Cult films are recognized as such for their fiercely devoted, but often times small, fanbase. While the majority of the population may be blissfully ignorant of a particular piece of film history, there is a small portion that recognizes the merits or find themselves amused at the folly of a particular movie so much that they elevate it to the status, in their collective minds, of a classic film. I watched a documentary this weekend that centered around the lives of the actors, and the filming of a cult film that I reviewed a little while back; Troll 2. Best Worst Movie not only does a fantastic job of explaining to you why Troll 2 is well worth your time to watch, but it presents a fascinating narrative following the lives of people that, 20 years after the fact, realize that they’ve developed relative stardom.
Michael Stephenson directs this film in an attempt to bring to bring light to the fact that a phenomenon has been nurtured to the point that those involved in movie, do indeed have fans that loved their work, albeit for the wrong reasons. Stephenson played the young boy, Joshua, in Troll 2; in this movie he remains largely behind the camera. The real focus and voice piece of the documentary is George Hardy, a well known and loved dentist in Alabama. It is made clear within the first minutes of the movie that Hardy is loved by just about everyone he encounters, even his ex-wife has nothing bad to say about him. Hardy is absolutely blown away by the reception, that his little movie that he was so embarrassed about most of his life, receives at screenings for devout followers of the film. We follow most of the cast as they interact with their fan base and we watch George Hardy’s ego swell during the course of the film. It’s fun to see people who have forgotten (or have tried to forget) their acting “careers”suddenly get the stardom that they had hoped for. While it’s a blast to watch fans and actors react to one another, the humanity in the story reveals itself when the obscurity of the movie subjects George Hardy to particularly uncomfortable situations, including him sitting at a “Horror Convention” booth for almost the entire day with almost no visits.
Michael Stephens attempts to reconnect the entire cast and crew for the premier that Troll 2 never had. In this quest we get a fascinating glimpse into the lives of people who took a crack at their dreams of making movies and had it not quite pan out. Some managed to have relatively successful careers, some found other paths to success and others continue to strive towards that goal. For all the hilarious nonsense that Troll 2 turned out to be, it garnished a surprisingly touching story for those involved. Best Worst Movie manages to accurately explain the phenomenon that is cult films, as well as present a surprisingly relatable documentary.