'Troll 2': Talking with the Alabama dentist who helped make the 'Best Worst Movie' of all time

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“We were just trying to be good citizens of Utah, helping this Italian crew make a movie” says part-time actor — and full-time dentist! — George Hardy of his participation in the 1990 movie Troll 2. What he actually helped make is what bad-film aficionados widely agree to be among the worst movies of all time. Troll 2 is a ludicrously scripted, appallingly acted B-movie that is also, confusingly, not a sequel to the Sonny Bono-starring 1986 flick Troll. In fact, this straight-to-video film doesn’t even feature any trolls. Rather, it concerns goblins in the town of Nilbog (yes, that’s goblin spelled backward) who turn humans into vegetables, which they then eat. (The goblins are vegetarians.)

Troll 2 has attracted a growing army of fans over the past few years who have packed screenings around the country. The film, and the cult that has sprung up around it, is now the subject of a documentary. Titled Best Worst Movie, the film was directed by Hardy’s Troll 2 costar Michael Paul Stephenson and will debut at the SXSW Film Festival on March 14. EW spoke to the none-more-genial Hardy about Troll 2, his unlikely status as a cult movie icon, and, of course, teeth.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How’s it going?
GEORGE HARDY: Great. I’m very honored to be talking to Entertainment Weekly. Although this is my second interview with you. Back in 1995, someone there interviewed me about these movie-viewing glasses that I had for my dental office. You put these glasses over the patient’s eyes and it looks like there’s a big screen. I was one of the first dentists in the United States to do it. I would show people Troll 2 while I was drilling on their teeth.

Isn’t it bad enough that you’re drilling their teeth without making them watch your terrible movie as well?
Exactly! Exactly! I know! [Laughs] But, I remember extracting someone’s tooth once and they wanted to stay after the extraction to watch the rest of the movie. They were so enthralled by it.

So, how does an Alabama-born dentist end up starring in an Italian-made, Utah-shot horror movie?
I
had a little background in acting at high school. But I went into the
dental field because I like working with my hands. Shortly after, I
ended up going out to Salt Lake City. One day, a patient comes in –
she was an actress — and she said, you ought to audition for things.
So, I got an agent, and she calls me and says, “George, there’s this
movie going on up in Park City.” I auditioned to about nine or 10
Italians in this smoke-filled room — no one spoke English –- and a day
or two later I get the phone call saying I’d gotten the second lead. My
heart almost came out of my chest. It was a three-week shoot for me. I
would kind of alternate days of going into my dental practice and then
going out and shooting with all these Italians. Very few of them spoke
English, except Laura Gemser who was our wardrobe lady. She was famous
from a lot of Italian porn films.

Were you aware at the time that she had previously appeared in the likes of Emanuelle: Queen Bitch and Emanuelle in Hell?
No, little did we know. But she was very sweet.

What was the shoot like?
Michael and myself would sit over in the
corner and try to decipher the script. We just couldn’t understand what
it meant. Literally, we had no clue.

What exactly was the problem?
The way it was written was not the
way Americans speak. One of us would say, to Claudio [Fragasso, Troll 2
director], this is not the way you say this in America. But they would
say, “No, no, no, this is the way you do it.” We just did what we were
told. I think that was because of the language barrier. How can you
argue with someone who doesn’t understand what you’re saying?

Is it true that, originally, you thought the movie was going to be called Goblins?
Yeah, all of us did.

How did they get away with calling it Troll 2 when it is in no way connected to the original Troll?
It is my understanding that Italians will do a film that rides coattails of another. They do it all the time.

When did you first realize that you were the star of a terrible film?
My
sister called me and said, “George, your movie’s out and I’ve got to
tell you something: It’s bad.” I go, “Well, how bad is it?” She says,
“Well, it’s really bad!” Then one of my patients brought me a copy. I
watched it in my dentist’s chair. I looked through the viewing glasses
and watched the very first scene. I almost got this sick feeling inside
of me. I thought, Oh, s— and put it away. I put it on the shelf and
let it collect dust for almost 16 years.

But now you’re a cult movie icon who gets treated like a rock star at screenings!
It’s
amazing. When I meet fans, they literally are shaking. If you go to a
screening in Boston or New York, everyone knows the lines. When I
started to laugh with it, and not look at it as a serious situation,
that’s the point I really embraced it. I don’t run from it anymore.
It’s pretty cool being in the worst movie ever.

For Best Worst Movie you and Michael tracked down Claudio in Italy. What was that like?
Honestly,
we went with kid gloves on. We didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings.
But, how do you break the news to someone that they are the director of
one of the worst films in the history of all cinema?
He does seem a little irked during various parts of the film. But I think there was a shift in Claudio when we brought him over to
the U.S. and we took him to the screenings and he saw the thrill on
people’s faces. People would go up to Claudio and say, “This is genius!”
And, hey, what is genius, anyway? It could be genius. [Laughs] It could
be!

Clearly, Claudio considers Troll 2 a good film. And one with a
message! In fact, he told me, via e-mail, that the film is really a
polemic against fanatical vegetarianism. Did he mention that during the
shoot?

No.

He also said that the actors in the film recite their lines in an intentionally parodic manner.
That wasn’t my experience. I was trying to do my best!

The documentary ends with the announcement that Claudio is planning
a sequel called Troll 2: Part 2. Would you be prepared to once again
put down the drill and pick up a script?

I think so, yeah. Why not? But, how could you catch lightning in a bottle twice? How would you be able to repeat that?

So, how does an Alabama-born dentist end up starring in an Italian-made, Utah-shot horror movie?
Ihad a little background in acting at high school. But I went into thedental field because I like working with my hands. Shortly after, Iended up going out to Salt Lake City. One day, a patient comes in –she was an actress — and she said, you ought to audition for things.So, I got an agent, and she calls me and says, "George, there’s thismovie going on up in Park City." I auditioned to about nine or 10Italians in this smoke-filled room — no one spoke English –- and a dayor two later I get the phone call saying I’d gotten the second lead. Myheart almost came out of my chest. It was a three-week shoot for me. Iwould kind of alternate days of going into my dental practice and thengoing out and shooting with all these Italians. Very few of them spokeEnglish, except Laura Gemser who was our wardrobe lady. She was famousfrom a lot of Italian porn films.

Were you aware at the time that she had previously appeared in the likes of Emanuelle: Queen Bitch and Emanuelle in Hell?
No, little did we know. But she was very sweet.

What was the shoot like?
Michael and myself would sit over in thecorner and try to decipher the script. We just couldn’t understand whatit meant. Literally, we had no clue.

What exactly was the problem?
The way it was written was not theway Americans speak. One of us would say, to Claudio [Fragasso, Troll 2director], this is not the way you say this in America. But they wouldsay, "No, no, no, this is the way you do it." We just did what we weretold. I think that was because of the language barrier. How can youargue with someone who doesn’t understand what you’re saying?

Is it true that, originally, you thought the movie was going to be called Goblins?
Yeah, all of us did.

How did they get away with calling it Troll 2 when it is in no way connected to the original Troll?
It is my understanding that Italians will do a film that rides coattails of another. They do it all the time.

When did you first realize that you were the star of a terrible film?
Mysister called me and said, "George, your movie’s out and I’ve got totell you something: It’s bad." I go, "Well, how bad is it?" She says,"Well, it’s really bad!" Then one of my patients brought me a copy. Iwatched it in my dentist’s chair. I looked through the viewing glassesand watched the very first scene. I almost got this sick feeling insideof me. I thought, Oh, s— and put it away. I put it on the shelf andlet it collect dust for almost 16 years.

But now you’re a cult movie icon who gets treated like a rock star at screenings!
It’samazing. When I meet fans, they literally are shaking. If you go to ascreening in Boston or New York, everyone knows the lines. When Istarted to laugh with it, and not look at it as a serious situation,that’s the point I really embraced it. I don’t run from it anymore.It’s pretty cool being in the worst movie ever.

For Best Worst Movie you and Michael tracked down Claudio in Italy. What was that like?
Honestly,we went with kid gloves on. We didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings.But, how do you break the news to someone that they are the director ofone of the worst films in the history of all cinema?
He does seem a little irked during various parts of the film. But I think there was a shift in Claudio when we brought him over tothe U.S. and we took him to the screenings and he saw the thrill onpeople’s faces. People would go up to Claudio and say, "This is genius!"And, hey, what is genius, anyway? It could be genius. [Laughs] It couldbe!

Clearly, Claudio considers Troll 2 a good film. And one with amessage! In fact, he told me, via e-mail, that the film is really apolemic against fanatical vegetarianism. Did he mention that during theshoot?
No.

He also said that the actors in the film recite their lines in an intentionally parodic manner.
That wasn’t my experience. I was trying to do my best!

The documentary ends with the announcement that Claudio is planninga sequel called Troll 2: Part 2. Would you be prepared to once againput down the drill and pick up a script?
I think so, yeah. Why not? But, how could you catch lightning in a bottle twice? How would you be able to repeat that?

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Comments (7 total) Add your comment
  • Clam Bake

    I think this would give Troll 2 a run for its money:
    http://failedscreenwriter.com/2009/03/09/hoo-dunnit-g/

  • DW

    Troll 2 is undeniably brilliant, and I can’t wait to see this documentary.

  • duh?

    OMG! I love this H/F family adventure. Whew….who knew how scary the world really is!

  • Niki

    I am OBSESSED with Troll 2 and I only saw it a week ago. I’m so excited for the documentary!

  • Internia

    I know Brad!!!!!! He’s my coworker!!!!

  • Brad Klopman

    thanks Internia but my name’s nowhere in here! I’m just another producer on this masterpiece.

  • Albert Roubi

    Laura Gemser never been involved in Hardcore scenes. The rated X versions of Joe D’Amato’s Emanuelle been shot with other actress. Mostly for the french market.

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