Lloyd Kaufman

Lloyd Kaufman is the Rodney Dangerfield of low-budget, B-level horror movies. He gets no respect. Even Roger Corman, who is notorious for cranking out genre films for profit since the 1950s, has respect of his Hollywood peers. But in Corman’s shadow is Kaufman’s exploitation studio Troma, which has been generating marginal and low-quality entertainment for years…almost 40 years, to be exact. Troma began in 1974 as a joint venture between Kaufman and his buddy from Yale, Michael Hertz. Over the years, the studio has pulled their own fair share of Cormans by featuring would-be stars in their earliest roles, including Kevin Costner in Sizzle Beach U.S.A., Billy Bob Thornton in Chopper Chicks in Zombietown, and the comedy team of Trey Parker and Matt Stone with Cannibal: The Musical. In 1985, Troma broke out with their tongue-in-cheek success The Toxic Avenger, a low-budget hit that spawned three sequels and gave Troma its poster boy for its studio. Soon, Troma became a staple in the direct-to-video market with additional hits like Class of Nuke‘Em High, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell, and Surf Nazis Must Die! To celebrate its upcoming 40th Anniversary in Tromaville, Troma is offering dozens of their movies for free on the Troma YouTube Channel. Films will be continually added to the line-up, but the channel is opening with the following titles:

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The Coroner

Troma is many things to many people. Scratch that. Troma is either one of two things to some people. If you grew up watching classic Troma flicks like The Toxic Avenger, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, or Tromeo & Juliet, you probably have a soft spot for the low budget film company headed by icon Lloyd Kaufman. If, however, you missed out on these classics and instead just picked up some of the more recent offerings, you probably think Troma is a pile of shit. I have a lot of respect for Troma. I’m a big fan of Lloyd Kaufman and I’ve read three of his “Damn Movie” books. History should remember him in the same vein as Roger Corman – a low budget businessman with a vision. Few people have had a bigger impact on the world of independent film. Even I must admit that in recent years, the offerings from Troma have not always been fantastic. Much like how Corman disappeared for years, Kaufman too shrank back from the public eye. Movies were made, but little attention was paid. With the recent success of his books though, Kaufman and Troma are coming back in a big way and leading that charge is Father’s Day.

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The Coroner

There comes a time in every man’s life when he has to take a risk. When looking for a title to review this week, I was faced with a dilemma. Namely, I was tired and stuck on my computer, which mean Blu-ray was out of the question. I could have spent ages pouring through the Netflix queue, or I could dive into “the pile.” Every critic has a pile – movies you’ve been sent to review that aren’t topical, timely, or generally wanted. Stuff you should review, but won’t feel bad if you never get to it. I went to the pile and pulled Psycho Sleepover, a low budget movie filmed in 2007 and released by Troma in 2010 and sent my way in 2011. Psycho Sleepover is a strange flick. It’s low budget to the point that it was pretty much literally all filmed in one location – the producer’s house. A lot of the people behind the camera end up in front of it. The quality isn’t so great. The plot is non-sense. Basically 30 psycho-slasher killers walk out of an unlocked Asylum and head to a sleepover to get their murder on while a couple of dudes make a ton of dick jokes and masturbate. In “The Making Of” extra, the co-director says of the film: it’s pretty retarded, but it’s awesome. He was 60% right.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we talk with independent film legend and Troma co-founder Lloyd Kaufman and then bad movie expert Eric D. Snider to try to figure out why we love stuff that’s so bad it’s good. Plus, Jeremy Smith from Aint It Cool and Germain Lussier from /film return to do battle in the Movie News Pop Quiz and discuss the brilliant or accidental viral marketing of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Let the swear words commence. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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