What The Film?! is a weekly column exclusive to Under The Gun Review that brings to light the plot holes Hollywood hoped you’d never notice. Written by comedy writer Dane Sager, this column shows no mercy to films that try and pull the proverbial wool over our eyes.
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This Week’s Movie: 1993′s Troll III: CONTAMINATION POINT SEVEN
Have you ever rearranged your room and found it hard to fall asleep that night? Like the act of moving the bed and sleeping in a different place changes how you fall asleep completely? Perhaps it’s some sort of evolutionary trait where if we sleep in a different spot, we never take our guard down. It’s peculiar how something as small as changing what direction your bed points can do to your sleeping. It’s funny how something as small as a title change can completely change a movie.
1990′s infamously bad Troll II was originally written and filmed as a stand alone picture called “Goblin”, but studios felt that it was too awful and needed to be attached to a name in order to sell (a feat done earlier with the Italian “horror” movie Alien 2: ON EARTH). This is why the movie Troll II has absolutely nothing to do with 1986′s Troll and is filled with Goblins instead of its title creature. Troll II has gone on to become one of the most famous bad movies ever made, spawning a 2009 documentary that’s more entertaining than most movies I’ve written about.
Troll 3 follows this trend by not being about Trolls and by being originally created as its own picture. How bad is this movie? Studios were so afraid of how poorly this movie would be that they retitled it Troll 3 because being a sequel to one of the worst movies ever made actually makes it look significantly better.
The movie begins with Susan and Josie meeting on a bus to Seattle. They talk about boys and fashion because that’s all a girl was in the 1990s according to every movie ever made. Through a poorly executed Home Alone-esque sequence, Josie gets left behind at a rest stop. Or maybe it was Susan. It’s hard to tell. (Edit: it was Susan). Susan makes it home to her rural small town, to meet with her friends and former lover. This is all explained in the most painful exposition ever put on VHS. I’m pretty confident that this was shot on VHS. The movie has a lower resolution than any gif I’ve seen on tumblr.
Josie decides that the best course of action to get home is to hitchhike, where she’s immediately picked up by a middle aged man who’s photo graces the front of the Wikipedia page for “Rapist”. His brilliant strategy and winning pick up line that he pulled on Josie was “You like music? I bet there’s something else you like”. If this award winning writing wasn’t evident of his intentions enough, he makes it less subtle by trying to climb on top of her while yelling “I’m going to stick it to you, oh, Jesus, I am going to stick it to you” repeatedly.
Josie escapes his truck and hides successfully behind a tree several feet away that is significantly smaller than she is. Lost in the woods, the Trolls finally show up. Wait, no. She gets eaten by a tree. One more time for the kids at home: she gets eaten by a tree. Not the rapist who is never ever seen again, but the teenage girl who hid from him. Susan and her boyfriend stumble onto her dead body and when they tell the police, the police assume they are on drugs and imagined a corpse. This is the way the cops treat them. “I’m not in highschool!” the boyfriend pleads, poorly trying to make his story seem believable. “Maybe you ought to be” the cop retorts in a dialogue exchange that makes even less sense than the “big bang/thrust of it” ineuendo from 2002′s Die Another Day. People don’t say these things, they aren’t even clever.
After several people are killed by the carnivorous trees, the government decides to intervene. Or maybe it’s Men In Black. Or maybe it’s the Blue’s Brothers. It’s not really sure who the men in suits are. They just kind of show up, run a car off the road and try to murder the shit out of the driver in a scene that switches from day to night so frequently that you’d assume that someone was playing the Sun’s Song on their Ocarina just out of frame. The trees kill them. The survivor turns out to be a worker from the local Nuclear Power Plant who tells the police that they need to evacuate, since there’s been a huge Nuclear leak that assumedly turned the plants into the man-eating-trees. The police arrest him because they’re really good at making the wrong choice. Most of the police are by trees while trying to cover up what’s going on, the rest while holding up the kids that are trying to figure out what’s going on.
The next ten minutes is basically a montage of the town being murdered by trees. There are shots of roots and branches breaking through wooden walls to get to the people inside. I was wondering how trees would feel about having to break through the corpses of their own kind to get to their prey. That would make an interesting thing to add to this, that the trees avoid wood for psychological reasons, but this movie never goes with interesting. Ever.
There’s a scene in 1990′s The Hunt For Red October where in order to get close ups of the actors in a helicopter, they shot the sequence on land, but angled the cameras up so you couldn’t tell they weren’t flying. They were just running their lines in a helicopter with its blades running. You wouldn’t know it if you didn’t know. Three years later, they used this same exact type of shot in Troll 3, except they forgot they “angled up” part. You can literally 100% see stationary land behind them as they “fly”.
As it turns out, the trees have been coming to life due to magical trolls that… Wait, no. It’s a nuclear spill. The secondary leads run to the contamination zone where they know the worst of the radiation and killer trees are for absolutely no reason. The trees kill them and crashes their helicopter in a special effect sequence that screams “I want it done, but I want it done for like $16, maximum”.
Knowing that the secondary leads are in trouble, the main leads knowingly run into severe danger, their decision? To clean up the nuclear waste that mutated trees into killing machines with their bare hands. No, this doesn’t cause them to mutate, this is just a plot hole. Most of those cleaning up the waste gets killed by the trees. Everyone is saved in the very end when 20+ bulldozers show up and demolish the forest. The saviors in the end of this movie are the bad guys in 1992′s Fern Gully. The moral to this movie is literally the exact opposite of Avatar’s. This movie ends with them then burying all the toxic waste in what was once the forest and killing everything that lives there. It doesn’t end with them having the realization that they should be more careful with littering/dumping and that they need to respect nature The movie actually ends with the moral that nature needs to be killed off before it kills us.
Dane’s script ROMANCE ON THE SURFACE OF THE SUN will be released episodically on Under The Gun’s What The Film!? Column as well as on Twitter and Tumblr! Follow them all to get all the movie goodness you can!