Troma

Super Movie

James Gunn made the movie that ruled the summer, which is really fucking weird. Not because he isn’t talented (because he is), but because his rise to prominence doesn’t make mathematical sense. The odds were astronomical. To think about it in the worst way possible, Lloyd Kaufman — the founder of Troma — is still hustling Troma films wherever he can while his Tromatic protege has the #1 movie of the year. He’s a bona fide mainstream success who got his start rewriting Shakespeare so that Juliet becomes a monster with a giant dick. Now, the world has officially gotten his dick message. But to try to nail down Gunn’s style is impossible. Beyond the genre fuckery of Troma which has proven itself to be a borrowed language, Gunn has also written and/or directed stripped-down horror, a surprisingly family friendly series where a talking dog solves mysteries and a hero satire that’s far smarter and more earnest than Kick-Ass. Gunn has a fantastically twisted sense of humor, but instead of toiling in obscurity or b-level experimentalism, he’s making blockbusters that millions of people love. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a guy who learned everything from the Toxic Avenger.

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science team laser

While not a universally loved horror flick, The Taint got a nice little push from our own Rob Hunter last month when it hit DVD. Now I’d like to extend the support for one of its directors, Drew Bolduc. I don’t know him, I haven’t seen any of his films, but something tells me he could very well be the next guy associated with Troma Entertainment to wind up a big deal. Just don’t be surprised if he directs Guardians of the Galaxy 2 or anything. He’s already working with aliens in his next feature, Science Team, which is currently raising money by crowdfunding via Indiegogo. And the promo video Bolduc sent us this morning makes me think its not just “a bastard child of science fiction and horror” but also the illegitimate offspring of James Gunn and Wes Anderson. But I don’t have any idea what the end result will be like. Therefore it’s not entirely easy to encourage strangers to drop money into the production. Maybe you’d rather pledge your dollars to the documentary about Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder that I’d planned on showcasing this week. All we can do is hope for some awesomely messy visuals courtesy of Bolduc and producer Michele Lombardi, both of whom did the special effects for Troma’s upcoming Return to Nuke ‘Em High. And they’ve got a DP (William Robinette) who worked on Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln! Sure, he was just a P.A. on that film, but who knows, maybe his […]

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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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Saw II, III, and IV mastermind Darren Lynn Bousman turned his talents to a horror remake post-icky torture porn delights with his take on the Troma classic Mother’s Day. A spin on Charles Kaufman and Warren Leight’s 1980 film of the same name, Bousman moves the action of his film out of the woods (boo!) and into suburbia (further boos!), though he appears to hew to the original idea of three bad brothers bent on impressing their sicko mom with lots of blood and torture and crime. Hey, every family is different! Bousman’s film stars Rebecca De Mornay as dear sweet Mother (going back to her Hand That Rocks the Cradle creepy best), with Patrick Flueger, Warren Kole, and Matt O’Leary as her evil spawn. The three younger Koffins rob a bank, go to hide out in their family home, only to find that Mother lost it to foreclosure. That’s too bad for the house’s new owners and all their innocent party guests. Homeownership is a bitch – and so is Mother. The film first played way back at Fantasic Fest 2010, and Fure wasn’t too crazy about it then, but I’m willing to bet it can stir up some basic scares. Take a looksie after the break.

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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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Hobo with a Shotgun is a gritty, nasty, depraved movie that no parent should let their child watch…and I loved every goddamn minute of it. It’s rare that we film journos are given the opportunity to be reduced to slimy, foul-mouthed 12-year-olds within the safe confines of a movie theater, but I’ll be a tiny little bastard if this film didn’t turn me into…a tiny little bastard. Its brazen conceit and relentless insanity touched upon all the things that pint-sized Brian loved about watching movies. But, as Attack the Block taught us, it’s not simply enough to compile the various pieces of genre films in a room together and expect them to play nice. And while Hobo with a Shotgun isn’t aiming for the same socially relevant subtext and deeper meaning of Attack the Block, within the rules it establishes from the onset, it shoots for the same high score in excellence. Scratch the surface of Hobo with a Shotgun, divorce yourself from the wickedly indecent content, and you will find a damn fine film that excels on almost every technical and artistic level. I am incredibly impressed with Jason Eisener as a director. There is a certain expectation with which one enters a film knowing that it began life as a trailer created to win a contest. But Eisener goes to such great lengths to tell his story in a way that is both stylishly entertaining and visually interesting that it’s hard not to be taken in by it. […]

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The Coroner

While Darren Bousman’s ‘Mother’s Day’ remake is currently without a release date, we jumped into the way back machine to check out his inspiration.

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mothersday

As if you needed an excuse to dust off that VHS copy of Troma’s Mother’s Day this weekend, we’re getting word that a remake is brewing, and the mind behind Repo! is directing.

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