For over 40 years, Troma Studios has blazed its own bloody, slime-covered trail in B-Movies, and cranked out over-the-top hits like The Toxic Avenger, The Class Of Nuke 'Em High, Poultrygeist, and Tromeo And Juliet. In this interview, Lloyd Kauffman talks about his films which are the subject of never-before-seen film stills, rare posters, candid interviews, and buckets of fake blood seen in D.E.'s upcoming The Art Of Troma HC (9781524107284)!
D.E.: For those that don't know, what is Troma?
Lloyd Kaufman: Michael Herz and I established in 1974 after meeting at Yale. Troma is the longest-running independent movie studio in history, and it's one of the very few genuine brand names in the industry. World famous for movie classics like Kaufman's "The Toxic Avenger," Trey Parker's "Cannibal, the Musical," "Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead,'' "Class of Nuke 'em High,'' Charles Kaufman's "Mother's Day" and "Tromeo & Juliet,'' Troma's seminal films are now being remade as big-bud get mainstream productions by the likes of Brett Ratner and Steven Pink. Early work of many of today's luminaries can be found in Troma's library of 1000 films, cartoons, TV shows and shorts. Jenna Fischer, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Costner, Fergie, Vincent D'Onofrio, Samuel L. Jackson, James Gunn and Eli Roth are just a few.
Troma movies have not just been influential, but have also been disrupting media for 44 years.
D.E.: How is it that Troma has remained an independent movie studio for over forty years?
Lloyd Kaufman: We've prospered for over 40 years because we make movies of the future. An audienc e may love "Tromeo & Juliet,'' or they may hate "Return to Return to Nuke 'Em High aka Vol. 2," but they will never forget "Citizen Toxie." All the movies that we have made are fueled by our hearts, our minds, and our souls. And of course we always keep our fans in mind. We know that the main reason Troma has been around for 44 years is that our very loyal and active fans make movies, promote our movies, and help us financially in a world that is run by a small number of mega conglomerates.
We love our fans and they love us.
D.E.: What makes a great Troma movie poster?
Lloyd Kaufman: People have to look twice at a Troma poster, unlike any other posters the industry offers. Not only has Troma discovered brilliant new actors and directors, we've also discovered brilliant new artists whose work is more daring and attention-getting than the mainstream. A Troma movie poster needs to c apture the themes of the movie in one shot.
Unusual titles like "A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell,'' "Surf Nazis Must Die," and "Bloodsucking Freaks" add to the uniqueness and originality of Troma. Pair these titles with a just as unique piece of artwork and you have a classic Troma poster.
D.E.: Is there such thing as "TOO gross" for a Troma film?
Lloyd Kaufman: Not only are our movies extremely entertaining and have sex and violence that some may consider "too gross," our fans know that every movie we make deals with important political and sociological issues. For instance, "The Toxic Avenger" was about the negative impacts society has made to the environment and "Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead" was about the rampant toxicity spread by fast food chains.
No. As long as there is artistic expression inside all the slime, blood and various bodily fluids, we're good with it. As Shake speare said, "To thine own self be true." As long as that maxim exists, there is nothing too gross or controversial for Troma .
Our movies are entertaining and challenging, and we do not compromise. Our fans love that fact.