Following a rowdy, randy party, Lloyd Kaufman and his Troma Studio team came to the Esquire Theater in Denver, to promote the TromaDance film festival, take questions and screen their studio-defining classic, The Toxic Avenger.
For the uninitiated, a little bit of back story: Troma is the oldest independent film studio in America (celebrating “35-years of Reel independence”) and specializes in sensational, campy, sex and gore-drenched movies that were big in the VHS and drive-in era of the 80’s and are still popular guilty pleasures today. In addition to the four films about Toxie, “The First Superhero from New Jersey”, Troma has also released the colorfully titled Surf Nazis Must Die!, Class of Nuke ‘Em High, Rabid Grannies, Redneck Zombies, Tromeo and Juliet and the critically acclaimed Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. They’ve also distributed Cannibal: The Musical from Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame, and the stylish, scary Def By Temptation, which got great reviews and is the film Wes Craven’s Vampire in Brooklyn tried to be.
Kaufman is the face of Troma: he is the President of the company, (which he co-founded with Michael Herz), directed/produced most of the many films in the Troma library, written priceless books on filmmaking, tirelessly travels the globe to promote his company and is one of the hardest working men in show business. I found him to be incredibly nice, approachable and coming off like a lovable relative, rather than a slick mogul who specializes in well-made B-movies. Kaufman is a class act, even when his movies feature explosive diarrhea (for starters) and, to say the least, aren’t for everyone.
TromaDance, which Kaufman and crew are touring the country to promote, is the OTHER big January film festival in Utah, a remarkably accessible venue with no VIP seating, just genre fans having a good time, getting to see debut works and go cross-eyed with Troma goodness. It runs Jan. 20th-23rd. Once you look at the website and their lineup, you’ll wonder why you haven’t gone before.
Along with Kaufman was Richard Taylor, a friend to the site (we interviewed him at last year’s Denver HorrorFest), a real character, and the director of The Misled Romance of Incest Boy and Cannibal Girl, his deliriously revolting short film, which screened before The Toxic Avenger. This is the second time I’ve seen Stanley’s film, but on the big screen, it is twice as disgusting and is one of the ultimate dry-heave inducing, cinematic endurance tests (yes, I mean that as high praise).
Here are some other nuggets of info Kaufman revealed at the post-screening Q&A:
· A fifth Toxic Avenger movie is in the planning stage, with the plot possibly being Toxie’s attempt at Fatherhood.
· In the works is a 20th Anniversary DVD of Def by Temptation with hopefully a Director’s Commentary and Samuel L. Jackson’s involvement (Jackson co-stars in an early role).
· Marisa Tomei can be spotted as an extra in The Toxic Avenger (yes, she co-starred with Mickey Rourke, Joe Pesci, Sylvester Stallone, Phillip Seymour Hoffman AND Toxie!).
Special thanks to Kaufman, Taylor and the Troma team, who made a theater full of Troma enthusiasts feel like a party of the family…if that family was oozing blood and spewing diarrhea.