A Cautionary Tale Against the Modern Ills of Society
By Marcella Pansini
Troll 2 (1990) is a family comedy adventure that is widely considered to be one of the worst movies ever made. The film follows a young boy named Joshua Waites and his family during a “home exchange” vacation in the rural farming community of Nilbog. However, things very quickly go wrong when their family begins to be pursued by the town’s vegetarian Goblins whose ultimate goal is to transform the Waites family into plants so that they can be eaten. Troll 2 acts as an extended metaphor and warning against those that lead a vegetarian lifestyle and a criticism of its opposition to traditional forms of eating in the United States.
The Goblins in Troll 2 are best described as carnivorous vegetarians. This essentially means that the Goblins are repelled by meat and do not eat it directly. However, the plant material they consume must come from human tissue and organs. In the film, the Goblins trick humans into consuming a green goo that they place inside items such as milk, baked goods, ice cream and various forms of produce. These foods cause a breakdown in the human body that transforms them into an edible green ooze, which is what Goblins primarily eat.
The film’s concept of Goblins murdering humans in order to sustain their vegetarian diet creates a thinly veiled theme of criticism against vegetarians. Namely, the ways that a vegetarian lifestyle stands in opposition to what is seen as a traditional, meat-eating existence throughout the United States. In Troll 2, vegetarianism is seen as unnatural. The vegetarians are the villains, as they are not only destroying humans but an entire way of life. By casting the vegetarian Goblins as the villains, the film takes a stance against vegetarian lifestyles and indirectly asks the audience what will happen if we support lifestyles that do not include eating meat. Here, the green ooze is a substitute for the blood associated with most horror movies. Instead of using blood, green matter, and those who want to eat it are seen as evil. The scene described depicts a close up of one of the Goblins eating bright green goo, which is the girls transformed body. The shots focus on the Goblin’s face rather than what was previously the girl’s body, shows the heartlessness of the Goblins. In addition, by the film designing the Goblin as having large eyes with small pupils and a long pointed nose further emphasizes how distant they are from humans (0:27:36).
People often associate vegetarianism with turning away from dominant religions. In the film, the Goblins’ religious gathering centers not on worshipping God but on the shared belief in the dangers of meat, “Symbol of original sin! Flesh is consumed by the human race that is so dear to us. Flesh, and by flesh I mean all that stinkin’, disgusting meat! The humans nourish themselves with these, violating their own bodies. Infecting themselves. Creating incurable ailments” (0:47:56). This quote shows the perspective that Goblins have of meat in that it is considered sinful. In the image captured, Joshua is captured by the Goblins after listening in on their sermon and he is force-fed ice cream in order for him to be transformed into a plant and eaten. The scene features a closeup of Joshua’s face in order to depict his discomfort and focuses on his screwed up eyes and stuck out tongue to demonstrate his fear and disgust. The camera angle is filmed from a slightly higher point that looks down at Joshua, isolating him in the frame, portraying him as submissive and overpowered. It also sets up the “beginning of the end” for the Waites family and the way they will soon be defeated by the Goblins.
In conclusion, vegetarianism is shown to be evil or looked down upon in the film by portraying Goblins as villainous figures that are distant from humans. Omnivorous lifestyles are believed to be the norm and therefore depictions of anything else are not accepted.
Kern, Fred. “Froedipus Rex.” “Best Worst Propaganda Movie” – An Analysis of Troll 2, 1 Jan. 1970, froedipusrex.blogspot.com/2014/02/best-worst-propaganda-movie-analysis-of.html.
“Troll 2.” A Regrettable Moment of Sincerity, regrettablesincerity.com/?p=653.
“Troll 2: A Thematic Analysis.” The Cutprice Guignol, 2 July 2015, thethreepennyguignol.com/2015/07/02/troll-2-a-thematic-analysis/.