I was hoping it would be. A highly entertaining “bad” movie from start to finish. God bless the talents of Drake Floyd, Utah, Nilbog, the Waits, Elliott, and of course Grandpa Seth (who had the audience cheering his name every time he appeared to save the fucking day). There was a second feature by the same director called MONSTER DOG starring ALICE COOPER, but I couldn’t stay for it. I had a date with Michael Myers…
To this date, the original HALLOWEEN is still the best horror movie I’ve ever seen. I consider HALLOWEEN II to be the second best film in the series and yes, I’m including Rob Zombie’s putrid remake in that equation. The HALLOWEEN series is my favorite horror-franchise of all time and I have seen every single film in the theatre, upon initial release, so I hightailed it to the New Bev to check out the screening of a newly struck 35mm print and was dumbstruck at the sight of the largest line I’ve ever seen there. If it wasn’t for my friend and fellow geek Cat saving me a seat, I wouldn’t have made it in to the sold out show. Which would have sucked, because it was a great time!
Before the movie started there was a Q and A with director Rick Rosenthal, actress Gloria Gifford who plays Nurse Alves and the great Alan Howarth who composed the score with John Carpenter on that and many others. It seems like everyone really enjoyed working with each other and had a lot of fun making the movie.
Before the movie started we were treated to a trailer for the original HALLOWEEN and then it began…
One of the things I always thought was so cool about HALLOWEEN II is that it’s the only sequel I know that picks up precisely where the last one ends and is truly a continuation of the first film’s storyline. Without all of the setup from the first, it just jumps right into the terror and I love it! Also, even though the movie wasn’t directed by John Carpenter, he and Debra Hill came back to write the screenplay and produce it and he even creates a scarier score than the first one. Yes, the film is not quite on the same level as the original slasher masterpiece, but it is head and shoulders above most slasher sequels (FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE, etc.). You also have all the principal performers returning (JAMIE LEE CURTIS, DONALD PLEASANCE, MICHAEL MYERS, CHARLES CYPHERS, even NANCY LOOMIS returns as Annie’s corpse!) and most importantly, cinematographer God DEAN CUNDEY is back behind the lens. I think it’s a kick ass sequel!
After the movie we got a reel of trailers including (the awesome in it’s own right) HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH, my second favorite sequel HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS, HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS, and HALLOWEEN 6: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS. It was a great fucking time and I’d love to see a HALLOWEEN movie marathon some day at the New Bev!
And that was my Saturday night sequel insanity.
Tags: alan howarth, cinefamily, donald pleasance, drake floyd, gloria gifford, grandpa seth, halloween II 1981, john carpenter, michael myers, monster dog, nilbog, rick rosenthal, the new beverly cinema, the silent movie theatre, troll 2