Behold Master Filmmaker Lloyd Kaufman!
I’ve known Lloyd Kaufman for many years. He went to Yale. He is proud of that fact. He is also proud of the fact that he runs the longest-lasting independent film studio in the world. He believes in freedom of speech, art above all else, and lots and lots of blood and nudity. He rejected Madonna after an audition, and still doesn’t know whatever happened to her.
Return To Class of Nuke ’em High!
Here is the official trailer for Lloyd’s latest masterwork:
WARNING! FULL FRONTAL NUDITY IN THIS TEASER – VERY VERY NSFW – OR EVEN YOUR OWN EYES!
Well, hard to argue about this one…it’s Troma in spirit and execution – and of course green foam and blood….
“Return” is scheduled for release in 2013, but if you head to Troma.com, you can see the hundreds of films they have in their library – can’t wait for this one to keep the spirit of Troma alive…
The Toxic Avenger: The Japanese Cut!
Wait – MORE Toxie?!?!?!
That’s right! Troma Entertainment just released the Japanese cut of the Toxic Avenger!
This Toxie is longer than the U.S. director’s cut and includes an additional four minutes of footage starring our fearless mutated friend. It also includes trailers from the Toxic Avenger franchise, production stills, an intro by Lloyd Kaufman and “Tromatic extras,” which can only mean more glorious schlock!
Why stop there? Just get the whole “TOX BOX” and be done with it!
I first met Lloyd at the Cannes Film Festival, where his Troma team annually wrecked havoc on the world’s most glamorous film festival, all to create awareness for Troma Films.
This is me surrounded by Sgt. Kabukiman and Tiffany Shepis. The other Troma guy is forgotten to time, but i’m sure a fan will remind me…no disrespect intended. If you ever wondered what it would be like to go to the south of France with Lloyd, just keep reading and you will see.
I have always admired the tenacity of Lloyd Kaufman’s vision. And I have admired how he has created a dedicated fan base that loves Troma, worships Lloyd, and believes in independent art above all else. He has mentored many who have moved on to great careers in entertainment; some of their work is on this list.
Lloyd has also published a series of best-selling books about filmmaking, including this one: “All I Need To Know About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger.” It was written with the great James Gunn.
OK, here is a classic shot of a younger James Gunn in Cannes with Troma! More on James Gunn later. But Gunn graduated from Troma and has gone on be a great Writer/Director on such films as:
And of course, one of my top ten revenge films of all time:
If you haven’t yet seen “Slither” or “Super”, you must stop reading right now and right that wrong. This is the kind of filmmaking that needs to be embraced, or you will be doomed to a lifetime of “the stuff that is so bad, so bad, so bad…and you know what I’m talking about” type of movie that winds up on 3,000 movie screens at the same time, while some of the best movies being made struggle to get released theatrically at all.
Sorry, got carried away. Back to Troma. As I already told you, Lloyd and James have written the history of Troma already, a hilariously funny and very honestly true story. But I thought you’d find it interesting to see what other people say as well.
Here is what is posted on Wikipedia: “Troma films are B-movies known for their surrealistic nature, along with their use of shocking imagery; some would categorize them as “shock exploitation films”. They typically contain overt sexuality, nudity, and intentionally sadistic, gory, and blatant graphic violence, so much that the term “Troma film” has become synonymous with these characteristics. Troma reuses the same props, actors, and scenes repeatedly, sometimes to save money. At a certain point, however, this became another hallmark of Troma. Examples include a severed leg, a penis monster, and the flipping and exploding car filmed for the movie Sgt. Kabukiman, NYPD, which is used in place of any other car that needs to crash and explode.”
And there you have it. If you need more, read the books, such as “Make Your Own Damn Movie!” Or buy the box set of documentaries all about the filmmaking process….Lloyd proves it: don’t claim you want to make a movie, MAKE A MOVIE! He shows you how with a ton of great insight from Writers and Directors such as John G. Avildsen, the Director of “Rocky” – and George Romero, Director of all of the “Night Of The Living Dead” films. James Gunn is on here as are Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Eli Roth and Stan Lee. It’s a treasure trove of great information, the best “how to make a movie” series ever done…
Troma has produced or acquired many early films featuring rising talents such as Carmen Electra (The Chosen One), Billy Bob Thornton (Chopper Chicks in Zombietown), Vanna White (Graduation Day), Kevin Costner (Sizzle Beach, U.S.A.), Samuel L. Jackson (Def by Temptation), Marisa Tomei (The Toxic Avenger), Vincent D’Onofrio (The First Turn-On!), Paul Sorvino (Cry Uncle!), James Gunn (Tromeo and Juliet), and Trey Parker and Matt Stone (Cannibal! The Musical).
There is a treasure trove of Troma material online: Lloyd and Troma have been written up in a ton of film journals and fanzines around the world…and Lloyd always sells the same message: preserving and producing independent art. So let’s celebrate that now!
There are so many Troma classics, with titles like these:
Yes, KILLER CONDOM. A movie Lloyd acquired and unleasehed on the US…just another example of promoting independent filmmaking from around the world. And of course, always have a crazy title, such as:
Chopper Chicks In Zombietown
CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL – Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s first film!
A NYMPHOID BARBARIAN IN DINOSAUR HELL
FAT GUY GOES NUTZOID
TEENAGE CATGIRLS IN HEAT
DEF BY TEMPTATION
SGT. KABUKIMAN, NYPD!
NOW STOP YOUR FIGHTING! Any or all of these classics could have been on the list: unfortunately, I had to keep it to ten, and here they are:
THE TROMATIC CLASSICS UNVEILED!
10 – Class Of Nuke ‘Em High! 1986. By 1986, it seems that Lloyd had latched onto a great idea: crazy “over the top” movie titles, and lots of crazy actors acting crazy, tearing off limbs, and going topless, all with a punk rock soundtrack.
The pupils at a high school next to a nuclear power plant start acting and looking strange after buying contaminated drugs from a plant worker. That’s it, a simple plot upon which to hang anarchy in all its forms.
There are so many films that could be listed here, but “Class Of Nuke ’em High” wins out because it is, in every way, a great way to start dipping into the Troma library.
9 – Mothers Day. 1980. Lloyd made movies, and he also acquired films and got them theatrical distribution.
Here is the plot in a nutshell: Loving sons always do what their mothers tell them to… even if it’s to kill! A mad matriarch and her two maniac sons kidnap and torture three women in their backwoods cabin!
Here’s what one reviewer on Amazon.com said: “Mother’s Day is a classic piece of early 80’s cinema that demandingly pelts the viewer with violence, gore, black humor and wit. This is more than a low budget splatter-fest and if you keep your eyes and ears peeled you’ll catch all kinds of sub-texts and social commentaries that this type of picture is usually devoid of. Not surprisingly, Mother’s Day remains as caustic and telling 25 years after its release as it was in 1980.”
And guess what? This year a new version of “Mothers Day” was released in 2010, starring Rebecca De Mornay…
And don’t worry, Lloyd shows up in the movie in a cameo as well!
8 – Troma’s WAR. 1988. This is Troma’s masterpiece. Don’t take my word for it, look at the description on the Troma website!
TROMA’S WAR is Troma’s masterpiece. Directed by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz, TROMA’S WAR is packed with gargantuan battle scenes, heart stopping stunts, and never-before-seen special effects. TROMA’S WAR is the action film that all good citizens of the world can be proud of and enjoy! TROMA’S WAR is Troma’s answer to PLATOON and APOCALYPSE NOW. It is the first war picture that combines satire, sex, special effects make-up, stunts, gore and a beautiful love story.
Lloyd LOVES this movie. He has told me so. And I believe him. It is terrific…From IMDB: “A small group of typical Tromaville citizens find themselves in the path of a terrorist army controlled by the power elite. The freedom of Tromaville and the world is at stake! Troma’s War creates new kinds of heroes. A used car salesman, a handsome environmentalist, an obese junk-food gourmand, a seventy-year-old housewife, some sensational young women, a year old jingoistic baby and more sensational women all become deadly soldiers… ”
Go to WAR and make Lloyd happy!
7 – Surf Nazis Must Die! 1987. When the grandson of a gun wielding woman is murdered by Neo-Nazi surf punks in the post-apocalyptic future, this grandma hunts them down for some bloodthirsty revenge.
Here is how Amazon describes this movie: In the near future, a Californian beach has been taken over by a ruthless gang called “The Surf Nazis” whom are modern day Neo-Nazis and their leader nicknamed Adolph who literally can surf and would hurt anyone who enters their territory or gets in their way. When an African-American fellow named Leroy gets murdered by them, his mother sets off to buy weapons as she plots to take revenge for her son’s death.
This is basically Troma’s version of “Beach Blanket Bingo”, and all the better for it! This is also an example of the wealth of material that Troma includes on their DVD’s. Look at what is added to this release:
Introduction by Lloyd Kaufman
The first ever interactive tour of Troma Studios
Troma intelligence test
Gnarly observations by director Peter George and producer Robert Tinnell
Trailers for other Troma movies
Lost Scenes of Surf Mayhem
Scenes from the “Tromaville Cafe” TV show
Link to the Troma Website
Very special private Troma Public Service Announcements
The Aroma du Troma
Another reason to love Troma – they have mastered the art of “loaded up” DVD extras…more on this soon!
6 – Stuck On You! 1983. Greetings from Tromaville! Before he latched on a great blend of outrageous titles and sex-n-violence, Troma was into sex comedies: low budget movies that were what I call “good clean naughty fun!”
A couple are in a legal battle over palimony, and a judge/angel Gabriel (Professor Irwin Corey) helps them resolve their problems by taking them through a tour of historical disfunctional couples.
Fans should also seek out Lloyd Kaufman’s “The First Turn-On” and “Squeeze Play!” as other examples of this era of Troma film.
Here is what an Amazon viewer says: “I was shocked to find this movie was released on DVD. Seriously, I don’t know how this movie is not more well known. I die every time I watch it. I’d rank it up there with Animal House and Fast Times. It’s hard to believe it even came out on Troma when you compare it to the other movies they’ve made.”
Here we all are in Cannes one year: E! News Host Steve Kmetko, who allowed my wife Alex, along with James Gunn, turn him into “Dolphinman” for “Sex On The Riviera”. Lloyd is on the left, by the way…
Every year I was in Cannes, Lloyd and his Troma team were up for any shenanigans…and their tireless energy is captured in Lloyd’s documentary about life at the Cannes film festival. If you want to see the best documentary about the pomp, circumstance, and sordid underbelly that is Cannes, this is the movie for you!
Amazon: “You have to give the Troma people some credit – they’re not afraid to stab themselves in the eyeball from time to time. “All the Love you Cannes” apparently began life as a simple (and pretty damned useful) guide to surviving at the Cannes Film Festival on a limited budget. Places like Cannes are crucial to an independent studio like Troma – they attract international buyers, they pick up small, … films for cheap, they get precious screenings for their films. But they also promote themselves, and here’s where “ATLYC” turns a little ugly.
The Troma Team is willing to try every stunt imaginable to get a little publicity, including walking the streets of Cannes dressed as various Troma heroes, staging lesbian make-out sessions, hilariously crashing Jean-Claude Van Damme’s “press conference,” where JCVD shows up for about 2 seconds.
All well and good, but gradually we start to see a struggle between Scott, who prefers a businesslike approach, and Doug, the incredibly obnoxious “Director of Marketing” who believes that drunkenly harrassing the citizens of Cannes is good, clean marketing.
Troma Star Tiffany Shepis was there many years, and I was lucky enough to shoot a ton of segments with her and Troma when I was at E! – and Lloyd and his group were always eager to help us out. I love this documentary, especially when Lloyd harasses the Warner Brothers Exec’s dog…priceless!
Oh, Lloyd will say that I’m the reason Troma was thrown out of the carlton Hotel…he might be right, but it didn’t take much for Lloyd to start flinging blood around, trust me.
4 – Terror Firmer. – “A homicidal maniac is on the loose in the city and the low budget film crew on a Troma movie have the power to stop them!”
“Terror Firmer” is Lloyd’s “8-1/2” or “Day For Night” – his “movie within a movie”, a chance to show the filmmaking process while still delivering Troma-sized thrills.
Lloyd Kaufman plays Larry Benjamin, a blind movie Director who just wants to complete his film. Yes, this is the plot of Woody Allen’s “Hollywood Ending”, except Lloyd’s movie came out years earlier. Here is a scene of Lloyd trying to direct his movie:
Larry Benjamin: “Quiet! Quiet, quiet, quiet! What’s going on here? I’m the director! I am the director! I’m not saying that because I’m on some kind of ego trip or on some kind of bullshit artistic vision! I’m telling you this because I’ve been directing ten-cent movies for 30 years and I think I know a little bit about what I am doing! And I know a little something about the world because I’m a 52-year-old manic asshole! It’s a horrible world! Starvation, dismemberment, torture, rape, corn-holing… it’s horrible out there, but it’s worse here in the movie set! We have danger… and stupidity! I don’t want someone dying on my set! If someone dies here, I’ll blow my brains out and it will be your fault! My career will be over and it’ll be your fault! Now, if I have to go around wiping your asses, just let me know. I’ll just get some toilet paper and go around to each and every one of you wiping everyone asses. Do you want me to wipe your asses?
[everyone mumbles ‘no’]
Larry Benjamin: I don’t believe you. But we’d better soldier on. Now, let’s make some art!”
I believe that this is a monologue form Lloyd’s heart. It sums up all that he believes…he might disagree, but who cares when he can do THIS to Times Square:
No special effect here, just a naked Troma employee racing through Times Square. “Let’s Make Some Art, Indeed!”
Here is what Amazon says about “Terror Firmer”: Honored at film festivals the world over and revered by tromites and tromettes worldwide, Terror Firmer is an unforgettable look into the set of one of Troma’s movies of the future! Featuring director Lloyd Kaufman in the role of blind director Larry Benjamin, Terror Firmer tells the story of a low budget film crew trying to make The Toxic Avenger Part IV, only to find themselves stalked by a sexually confused killer! A satirical schock-comic tro-masterpiece, Terror Firmer stands as the tro-magnum opus of blood, breasts, gore, satirical laughs that will stick with you forever! And that’s not even including the extra features! A second disc features the feature length making-of documentary, “Farts of Darkness,” which is must-see viewing for anyone interested in making their own damn movie! With over two hours of extra features, Terror Firmer delivers the troma-riffic goods!
Yes, once again, this DVD is LOADED with extras, including a full-length “no holds barred” documentary that looks deep within the filmmaking process…as fascinating and fun as the film itself! These documentaries are as honest and indepth as any ever released on DVD – and entire additioinal movie added to the DVD – what a deal…
And of course, Joe Lynch has a role in the film…Joe went on to write and direct “Wrong Turn 2”, wrote and directed a sequence of “Chillerama” and has the upcoming “Knights Of Badassdom” with Peter Dinklage and Steve Zahn.
Two years ago at Comic-Con, I took part in a roast of Lloyd Kaufman, and Joe Lynch told a story about how he used to appear as “The Toxic Avenger” at conventions…and once was so sick during an appearance that he vomited into the mask he was wearing. The story got a big laugh.
Without missing a beat, Lloyd got up and told the crowd that, “what Joe didn’t tell you, was that he took the vomit that was in the mask and turned it into the screenplay for “Wrong Turn 2.”
And that is why we love Lloyd.
3 – Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead!. 2006.
When the American Chicken Bunker, a military-themed fried-chicken chain, builds a restaurant on the site of an ancient Indian burial ground, local protesters aren’t the only ones crying fowl! The previous tenants, fueled by a supernatural force, take “possession” of the food and those who eat it, and the survivors discover that they must band together before they themselves become the other white meat!
Crazy Ron: You fools! This restaurant was built on ancient Tromahawk tribe sacred burial ground! Get out of here while you still can! Get out! Save yourselves! Save yourselves!
[changing his tone]
Crazy Ron: And… Uh, I’ll have one Sloppy Jose value meal.
People take Troma films for granted: they assume that critics must hate them, but that’s not true: The New York Times routinely gives Traoma’s new films great reviews, because they get what Troma stands for…for example, here is what they said about “Poultrygeist”:
“IT IS JUST ABOUT AS PERFECT AS A FILM PREDICATED ON THE JOYS OF PROJECTILE VOMITING AND EXPLOSIVE DIARRHEA CAN BE!”
It is also a DVD loaded with extras: “Poultry In Motion”, the full-length documentary about the making of the film; audio commentary from Lloyd and Co-Screenwriter Gabe Friedman; a “happy ending” with Ron Jeremy, a short course on moviemaking, music videos and deleted scenes…
Gabe worked with Lloyd for a long time before he headed out to Hollywood and worked on a number of G4 shows – another Troma alumni doing great!
2 – THE TOXIC AVENGER QUADRILOGY! Forget Alien: THIS is the Quadrilogy you need to own! Lloyd created New Jersey’s first Superhero, and 4 films into the story, it just keeps getting better…
Here is the IMDB summary of “The Toxic Avenger”: “This is the story of Melvin, the Tromaville Health Club mop boy, who inadvertently and naively trusts the hedonistic, contemptuous and vain health club members, to the point of accidentally ending up in a vat of toxic waste. The devastating results then have a transmogrification effect, his alter ego is released, and the Toxic Avenger is born, to deadly and comical results. The local mop boy is now the local Superhero, the saviour of corruption, thuggish bullies and indifference. Troma classic with good make-up effects and stunts, a pleasant surprise indeed.”
Follow Lloyd on twitter, and go to the Troma website for updates on everything Toxie – whether its the latest n the fifth installment, or an update on a big-budget Hollywood remake…
“Citizen Toxie” is the fourth in the series, and included “Hank The Angry Drunk Dwarf” as GOD – but of course it did. The DVD also includes a full-length documentary on the making of the movie, and a ton of deleted scenes.
In 2006 a novelization of The Toxic Avenger was released. It was co-written by Kaufman and long time Troma employee Adam Jahnke. “The Toxic Avenger” is the movie that is most often mentioned when discussing Troma, but there is one that must be remembered as, I truly believe, a masterpiece of creativity…
1 – Tromeo & Juliet. Behold the most Tromatic masterpiece of all. This was written by James Gunn, Directed by Lloyd, and truly stands as a masterwork. As Variety said, “Shakespeare is transformed into a NO-HOLDS BARD!”
As the poster says so beautifully: “BODY PIERCING. KINKY SEX. DISMEMBERMENT. THE THINGS THAT MADE SHAKESPEARE GREAT!”
When I was in Cannes, my wife Alex was interviewing Kennth Branagh for his 4-hour opus “Hamlet.” She told him he wasn’t the only Shakespeare film in Cannes, and showed him the “Tromeo & Juliet” poster. He read the words above in his classic British accent, then added, “perhaps I can get my soundtrack done by the ASS PONYS!”
I put that entire sequence in that year’s “Sex On The Riviera” special, told Lloyd about it, and wasn’t too surprised when, 6 months later I got the latest Troma press kit, which included the Kenneth Branagh interview! God bless Lloyd!
Lemmy from Motorhead has a small role, as do many of other familiar Troma faces…
Juliet Capulet: Parting is such sweet sorrow.
Tromeo Que: Yeah, it totally sucks.
Detective Ernie Scalus: Now you fucks have gone too far! Goddamn heads landing on cars while Long Island families are singing ‘Found a Peanut’! They found a peanut, all right, honey. They found a peanut of death!
Bravo, Lloyd and James, BRAVO!
Congratulations to Lloyd and Troma on the release of their latest film, Father’s Day! Lloyd will be traveling around the country in early 2012 to promote the release of the film…
Here is what Variety just said about the film: “Winnipeg collective Astron-6’s first feature, “Father’s Day,” is a gleefully tasteless quasi-grindhouse nasty that’s funnier than most of the many such parodic cheesefests that have been created since, well, “Grindhouse.” Though the result is inevitably hit-and-miss, its attention to retro cliches and stylistic details, as well as a pretty good laughs-to-groaners ratio, will delight jaded genre fans — several of whom voted it best feature at Toronto After Dark last month. More horror fests and midnight slots are sure to follow; Troma plans a January theatrical launch.”
Congrats Lloyd, and here’s to making independent art for years to come!