Why Troll 2 is the Movie for Our Times

 

Troll-2-Oh-My-God

In the advent of a long awaited Brexit deal, division and confusion seem to be rife. The people of Britain will no doubt be glued to BBC News 24, LBC, The Today Programme, and their newspapers of choice in a bid to understand how such a deal will effect them. I believe that the aforementioned avenues have been exhausted and are ultimately unlikely to offer any clarity on the matters at hand. The fact is that there has been something under our noses the whole time, something that will give us the answers if we only seek it out. That something is of course Claudio Fragasso’s seminal 1990 horror film, Troll 2.

Troll 2 follows a family’s move to the rural farming town of Nilbog, which turns out to be the home to a community of vegetarian goblins. The film itself isn’t actually a sequel to the original Troll, in fact it has no relation to that film whatsoever, and was only titled as such because it was believed that it would be more be more successful if marketed as a sequel. United States distributors tried to give the people something they didn’t know they wanted, and when they got it, they were furious. They had been misled – Troll 2 wasn’t a sequel to Troll, in fact, it didn’t even have any trolls in it. I can recall a number of Daily Mail comments during recent Brexit negotiations that expressed this ire,

daily mail1

dailymail2

Whilst the family are en route to Nilbog, Joshua, the son of the family, keeps receiving warnings from his deceased grandfather Seth, manifested in the form of a giant floating head that sort of looks like a young former President of the European Parliament Martin Schultz. Seth tries to tell Joshua that the town they are travelling to is not safe, and that Joshua must convince his family not to go there. He also has a vision of himself turning into a tree. Of course Joshua is accused of being hysterical when he attempts to warn his family – nothing can stop the dad (who incidentally looks like a rugged David Davis) from  realising his dream of being a farmer, despite never having any experience or prior knowledge of farming. He is sold on the idea of returning to a raw, self sustaining standard of living, taking back the control that his ancestors before him had enjoyed before it was rudely taken away. How can Joshua, a child who doesn’t know anything about sovereignty, have any opinions about the paradise of Nilbog.

When the family arrive at Nilbog, they find that there isn’t any food available – for the inhabitants of the town do not import anything. All food is locally produced and seems to be green in colour. The family start to question whether moving to Nilbog was such a good idea, but they decide to stay when the neighbours make a generous donation to the family, comprising of an array of dishes such as green border control burgers and doughnuts filled with the promise of £350 million a week for the NHS.

The family, after being deprived of food for so long, are ravenous and ready to tuck in, but the floating head of old grandpa Seth (why doesn’t he just stay in Europe… I mean the past where he belongs!) warns Joshua that he must stop them from eating the green food at all costs, before stopping time for 30 seconds to give Joshua some time to think. In the iconic scene that follows, Joshua, deliberates while his family, hands trembling, strike a still pose – holding the food up to their mouths in an attempt to look frozen in time. Joshua ultimately decides to urinate all over the green tinged meal, thus making it inedible. As the mum scrapes the soiled food into the bin, she castigates Joshua for ruining their dinner and scare mongering. There is a lesson here – If the remain campaign, pre-referendum, had only doused the leave campaign’s green sludge spiked promises with urine, then it might have deterred some voters from making a choice they would later regret. (Spoiler alert: the mum gets turned to green sludge at the end and is subsequently eaten by goblins).

44

 

The dismissal of the young continues throughout the film as its millennial hero, Arnold, is forced to watch a woman get turned into a cabbage before being feasted on by goblins. In one of the most critically lauded scenes in cinema history, Arnold stares, aghast, at the bleak future that awaits him. This would serve him right for spending all his money on avocados and luxury holidays in Nilbog. Arnold doesn’t quite meet this fate, instead he is turned into a house plant, thus putting a stop to any free movement. On the plus side, he has no need for a mortgage now as he’s got a small plant pot to lay down his roots in. Of course, any plans to settle down are subsequently scarpered when he is cut down by a chainsaw wielding goblin queen.

These are only some of the few parallels to the Brexit fiasco that Troll 2 is teeming with. So why not celebrate the end of the negotiations by giving Troll 2 a watch and seeing how many other parallels you can spot. You might recognise the wooden acting, perhaps the over the top line delivery of the goblin queen will seem familiar, or maybe the terribly awkward dance routine scene will remind you of something.

04-08-2016 18.39.26

 

Next week: What Leprechaun 5: In the Hood can teach us about a hard border in Ireland.

A Brief History of Humanity

Contains explicit language

Fenton always felt self conscious at his Millie’s work drinks. He would find himself sitting in silence as he listened to one of her colleagues talk about their work day and nodding furiously as if he understood exactly where they were coming from when he really had no idea. He never knew what to say, and even if he did, he couldn’t seem to get a word in. One of the main factors was Penny, the sales manager, who would recount long stories that went off on several tangents to the point where it seemed like even her colleagues didn’t know what she was talking about anymore (or were too inebriated to care). On this particular occasion, he tentatively sipped his drink in a bid to look like he was busy whilst Penny talked about some guy called Lewis who got on a bus with his dog. He seemed to know everything about their lives, yet they didn’t know anything about him – to be honest, he wanted to keep it that way because he had an idea of the reactions he would get if he talked about the Prehistory MA course he was currently attending.

Just as he was contemplating getting his phone out to delete some photos, George, another colleague, sat down next to him, ‘How’s it going? Is it…Josh?’ Fenton was elated that he could now enter a one on one conversation, even just to appear from the outside like he was fully integrated in the group.

‘Um…it’s Fenton. How was your day?’ He replied,

‘Yeah good. Sorry, I forgot to close that gate there when I came in, do you mind just closing it?’ he asked. Fenton’s heart sank as he followed George’s finger which was pointing towards the back gate to the beer garden. Fenton immediately got up and did as he was asked. By the time he returned to the table, George was already talking to someone else.

Around ten minutes later, just as Fenton had deleted most of the pictures on his phone, George said, ‘You alright Fenton? You’re very quiet…,’ whilst glancing at his colleague and smirking. Fenton looked down at this half pint for a second and then addressed George, ‘Yes… I am, um, perhaps a brief history of humanity can elucidate some of the reasons why that is…’

“200,000 years ago, a being known as Adam Sandler emerged from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean and started making some of the worst films in the history of cinema.

Shortly after that, several grown men between the ages of 26 and 39, whose entire DVD collection consisted of Adam Sandler films, trudged along onto the shore and quickly set up a screening event of Adam Sandler’s oeuvre and proceeded to complain that no women had turned up whilst munching on handfuls of Doritos and burping (and then laughing about it).

Around 2000 years later, several families appeared with the intention of going camping. They had all respectively hosted dinner parties during which they waxed lyrical about how they just wanted to get back to nature. they insisted that they were having a wonderful time as their tents collapsed around them and their tins of baked beans were spilt all over their Gortex sleeping bags.

A month later, a bunch of people that told other people about how they only ‘eat to live’ arrived on shore, and on the hunt for protein, borrowed the campers’ gas stoves to boil pebbles for a mineral soup.

It was around 150,000 BC that there was a distant rumbling which turned into raucous shouting, laughing, and crunching. The waves parted as hordes of people of all ages climbed out, and one’s ears were assaulted with sounds of cackling, jeering and the crunch of popcorn, interspersed with whispers. The younger ones of the group, clad in 3D glasses, swarmed the Adam Sandler screening event and demanded that they show Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which according to them was the more superior of the Michael Bay movies. However, their demands were drowned out by a chorus of unmistakable squelching that can only have come from the vociferous mastication of hotdogs.

The Adam Sandler fans didn’t seem to mind all the noise, in fact, they thought all the jeering and crunching enhanced the comedic masterpiece that is Jack and Jill. There were interjections of appreciation throughout, and although it was hard to make out what was said exactly, the consensus seemed to be that Adam Sandler pretending to be a woman was absolutely hilarious, most notably in ‘the diarrhoea scene.’

It was a summer’s day in June 120,000 BC that several strange objects emerged from the depths – other worldly shapes that were revealed to in fact be fascinators, once they were seen within the context of those that were wearing them upon their heads. Needless to say, they looked absolutely ridiculous, and this ridiculousness was sustained even with the addition of their tuxedoed counterparts, who were making guttural noises that would, in some thousand years or so evolve into a type of locution practiced by Neanderthals. This group were on a pilgrimage to the land of Royal Ascot. Armed with champagne flutes and private school banter, they would not rest, or stop imbibing the sparkling wine until they could smell horse blood. Only the scent of equine death could satiate them, so until then, they would huddle in groups and shout things at each other.

Around 20,000 years later, the delayed southern rail service finally arrived. The doors croaked open to allow its passengers to alight before sinking back into the depths where it was feasted on by a swarm of plankton collectively known as Chris Grayling. This left the passengers in a bit of a conundrum, as they were stranded in the middle of the ocean. Luckily, this particular group were all over 50 years of age and thus had mortgages (mortgages became extinct shortly after the etuokeus period) so they were able to fashion rafts out of pieces of their conservatory extensions and framed pictures of Jacob Rees-Mogg.

When they came ashore they congregated around a picture of broadcaster Clare Balding and chanted the words ‘national treasure’ exactly 29 times in a bid to summon her, thus forming the first instance of organised religion. This was a somewhat peaceful event compared to the human and equine slaughter that would follow in the name of Clare Balding.

It was at this point that the Adam Sandler crew ran out of Doritos and were fighting over chewed up bits of hotdog as the That’s My Boy credits rolled for the twenty six thousandth time. The followers of Clare Balding, watching the scene from upon the corpse of their high horse, suggested some recipes from leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom’s new cookbook. They felt that one’s quality of life could be greatly improved with a bread and dust tart.

Seeing that this opinion was somewhat wasted on the inhabitants of the island, they called into the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2 to further spread their wisdom.

Over a period of 3000 years, a breed of young men adapted to the harsh conditions of not having a personality by busting out their Bossa Nova cover of ‘Uptown Funk’ at every available opportunity. The cephalopods that had the misfortune of sharing the seabed with them had to adapt and evolve in their own way, and that is why squid no longer have ears.

90,000 BC saw the first invasion of a species of cyclist known as bipedus tedium, which could be identified by the orange markings on their lycra, as well as their signature mating call – a continuous stream of utterances about gears and a laboriously long diatribe about the pros and cons of hardtail and full suspension mountain bikes.

The eco-system that was subsequently created by this made it increasingly difficult for one to traverse the land. This, in combination with the phrase, ‘cheer up, it might never happen,’ caused a substantial build up of greenhouse gases. The Royal Ascot tribe were elated, for not only could they sample in the delights of dead horses, but they could now witness the polar bears starving to death as a result of melting ice caps.

It was around 7000 BC that you emerged from the depths and slid onto the shore with your inane utterances and desperate need to be validated as a man, which is something that I have absolutely no interest in, so George, just get back in the fucking sea.”

Fenton stood up, downed three quarters of his half pint, and left the pub with Millie.

Note: By explicit language, I of course meant A**m S*****r.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Amulet

I knew straight away that once I was in possession of the amulet, everything would change for me. How did I know? It wasn’t a particularly attractive amulet, in fact it was rather plain, but as soon as I saw it sitting on a shelf in the Age UK charity shop on Broad Street, I started to get a sort of vibe from it. When I happened upon the amulet, I was in a state of limbo, my days were all blurring into one. One particularly ailing aspect of my illness is an inability to make decisions, so when I found myself at that rare moment of true certainty, I had to act upon it.

Of course, I had to indulge in a bit of dithering before my purchase, pretending to look at a beige mug with ‘celery’ written on it to give the impression that I wasn’t an impulse buyer. you see, I wanted to bestow an appropriate amount of reverence to the amulet –  too little and it might not think me worthy enough to possess it, too much and other people in the shop might notice the amulet and try and take it for themselves. I touched the celery mug gently for good measure and then swiftly picked up the amulet. A smile spread across my face and remained there for the duration of my transaction, due to the fact that I just couldn’t believe I was purchasing a life changing object for the meagre price of £3.99. The man who was processing the transaction didn’t seem to recognise the importance of the amulet – he usually made a little joke about the thing I was buying. Once I purchased an anchovy decanter (for £4.99 – bargain!) and the man at the counter said, ‘this is a good find init, you’re bound to get your omega 3 with this little number.’ I didn’t really know what to say so I just nodded profusely, laughed and said, ‘yes, I’m looking forward to when they release the sardine jug.’ He must not have heard me because he didn’t acknowledge my attempt at banter, but still, looking back on that occasion, he seemed far more jovial then than he was now. His slightly acerbic demeanour worked in my favour – it must have meant that he didn’t notice the power of the amulet, and so I would be able to claim it without anyone trying to challenge me thereafter.

As I walked out of the shop with the amulet in my palm, I felt powerful, like Ivar the Boneless after he conquered Ireland. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself as I walked down the street, aware of an elderly lady giving me a sideways glance as she walked past, but impervious to any feelings of self consciousness that might usually accrue if I had experienced her wry eye sans amulet.

When I got home I began to inspect the amulet closely. It had some sort of ancient rune embossed onto it, in the shape of a spiral. There was a clasp which implied that it could be opened, but when I tried, I had no luck. I didn’t force it because I was worried that It would break, so opted for looking it up online. My search for ‘spiral rune amulet thing’ yielded meagre results, so I decided to contact an amulet specialist and typed ‘amuletist’ into the search engine. I clicked on the first result, which took me to the web page of one Argus Rind – local Amuletist. I thought that it might be best to show Mr Rind the amulet in person as I my initial search online had confirmed my descriptive ineptitude. Besides, I wasn’t great with phone calls anyway – due to my condition, I find the constant pressure to keep saying things rather taxing.

I was a little bemused as I made my way to see Mr Rind because the website stated that his office was in the local garden centre cafe. I walked past the scented candles and spotted one in the shape of a Lenin bust – black rose and yeast. Garden centres sold everything these days, so I guess it wasn’t beyond reason that someone could rent out an office space here. Sure enough, there was a man who seemed to be in his mid-sixties sitting in the cafe with an ‘Argus Rind – Amuletist’ nameplate on the table. I awkwardly walked up to his office, not really knowing how to go about the whole affair. ‘Um, hello, are you Argus Rind?’ As soon the utterance escaped my mouth I mentally chastised myself, ‘of course he is you idiot, what an inane question to ask.’ Mr Rind however didn’t seem to mind and looked up and grinned, ‘Indeed I am, pal. Apologies for all this,’ he said as he motioned towards our environs, ‘I’m between offices so I’m hot-desking at the moment, take a seat.’ I sat down as Mr Rind placed a teacup in front me,

‘It’s not so bad here though, the garden centre knows how important the work I do is so they gave me a good deal on office space – all you have to do is buy a cup of tea and a scone every forty five minutes or so. Here, have a drop of this sage and margoram tea – it really opens you up.’

I watched as he poured the pale viridian tea into the cup and then took a sip as Mr Rind looked on expectantly.

‘…wow, that’s quite… a flavour,’ I said, much to his approval. Honestly, it was like imbibing the dregs of a Sunday roast.

‘So I take it you didn’t come by to sample the exquisite herb tea,’ he said once I’d gulped down the leaf broth. I took the amulet out of my pocket and place it on the table,

‘Well I bought this from a charity shop earlier – it has some sort of clasp thing but I can’t seem to open it.’

Mr Rind picked up the amulet and turned it over in his palm, gently tracing its contours and muttering inaudible words to himself, ‘well this is quite a find…quite a find indeed…’

‘What do you think is inside?’ I asked as he continued to trace a finger over the embossed rune thing.

‘Well I think this might be…if I’m not mistaken…’let’s see, Anglo Saxon runes…,’ he opened the book before him, and flicked through it until he found a picture of the rune on my amulet.

‘If I’m not mistaken, this amulet contains the astral body of Joe Swash.’

I blinked and downed my herb tea.

‘Joe Swash…as in that presenter…the one that was in Eastenders?…but he’s not dead…’

‘One doesn’t have to be dead to have an astral body. It’s something that is both part of a being, and separate from it.’

‘Oh…right. So what exactly does it do? How do you open it?’

‘Well, it basically opens when its owner is in a time of need. So I guess you won’t know until that happens.’

So it was confirmed. I knew that the amulet was special, and what’s more – it had chosen me.

‘Well, thank you for the information. How does this work then? What do I owe you?’

‘Ah well, just being able to hold this particular amulet is a pleasure in itself. But yeah… that’ll be £5.’

I handed over the money, somewhat astounded at what a bargain a life changing realisation such as this could be.

‘Thank you very much – I think I’ll get a tea cake with this,’ he said. I thanked Argus Rind again and made my way home.

I spent the afternoon drinking tea and looking up information on Anglo Saxon runes  – I even sprinkled a bit of dried thyme into one cup in a bid to encourage a more ‘open’ style of research. I think I was beginning to come round to the whole herb tea thing , because I did feel like my research was really coming along. I managed to find out that the rune on the amulet went as far back as 625 AD – amazing how something so ancient could be intertwined with the astral body of a TV presenter turned soap star in the 21st Century. Good Morning Mercia indeed.*

*An attempt at a joke – Joe Swash is a presenter on Good Morning Britain, and Mercia was what the midlands was referred to in the 7th Century.

I finished my now tepid thyme tea and got ready to leave for a party that I didn’t want to go to. My illness often causes me to be dragged towards a horizon that I am completely indifferent to, and I simply just allow myself to be dragged like some sort of zombie. I of course took the amulet with me, for it would seem that I had finally acquired a purpose. To possess a purpose that is both tangible and intangible is a rare thing indeed, so I was going to hold onto it. I resolved to always be known as ‘the guy who always has an amulet.’

Unfortunately, my newfound resolve seemed to dissipate as the evening went on. Some of it dissolved when I got trapped in the cross fire of the various conversations taking place upon entering, and now a further amount of resolve was corroding away due to a conversation with a man who was really into playing the bongo drums. ‘As soon as I get back from work, I just have to play them,’ he said, not for the first time. I was searching the deepest recesses of my brain to find anything to say in response, perhaps a rosemary tea would have been a better choice than the can of warm lager I was drinking. With the lack of a mind opening herby beverage, I was only able to reply with,‘Oh..cool…. so what um… what kind of songs do you play?’

‘I’ve been banging out a lot of Flo Rida at the moment,’ he said whilst appearing wide eyed and miming the motions of hitting the bongos to ‘Where Them Girls At?’

I was floored. There was no point in even trying to think of something to say, because there was just nothing I could say. At that moment my mind was a desolate field in 7th century Wessex with nothing in it but dried grass. It felt like I was experiencing eternity, but as I looked up at the grey sky I felt a sort of rumbling beneath. The sensation of something vibrating in my pocket jolted me out of my mental void – I grasped the amulet, holding it tight lest it jump out of my palm. The bongo guy seemed non-plussed with the fact that my clenched fist was shaking rather violently, ‘I play a lot of Pitbull too; you into Pitbull?’ He asked as he cracked open another can of warm Carling, yeasty foam spraying onto his ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’ t-shirt.

Just before I could embarrass myself by asking what Pitbull was, I was saved by the clasp of the amulet snapping back and opening up in my hand. An ethereal figure shot out of it and remained hovering in the kitchen.

‘I am the astral body of Joe Swash,’ it proclaimed in a manner that contained both conviction and resignation. The bongo guy finally seemed to emerge from his bongo hip hop reverie to look up incredulously.

‘Mate, that is mental. How did you get Joe Swash to come?’ He asked, mouth agape.

‘I am the astral body of Joe Swash. I am both the same and separate entity to the person you recognise as Joe Swash,’ it replied so I didn’t have to explain.

‘I also transcend time and space,’ it added flatly.

‘Mate, I can actually play the Eastenders theme tune on the bongos – wait, let me go get my kit!’ Bongo guy ran out of the kitchen and into the hallway to rummage in his bag, and I kneaded a knot of pain in my left temple, formed from the notion that he had brought his bongos with him. That, combined with the prospect that I would have to hear him play them, was a recipe for an oncoming brain haemorrhage.

Luckily, Joe Swash’s astral body came to the rescue once more,

‘I harbour no interest in such follies. As previously stated, I can transcend time and space, and am thus beyond anything of the nature.’ Bongo guy stood in the threshold holding his ‘kit,’ looking not so much hurt, but more like he couldn’t quite comprehend that someone wouldn’t want to hear bongo drums being played. He simply shrugged and walked out and into the lounge where I could hear him sing the refrain, ‘Shawdy got low, low, low, low, low…’ before a vaguely rhythmic thumping.

This was obviously eclipsed by everyone congregating in the kitchen to stare in awe at the astral body of Joe Swash. One girl shouted, ‘oh my god do Mickey from Eastenders!’

It stared blankly at her and said, ‘I do not concern myself with such trivial demands. I will however present an excerpt of Good Morning Britain whilst taking the form of a cairn.’ And with that, the astral body of Joe Swash transformed into a pile of rocks and presented the weather in a humorous manner. There was a ripple of applause throughout the room and I was subsequently always referred to as ‘that guy with the amulet.’