Saturday, October 13, 2012

TROLL 2 (1990)

PHENOMENALITY: *marvelous*
CAMPBELLIAN FUNCTION: * psychological, metaphysical*

Inasmuch as I've already devoted too litcrit-theory essays to the subject of the insanity that wasTROLL 2-- Part 1 here, and Part 2 here-- I'm not going to devote any great time here to recounting the "plot," if one can call it that. But since I recently re-watched it, and found the film even more gratuitously meaningless than I did before.  It took a perverse sort of anti-genius on the parts of director Claudio Fragasso and writer/wife Rosella Drudi that they were able to mount such an inimitable "perfect storm" of muddled myth-motifs and fractured fantasies-- apparently with little or no realization as to just how bad their work would seem.

Here, in a nutshell, is what I wrote about the *potential* mythic content of TROLL 2:

Two aspects already noted in TROLL PLAYING PART 1 include both vampire tropes and folklore about cannibalistic boogiemen (for which Scandinavian trolls *might* actually be better suited than Celtic goblins). I'll also speculate that given the film's heavy emphasis on the goblins forcing the beleaguered human protagonists to eat tainted food so that the humans will turn into plants, Drudi might even have been influenced by the mythic motif I'll call "eating the otherworld's food," which invariably causes mortals from Persephone on down to remain in the otherworld.
These "potential myths," as I noted earlier, were so thoroughly undermined by the filmmaker's uncritical "everything including the kitchen sink"sensibility that they aren't even comic inversions of the "straight-faced" tropes.   They're just weird hybrids, clues that seem to lead to absolutely nothing.

One other motif I neglected to note, because it appeared so briefly: at one point in the "story," a protagonist claims that all of the goblins in their human forms have facial moles that resemble "four-leaf clovers."  It's not mentioned earlier, nor does it play any role in the narrative.  Apparently it was just a weird idea that Drudi or Fragasso thought of tossing in, just to make the villains a little more gross (not that more grossness is necessary).  But why graft on the goblins the symbol of good luck?  Did Fragasso and Drudi confuse their goblins with Irish leprechauns? 

Even though I get no small satisfaction from "solving" the presence of some oddball motif in a cheap B-movie like PHANTOM FROM 10,000 LEAGUES, I have to tip my hat to a movie that seems designed to frustrate a myth-hunter like myself.

And, having so tipped, the rest is silence.

1 comment:

  1. it's so weird to read such a serious review of this movie
    suuuuuuuuuuper surreal :D