Exclusive Interview: Best Worst Movie Director Michael Paul Stephenson
Unless you're a horror movie fan or you're particularly into the kind of movies that are so bad they're good, you probably haven't even heard of Troll 2, a 1989 "horror" film that spent so long earning a reputation as the worst movie ever made that eventually it found its own Rocky Horror-style fanbase. With the rise of Internet fandom and Troll 2 parties in cities all over the country, the movie has grown into a legitimate phenomenon 20 years after its release, shocking the hell out of everyone who made it and thought they could leave it in the past.
Former child actor and Troll 2 star Michael Paul Stephenson was just one of those people who would have rather forgotten the whole thing, until he released the growing fanbase surrounding the movie would make for a pretty great documentary. Thus we have Best Worst Movie, a chronicle of the global fanbase surrounding Troll 2, the dumbstruck actors reacting to their new fans and recounting the process of making the film, and a director, Claudio Fragasso, who is both thrilled that people are seeing his movie and not quite sure why they think it's a joke.
The film is a riot, funny and heartfelt and a blast to watch, and it manages to be about far more than the phenomenon of cult films. I talked to Stephenson about how he summoned the strength to revisit this particular part of his past, how he dealt with some of the sadder stories about the actors involved (even central figure George Hardy, now a happy-go-lucky Alabama dentist, has seen a few disappointments), and how he interviewed his former director about a movie everyone was making fun of.
Check out the interview below. Best Worst Movie plays this weekend in New York, and will be rolling out all over the country throughout the summer; go here for a list of screening locations and dates.
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