A Life in Blood – Tales Of A Horror Queen Sept 2017

A Life in Blood – Tales Of A Horror Queen Sept 2017

Attack of the Killer Chickens had it’s only NYC screening at TromaDance! We celebrated this Horror Queen’s birthday in full b-rated style! This is a FREE event hosted by the king of B himself Lloyd Kaufman and located at The People’s Improv Theater in NYC. It was a huge honor to recently have my directorial debut, Attack of the Killer Chickens screen at TromaDance! It was really awesome to have my film open the film festival!

“Congrats Genoveva! Your film is a fowl masterpiece!” -Lloyd Kaufman

What is TromaDance? The TromaDance Film Festival is a free annual independent film festival organized by Troma Entertainment. Founded in 1999, TromaDance was originally held in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah, operating concurrently alongside the Sundance Film Festival in order to showcase an independent alternative to Sundance’s perceived mainstream offerings. Between 2010 and 2013, the festival had been relocated to various locations throughout New Jersey. Since 2014, TromaDance has relocated to New York City. (from Wikipedia)

Attack of the Killer Chickens is a short film and my directorial debut. So far it has been accepted to 20 film festivals and been nominated for five awards including Best Visual Effects, Best Screenplay, Best Spoof, and Best Concept. I wrote this film, directed it, produced it, and acted in it.

I am incredibly thankful to an amazing cast and crew. But perhaps the real stars of the film are the chicken puppets created by Rocco George. Rocco and I are huge fans of Jim Henson and his puppet creations for the film pay homage to Henson’s vision.

Synopsis: It’s the dawn of a new age, a chicken age. Attack of the Killer Chickens! Running time: 6 minutes 30 seconds Director, writer, producer, and actress of Attack of the Killer Chickens: Genoveva Rossi. Starring: Genoveva Rossi, Edward X. Young, Rocco George, Nick Petito and with Pamela Martin as Jill. Music by James Hostomsky.

IMDb: http://m.imdb.com/title/tt4942096/?ref_=m_fn_al_1

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/Attackofthekillerchickens/

How did I hatch the idea for this of the wall chicken film? It all started with me learning that there were actually more chickens in the world presently than humans. My NYC acting pal Pamela Martin asked me if I had any ideas for a short film and I told her of my chicken horror idea. I like to this of Attack of the Killer Chickens as the Citizen Kane of crazy chicken film.

What inspired me to create this film? The films that inspired me the most were Pink Flamingos, The Birds, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Planet of the Apes, Plan 9 From Outer Space, and Night of the Living Dead. For the first film I directed I wanted to go back to the beginning and explore some of the early low budget films that inspired me as a kid. Films so bad they’re good! So of course it was so fitting to have Attack of the Killer Chickens screen at a Troma event!

What are the future plans for Attack of the Killer Chickens? The short film will be continuing it’s epic run at more film festivals all over the world. Preproduction has begun on the feature film! If anyone is interested in getting involved or investing in the film they can email m at Genovevarossi@outlook.com.

From Troma and Lloyd Kaufman please check out:
Watch 250 free movies on Troma’s movies youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Tromamovies

 

                                                                                   Yours in screams,
Genoveva Rossi

Check out my website www.genovevarossi.com
Also follow me on Facebook: Genovevarossi810
Twitter: GenovevaRossi1
Instagram: Genoveva_Rossi
IMDb: http://www.imdb.me/genovevarossi

Check out Troma’s latest feature Return to Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 2 coming soon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3TRIFJw384

Salem Kapsaski’s punk rock musical Spidarlings, World Premiere on Troma Now July 1st!!

rsz_spidarlingsv2Greetings from Tromaville!

Troma Entertainment, the longest running truly independent film company in American history, is proud to announce the acquisition of Salem Kapsaski’s punk rock musical Spidarlings, World Premiere on Troma Now July 1st, it was announced today by Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma Entertainment and creator of The Toxic Avenger.

“Arachny in the UK” Spidarlings premieres on Troma Now July 1st

Poverty stricken lovers Eden and Matilda have enough trouble just getting through the days…Their Landlord is trying to terrorize them and strange things seem to be going on at “Juicy Girls”, the place where Matilda works…but when Eden buys a pet spider the real troubles start.

While creating Spidarlings, Director Salem Kapsaski drew inspiration from his own real life experiences with financial struggles, a ruthless landlord, and relentless threats to his family from an unstable individual. These real life experiences mixed with influences from John Waters, I Love Lucy, Lloyd Kaufman, Peanuts cartoons and an amazing musical score by Jeff Kristian are what makes Spidarlings a totally original, remarkable independent film.

Spidarlings will premiere on Troma Now, Troma Entertainment’s exclusive content streaming service, July 1st!

Tromeo & Juliet (1996) Blu-Ray Review

tromeo1Tromeo and Juliet (USA, 1996)

Dir: Lloyd Kaufman

Starring: Jane Jensen, Will Keenan,William Beckwith

Out now on UK Blu-Ray from 88 Films

Plot: The William Shakespeare classic tragedy re-imagined in the grungy punk-rock style of Troma. Star-crossed lovers Tromeo (Keenan) and Juliet (Jensen) fight for their love against their two warring families, The Ques and the Capulets. Can Tromeo whisk Juliet away before her abusive father (Beckwith) can marry her off?

My first experience with Troma was Cannibal! The Musical (Also known as Alferd Packer: The Musical), a film by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. I was already accustomed to the rude and crude humour of South Park so it only seemed like a natural progression to start watching films from Troma. Troma is famous for two things, 1) being incredibly crude, and 2) being passionately DIY. Lloyd Kaufman, director of Tromeo and Juliet and Co-founder of Troma, is a firm believer that anyone who wants to make movies should make movies. It’s that punk rock ideology of learn three chords and write a song, substituting three chords with a couple buckets of blood. Yet much like punk rock, if you’re not into punk or cheap blood effects this might not be the movie for you.

tromeo2Lloyd Kaufman has created an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, sticking very close to the plot of the Shakespearian source material. A lot of the scriptwriting for Tromeo and Juliet was done by James Gunn, another alum of Troma that has gone onto bigger things including writing two Scooby Doo movies and directing Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (look out for Kaufman’s cameo in the space prison). Troma is not known for it’s tasteful period dramas, so this film is much closer to Kaufman’s other work such as The Toxic Avenger than it is to Downton Abbey. There is gore by the bucketful, plenty sex, and a giant rubber penis monster. It really sets the tone of what kind of movie this is.

It’s quite difficult to review a Troma film because I think you really need to find their films by yourself.It’s the kind of rite of passage for grungy outcast teenagers who just want to see something really messed up and kind of stupid. Troma specialises in films that you could find in video stores back in the day when you would browse somewhere between the horror films and theadult films. You’d pick one and you’d laugh your ass off and you’d want to watch more. Thankfully, despite the demise of the videostore, Troma has taken to you-tube so it’s easy for the uninitiated to get that first taste.

tromeo3Tromeo and Juliet is classic Troma for better or worse. It’s the filthy fun version of Romeo and Juliet, and that’s enough to peak the interest of those who might know Shakespeare but not as educated on the work of Kaufman. It’s also agreat film for nerding out, with things like Troma’s running car-flipjoke, and Sean Gunn (James Gunn’s brother and the motion-captureactor for Rocket Raccoon) appearing as Sammy Capulet. If you like weird foul humour and being part of a rabid fan-base, Tromeo and Juliet is a great film for introducing yourself (and all your friends) to the world of Troma.

The blu-ray copy of Tromeo and Juliet has plenty of special features including four commentary tracks, deleted scenes, rehearsal footage and the original trailer.

8/10

The Toxic Avenger IV: Citizen Toxie (2001) Blu-ray review

toxie4 (1)The Toxic Avenger IV: Citizen Toxie (2001) Blu-ray review

Director – Lloyd Kaufman

Starring – David Mattey, Heidi Sjursen, Clyde Lewis

Run Time – 108 minutes

Label – 88 Films

OUT NOW

When the notorious Diaper Mafia take hostage the Tromaville School for the Very Special, only the Toxic Avenger and his morbidly obese sidekick Lardass can save Tromaville. However, a horrific explosion creates a dimensional portal between Tromaville and its dimensional mirror image, Amortville. While the Toxic Avenger (Toxie) is trapped in Amortville, Tromaville comes under the control of Toxies evil doppelganger, the Noxious Offender (Noxie). Will Toxie return to Tromaville in time to stop Noxies rampage or is he doomed to remain a second-class citizen in Amortville forever? How did Toxies wife Sarah become pregnant with two babies from two different fathers? Will Tito, the Retarded Rebel, ever get over his teen angst and become a productive member of society? – 88 Films

The fourth and up to now final instalment in the Toxic Avenger franchise Citizen Toxie was made quite some time after part three. Over a decade, fans of the most famous Troma creation had suffered a long wait. Was it worth it though?

In a word: no. The charm of the original flicks of the 1980’s is gone and in its place is something that attempts to recreate it. Perhaps the ‘Zeitgeist’ had moved on since 1989, but the spirit of Toxie IV feels too forced and self aware. This leads to overkill of several notorious Troma movie sources of humour or entertainment.

Poo/faeces/scat/shit/crap, whatever you want to call it, is featured quite a bit. Whether it’s characters defecating in their pants or effectively having their head shoved up their own arse and spitting poo out of their mouths the brown stuff is used often. This is always accompanied by fart sounds. Yes, this is Troma but it feels way too forced in another attempt to hit a home run with longtime fans.

Nudity and frivolous sex scenes feature a lot too, and all that can be said about these is that the women involved are all young and have figures that will please any males watching. There is one scene that jumps the shark, as it were, which is something that many thought not possible in a movie of this nature. A large breasted woman lifts up her t-shirt and starts slamming one of her huge boobs into the face of a mentally challenged character. Some people would pay good money for that to be done to them.

toxie4aOf course the feature has its moments, Kaufman has several ‘stars’ from outside of B movies making cameos that are good. Lemmy from Motorhead displays his dry sense of humour in the delivery of his few lines. Ron Jeremy, hairy porn star, appears to be loving every second of his hammy acting demonstration. The plot is a strong point too, in places, with the use of two Toxies and the piecing together of the different strands. It requires two stories to operate at once in effect and then to bring them back together for the movies ending.

A big positive for this film is the appearance of Mark Torgl – who played Melvin, the nerd that would turn into Toxie, in the original Toxic Avenger.

Special features.

There are three, yes three, commentaries for the movie. The first is by Kaufman, the second by and the third by Gabriel Friedman.

Outtakes – Seven minutes in duration, some clips aren’t too entertaining but it shows the cast do like to utter a swear word. Lemmy makes several appearances and these are the more interesting outtakes.

Apocalypse Soon – 2 hours and 17 minutes long, this is a documentary on the making of Citizen Toxie. For Troma fans this is a real treat as it takes the viewer deep inside the notorious approach to film-making the studio takes. Most people involved with the movie have more than one role, no doubt to cut costs. While highly entertaining there are moments that are painful as it shows just how frustrating it is to work an independent feature. One actress, an extra in several scenes, laughingly complains about the lack of money involved in the making of the film (which shows staggering ignorance on her behalf) and how she would get paid more doing ‘girl-on-girl’ porn again. Trent ‘Terror Firmer’ Haaga is the unintentional star of the making of.

Interviews with cast and crew – Very enlightening in places, from the stars of the film to minor actors the interviews on offer are insightful and engaging. Rehearsal plus more behind the scenes footage features. The extra ends in a typical Troma fashion.

toxie4bPre-production featurette – After seeing the lengthy making of, this is 28 minutes of footage showing how the plans for Toxie IV came together before shooting began. Much like the actual shooting this is a similar case of urgency that indie studios experience. On Production featurette – 40 minutes long this is a look at the production team behind Toxie IV as they make the movie. Footage is included of Troma at the Playboy Mansion (which was a tie-in to promote their website).

Release featurette – After viewing all the hard work the viewer gets to see the cast and crew enjoy the premières of Citizen Toxie. There are a lot of smiles on peoples faces, unlike during the making of features…

There are also deleted scenes, trailers and a collection of 88 Films trailers for other releases.

Verdict.The main feature is lacking but the special features are outstanding and enhance the release greatly.

5 out of 10.

– James Simpson (@JSimpsonWriter)

The Toxic Avenger III (1989) Blu-Ray Review

toxieIIIcoverThe Toxic Avenger III (1989) Blu-ray review

Directors – Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz

Starring – Ron Fazio, Phoebe Legere, Rick Collins

Run Time – 102 minutes

Label – 88 Films

OUT NOW

Times are hard for Toxie. What is a hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength to do after he’s eliminated crime from his hometown? Desperate to raise money for the experimental surgery that could restore his blind fiancés eyesight, Toxie accepts a lucrative job with the evil multinational conglomerate Apocalypse Inc. Now, Toxies transforming into an even more monstrous creature: a yuppie. And all of Tromaville is paying the price of Toxies Faustian bargain. The Toxic Avenger must defeat his own inner demons before taking on the Devil himself in a battle royale, while the fate of Tromaville hangs in the balance. – 88 Films

Starting with a wonderfully daft and self knowing fight scene in a VHS rental store (that seems to rent only Troma films, how uncanny) that lasts ten minutes and is loaded with Troma trademarks, the movie carries on in a frivolous fashion for the rest of it’s run time. As usual with the studio, its a case of organised chaos.

This time the unlikely plot is ‘our hero’ trying to go about a normal life in which he is seen as a salesman, trying to help his bimbo fiancée regain her sight and making kids eat their greens. However he is unhappy and, in a parallel with some religious drivel he overheard attending gospel singing at a local church, he is a changed mutant.

toxieIII1As a result he eventually turns evil, falling foul of the manipulative mega power corporation Apocalypse capitalists. This is not a new theme in a Troma feature, yet in an attempt to put a twist on it Toxie III aka The Last Temptation of Toxie sees the ‘everyman’ (believe it or not Toxie himself) being seduced by the businessmen and if he can break free of their way of thinking.

Not much action happens during the spell of the feature when the monster hero becomes the monster sellout. The daft fight scenes and frivolous ‘special’ effects are kept to a minimum until the chairman (played with glee by Rick Collins) reveals himself to be the devil. The costume worn for this is quite impressive by Troma standards.

Despite this movie featuring the return of Melvin, the weakling janitor that would become the Avenger, the original actor Mark Torgl does not play this role. Instead Michael Kaplan is the put upon dweeb. Kaufman has revealed since this was because Torgl asked for more money, which the director wishes he had agreed to.

Special features.

Where in the World is Toxie? (42 mins) – A documentary that follows Lloyd Kaufman as he attends various film festivals around the world. Although this is the Toxic Avenger III blu-ray, this extra is mainly promoting part IV: Citizen Toxie. Troma movies have a lot of fans in numerous countries, showing the draw of Kaufman’s studio. Other cult directors Brian Yuzna and Dario Argento make appearances.

toxieIII2Ron Fazio interview (8 mins) – The actor that played Toxie in parts II & III, Fazio talks about how he became the monster hero (“I’m not that good an actor.”). He reveals he didn’t like co-star Phoebe Legere, nor her boyfriend.

Rick Collins interview (5 mins) – Chairman/The Devil in part III, Collins reminisces about all the Troma movies he appeared in (seven in total).

Joe Fleishaker interview (3 mins) – The large actor who has appeared in several Troma films is interviewed.

There are also several other extras, ranging from trailers, stills galleries and other short video’s of Troma goodness. Two commentaries are included, one by Kaufman and one by Fleishaker.

Calum ‘Doctor’ Waddell does the honours in the booklet, as always this is an enjoyable read.

Verdict.
Daft, distasteful, poorly acted yet with heart Toxic Avenger III is a Troma film with a message.

5 out of 10.

The Toxic Avenger 2 (1989) Blu-Ray Review

toxie2-1The Toxic Avenger II (Blu-ray review, 1989)

Directors – Lloyd Kaufman & Michael Herz

Starring – Ron Fazio, John Altamura, Phpebe Legere, Mayako Katsuragi

Run Time – 96 minutes

Label – 88 Films

OUT NOW

Toxie’s mean, green, and back on the screen! Melvin Junko was a nerdy 98lb weakling until he fell into a vat of toxic waste, turning him into the first ever superhuman superhero from New Jersey. This time the hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength takes on Tokyo. – 88 Films synopsis.

Lighter in tone than the original, if such a thing can be believed, ‘Toxie II’ is extremely daft, badly acted and full of cheap effects. A typical Troma studios pictures really, but one that was anticipated upon release in 1989. The original Toxic Avenger was quite a hit for such a low budget cheesy film and had developed a fanbase in the lead up to a sequel.

While Melvin felt compelled to fight bad guys in Toxie 1 due to his anti-bullying stance in this film the character has nothing to do. Literally, much of the film follows his exploits in Japan as he seeks his long lost ‘father’ instead of being in Tromaville.

As the Toxic Avenger is now caught in a soap opera storyline, done in true Troma fashion though, this detracts from the movie. Apart from the occasional silly fight scene the film concentrates on this storyline and involves a lot of dialogue. This means an awful lot of bad acting.

With this being Troma the bad acting is heightened as the actors ham it up. Phoebe Legere is the biggest culprit as Toxies blind girlfriend Claire. Her portrayal of someone visually impaired is to stare wildly into space and wave her arms around as she walks. The casting of this former musician, and her wearing of skimpy outfits, is clearly so she can add some eye candy to the movie.

toxie2-2Some of the already mentioned fight scenes will earn a chuckle for how frivolous they are. A school for the blind is attacked by the evil Apocalypse henchmen at the start of the feature, resulting in the Toxic Avenger beating them up. One henchman is a midget, Toxie picks him up and ‘squashes’ him into a ball. Later he grabs hold of someone’s arms and yanks them off, with the usual level of special effects being utilized to attain this image.

Special features.

Behind the Scenes in Japan – A clip from a Japanese TV show featuring Mayako Katsuragi (Masami) being interviewed as footage is shown of the film being shot in Japanese streets. Poor picture quality throughout and there is no English translation.

Toxie Thoughts by Fangoria managing editor Michael Gingold – 2 minutes long, editor and sometime Troma actor Gingold talks about how he got involved with the film. He just showed up.

Tromatic Comments with Mike Mayo – 2 minutes long and seemingly shot in a vet practice, Mayo sings the praises of Toxie II.

Thoughts from Lisa Gaye – The lead female villain of the feature, Gaye discusses her Troma career in this 2 minute video. She proudly shows off her large breasts, Troma at it’s ‘finest’.

Scenes from the Tromaville Cafe – 5 minutes long video from Troma’s Edge TV, hostess Dsylexia and Lloyd Kaufman celebrate Toxie’s birthday. Sgt Kabukiman and Toxie go to Japan (which looks suspiciously like Manhattan) to finally find his father.

Most of the above have been released on other Troma home videos.

The disc also features a Kaufman commentary, trailers for the Toxie series and other 88 Films releases.

Ultimately this is not as good as the original but has the usual Troma charm to please those that ‘get it’.

5/10

Adjust Your Tracking: The Untold Story Of The VHS Collector (2013) DVD Review

TRACKING 001ADJUST YOUR TRACKING: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE VHS COLLECTOR (2013) DVD

Directed By: Dan M. Kinem, Levi Peretic

Written By: Dan M. Kinem, Levi Peretic

Starring: Lloyd Kaufman, Anthony Timpone, Fred Vogel, Keith J. Crocker

UK Certification: E

RRP: £14.99

Running Time: 81 minutes

Distributor: Wienerworld

UK Release Date: 25th August 2014

“It’s like vinyl – it sounds different, it looks different. Now we’re older we want to go back to the way we first experienced it”. Perry Horton – Movie Madness.

 

Directors  Kinem and Peretic

Directors Kinem and Peretic

VHS was my first movie watching format, but being the fickle, easily led soul that I am I fell for DVD the minute it came along. Blu-ray caught my attention a couple of years later, and with the evolution of these formats I lay in the camp of the naïve and expectant “its fine… EVERYTHING on video is going to come out on DVD – we just have to wait!”.

That’s obviously not the case and nor will it ever be, so my time of leisurely casting off my hefty VHS collection with the misplaced arrogance of them being surplus still habitually wakes me up in a cold sweat at 3am. A few years back I started collecting again – the urge to see Enemy Territory (Peter Manoogian, 1987) once more was just too strong, and instantly I was back in the world of trawling car boot sales, pawn shops and popular auction-based internet sites.

All of which makes Adjust Your Tracking an 80 minute priceless exercise in collecting therapy, designed to make you realise that those lines of alphabetically ordered clunky boxes of plastic are vital to your wellbeing! Adjust Your Tracking is resolutely geared towards hardcore collectors with a slew of talking heads that belong in the VHS world – Zack Carlson (writer of Destroy all Movies), Mike Raso (Camp Motion Pictures) and Bruce Holecheck (Cinema Arcana) to name but a few which barely scratches the surface of multitude of contributors that Kinem and Peretic speak to.

They begin with a timeline that covers the introduction of the first VHS players as well as the initial retail tapes ($60 no less), before going on to cover the rise of the Mom & Pop independent video stores. As Gary Cohen, director of Video Violence states though “It really was a thrill to own a video store in that period, then Blockbuster killed it for everybody”. There’s a universal disdain for the Big Blue as everyone attacks the negative effect their corporate greed had upon the industry. “It was the beginning of taking any personality out of video stores” says Dimitri Simakis (Everything is Terrible!).

 

Bradley Creanzo

Bradley Creanzo

Conveying the pleasure and total satisfaction of owning a VHS collection is what the documentary succeeds with the most. Everyone featured is so in love with their collections, be it the smell, the look, but most importantly the artwork. As Zack Carlson says though “It would be impossible that there would be a movie in the box that matched the awesomeness of the cover” – and he’s right, the lurid, hypnotic sleeves of those tapes that contained imagery that never even featured in the movie is part of the allure of VHS.

Perhaps the most important lesson from this documentary though is the stark fact where Carlson states “45% of films released on VHS have not made it to DVD or Blu-ray”. That’s a mind blowing figure, and as a few people are quick to highlight collecting VHS can be construed more as preservation than simply hoarding. There are some great clips in this segment too with some saliva inducing snippets of such absent from DVD fodder as Psychos in Love (Gorman Bechard, 1987), Rubin and Ed (Trent Harris, 1991) and Club Life (Norman Thaddeus Vane, 1986).

Other aspects of the documentary see a couple of Collector Spotlights where we meet Joe Clark and his collection of 4200 tapes – all horror, and also Bradley Creanzo who has taken the unusual step of creating a video store in his basement. There’s analysis on such vital things as how collectors organise their acquisitions as well as insight on just who were the coolest labels to collect, to which Charles Band’s Wizard Video comes out on top . We’re also introduced to a gloriously intriguing film called Tales from the Quaded Zone (Chester N. Turner, 1987) which at the time of shooting was proving to be a Holy Grail in the world of VHS with one of the Massacre Video boys having paid $660 for a copy.

As is the norm it seems for documentaries of fascinating subject matter – Adjust Your Tracking found itself with a similarly themed companion as it came out at a similar time to Josh Johnson’s Rewind This! (2013). While Johnson’s flick is essential viewing, I’d say it veers into more mainstream territory with talking heads like Frank Henenlotter, Charles Band and Atom Egoyan tracing a more linear, nostalgic look at the format. Adjust Your Tracking on the other hand seems like the underground bastardised sibling of it – content with speaking to an array of odd looking (and occasionally menacing) characters who passionately detail the extraordinary lengths they go to in order to grow their collections. While it does spend time eulogising the history of the format, its heart is firmly in the present day with these guys still building their collections and also touching on the recent surge in film companies releasing new product onto VHS.

TRACKING 004Presented in 4:3 and full of tracking issues and tape mangling effects, Adjust Your Tracking urges you to embrace it as a VHS. Indeed, a few people have questioned its presentation along with its slightly ADHD narrative. To me though it was perfect, it was just what I wanted and the bulging collection of people interviewed were an assemblage of folks that I felt a true connection with to the degree that the feature encapsulated the true desire of a VHS collector. Add to this over 7 hours of special features [described below] – Adjust Your Tracking is something to treasure, fawn over and utilise as a medium to make you realise that your obsessive collecting isn’t that crazy after all.

8.5 out of 10

Extras:
Director Commentary with Dan Kinem and Levi Peretic: The boys give a really fun commentary packed with great anecdotes about the people that they interviewed as well as a thorough history of how Adjust Your Tracking was made. They get side-tracked – a lot! – but that just adds to the general kooky vibe.

Producer Commentary with Josh Schafer and Matt Desiderio: These guys have a more restrained style to their commentary and they detail the role they played with facilitating the production of the documentary as well as offering opinions on the interviewees.

Short Films:

Video Shelf (11mins) The story of a small town family run video store now renting 5 or so movies a day, whose former space is gradually being taken over by other business pursuits (a hair salon) while a devastating fire nearly burned them out completely destroying 20,000 films in the process.

It Wasn’t in Vain, It Was in Staten Island (6mins) Insight into the last video store in Staten Island – Bayware Video, owned by Harvey Root.

The Ballad of Chester Novell Turner (7mins) The pursuit of the cult director Chester N. Turner, who made Tales from the Quaded Zone (1987) and Black Devil Doll (1984).

TRACKING 005Deleted scenes (26mins) – As opposed to ubiquitous barrage of lame deleted scenes in DVD releases, everything contained here is pertinent to the documentary. Highlights include stories of contributor’s first viewings of Faces of Death, the ridiculous concept of Redbox and a great mini-feature on the awesome Scarecrow Video.

Extended Interviews (133mins) – Over 2 hours of fascinating extended pieces with many of those people interviewed. It begins with 42nd Pete who just has a hypnotic way of telling amazing stories right through to the crazy Joe Clark who details his horror obsession further, to Uncle Lloydie who speaks about his experiences in the height of the VHS era.

Behind the Scenes – Foggy Mountain Breakdown (9mins) A look at the shooting of the documentary where it moves briefly into the realm of a Sasquatch hunt!

Alamo Drafthouse Q&A (18mins) Directors Dan Kinem and Levi Peretic speak to Joseph Ziemba (Bleeding Skull) about the inception of the film – they were both college students and shot it over the course of a year – as well as some Jerry Maguire themed anecdotes.

Back Alley Film Series Q&A (22mins) More from the directors, this time in the company of Back Ally Film series director, Jay Morong. It covers some of the ground from the Alamo Q&A but there’s enough fresh material to make it fascinating viewing. Both Dan and Levi really spark off each other and seem really tight, and above all you can see the passion that they both have for the subject that they’ve covered.

Theatrical Trailer

Teaser Trailer

The Toxic Avenger (1984) BluRay Review

toxiccoverThe Toxic Avenger (Blu-ray review, 1984)

Director – Lloyd Kaufman

Starring – Mitch Cohen, Mark Torgl, Andree Maranda, Pat Ryan Jr

Run Time – 88 minutes

Release Date – Monday 18th August

Label – 88 Films

88 Films dive into the Troma Studios back catalogue, starting with one of its most iconic movies – The Toxic Avenger.

Melvin (Torgl) is the janitor of the Health Club of small town Tromaville. He is a geeky looking, sexually deprived individual who is mocked by everyone he encounters. Some of the people at the Health Club are obnoxious, vain bodydonna’s that think they can treat anyone how they like and also do what they like. They harass Melvin and even trick him into kissing a sheep in front of everyone at the Health Club. Humiliated he runs away but they give chase, mocking the distraught man. In order to escape his tormentors he jumps out of a window and lands directly into a barrel containing toxic waste (on the back of a flat-bed truck that just so happened to be parked outside).

Melvin manages to get out but he is covered in toxic waste and is in agony. While he lies on the pavement in unbearable pain the tormentors stand over him, laughing. Melvin staggers home and has a bath, but once in it the toxic waste causes him to drastically mutate into an ugly, super strong giant of a man. Roaming the streets of Tromaville he seeks to punish the bullies and stop the criminals of his town and in doing so he becomes known as The Monster Hero (Cohen).

toxic1One of director Lloyd Kaufman’s most infamous creations, The Toxic Avenger is a slice of classic 80’s Troma trash. On the surface it is frivolous and cheaply made, but beneath it tackles themes that Kaufman has been crusading against for decades.

With the typical over-the-top acting Avenger is a movie that knows serious drama and acting will not be what is expected from the viewer. It basks in its absurdity, especially with the character of Melvin. Torgl is hilarious with his pathetic facial expressions as the perving janitor. Andree Maranda somehow keeps a straight face during her oddball romantic scenes with Toxie. For a movie with this low standard of quality acting to survive, it must have had some sort of charm.

The charm, or appeal at least, can be found in the plight of downtrodden Melvin. Many people will have felt as if they are being mistreated or bullied by others and wish to strike back at them somehow. This is the point of The Toxic Avenger – the nerd conquers the tormentors. Once mutated by the toxic waste Melvin punishes those that do wrong (criminals) or those that have wronged him (the annoying teens at the health club). The weakling has been transformed into a force to be reckoned with and will no longer be the butt of everyone’s jokes. The character has lasted so long because in a way people can related to it. Also, Kaufman has never pretended Troma is anything other than what it is: low-budget independent film-making. Both the studio and the viewer know the movie isn’t about winning praise, it’s about pure entertainment.

toxic2On another level the movie works as sheer fun. Toxie and Sara having sex, the bodydonna’s running over a child’s head that is clearly a melon and a dog being slung across a restaurant floor (after being ‘shot’) are all laughable and perhaps even bad but it will cause a smile or too and even some laughter. This is integral to Troma’s survival, most the studio’s films may have a small budget but they are big on laughs and fun. They don’t let a lack of resources stop them from doing something, such as Toxie ripping off a thugs arm in one scene. They simply hired a one-armed man and had him attach an arm from a shop mannequin until the ‘big moment’. The absurdity clearly has appealed to many over the decades and The Toxic Avenger may be the best example of Troma-tainment.

A big selling point for this release of the original Toxie is that it is now in high-definition thanks to it being on Blu-ray. The sound isn’t brilliant but the picture quality is very good. A little grainy still yet it allows the viewer to see the naff effects in all their ‘glory’. Occasionally the image on-screen with shake a little and blur slightly as a result, although this is a minor complaint that won’t distract from the movie.

Lloyd Kaufman himself does the commentary duties (it is available on other releases of the movie, it should be noted). As ever he is very honest and frank as he recalls his time making The Toxic Avenger. For those that are not very familiar with the film or who have never heard the commentary before it enhances the feature as Kaufman reveals such details as making the film without even having a name for it (Health Club Horror was considered) and how Torgl pleaded to stop shooting at one point.

toxic3There are also a whole host of extras, again some may be known to the viewer and others not. They are:

Introduction to the Japanese Cut – A brief video featuring Lloyd talking about the film in front of a crowd of Troma employees (with canned laughter).

Alternative Japanese Cut – Standard definition

15th and 30th Anniversary introductions by Lloyd – The director talks about the impact the film has had as it reaches various landmark birthdays.

The Radiation March – An odd 53 second video of children dancing in front of a building, urging people to stop pollution.

Intro from the Toxic Crusaders cartoon – the catchy-as-hell beginning from the Toxie kids cartoon that proved to be a hit.

Toxie: 15 Years Later – 4 minute video of Toxie at ‘home’ at his mansion, basking in his success.

Tromaville Cafe: Death of Toxie – Confusion at the café as it appears Lloyd has killed Toxie.

Troma Studio Building Tour – tongue-in-cheek and nudity heavy guide of the offices.

Mopboy Secrets with Mark Torgl – ‘Melvin’ talks over one scene of the Toxic Avenger

toxic4Why Is Lloyd Kaufman Living in a Refrigerator Box?

Public Service Announcement – some nude ladies encourage viewers to masturbate about them.

Aroma du Troma – Music video featuring clips of Troma movies. Music provided by Motorhead.

Plus the usual slide show, reversible sleeve and various trailers for all the Toxic Avenger movies and 88 Films releases. The film is also available in a hmv exclusive edition (2000 copies) and a Zavvi steelbook exclusive edition (4000 copies).

An impressive release undoubtedly, The Toxic Avenger is a movie that is worth seeing and this blu-ray release is great value for money.

Film: 8 out of 10

Extras: 7 out of 10

Amazon order page: Click HERE

Zavvi order page: Click HERE

Return To Nuke ‘Em High: Volume 1 (2013) DVD Review

NUKE EM 001RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH: VOLUME 1 (2013) DVD

Directed By: Lloyd Kaufman

Written By: Lloyd Kaufman, Travis Campbell, Derek Dressler, Casey Clapp, Aaron Hamel
Starring: Asta Paredes, Catherine Corcoran, Vito Trigo, Clay von Carlowitz, Zac Amico

UK Certification: 18

RRP: £12.99

Running Time: 82 minutes

Distributor: Anchor Bay

UK Release Date: 14th July 2014

I’m probably wrong, indeed I very often am, but by my workings this is the first new Troma film to get UK distribution since Tromeo & Juliet on VHS in 1996! I often muse about how Full Moon are the bastard child of the American genre scene, (until recently) barely able to make it across the Atlantic. If that’s so then surely Troma are the retarded leper of an inbred gang of mutants. How times change though, as only two years ago Arrow released the original Class of Nuke ‘Em High on Blu-ray (Troma in HD is a bizarre concept) as well as DVD editions of the excellent Combat Shock (1984) and Surf Nazis Must Die (1987). As well as this, only a few weeks back 88 Films announced the acquisition of notable chunk of the Troma catalogue all to be released on Blu-ray over the next 12 months. It’s a crazy world.

NUKE EM 002For possibly the first time in his directorial career, the plaudits for Lloyd Kaufman’s last feature had an alarming amount of positive reviews from the mainstream press. Even the New York Times said Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006) was “… as perfect as a film predicated on the joys of projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea can be”. What of this return to Nuke ‘Em High then? The last time we visited the franchise was twenty years ago in The Good, The Bad and the Subhumanoid. It was the first movie to debut through Troma’s own distribution company (Troma Team Video), and despite its popularity with fans the company themselves always thought the film was inferior to some of their other titles. Now though comes this re-imagining? Re-boot? What is it exactly? Lloyd calls it remake and states how Kevin Kasha (Starz / Anchor Bay) was a fan and asked him to do it with Troma fronting the money, but receiving half back upon completion.

RTNEHV1 begins with a recap narrated by none other than Stan the Man who reminds us how in 1986 the Tromaville High School water supply was tainted by a Nuclear meltdown. Today though “as Nuclear issues are no long in vogue – at least in the movies”, we learn that Tromorganic Foodstuffs Inc. occupies the site of the former reactor and supplies our nearby educational establishment with a bevy of ‘healthy’ munchies. However, when the students begin transforming into a collection of deformed freaks after eating Tromorganic’s products it’s down to environmental blogger Chrissy (Paredes) and her duck obsessed lover Lauren (Corcoran) to come to the rescue.

A severed penis, boobs, melting bodies, ass cracks, boobs, Lemmy, genital slurping, boobs, frenzied masturbation, gore and boobs. All the ingredients of classic Troma films gone by are on display for our hedonistic enjoyment. It’s all done in exceedingly bad taste which is exactly what makes the films of Lloyd Kaufman so appealing especially in such a sanitised world of politically correct genre entertainment. That’s not to say RTNEHV1 is just solely about the gross out gags and gore. Far from it, Uncle Lloyd manages to incorporate a solid amount of topical satire that stretches from ironic statements about school shootings to wry remarks about Obamacare.

If I had to pick a fault with this movie it would be that it’s almost too good to be a Troma film! A crisp picture, beautifully lit, great sound, decent special effects – what’s going on? Some people have questioned the justification of splitting this film into two volumes, and granted the end of Volume 1 does leave you hanging somewhat, but any padding is pretty much non-existent – in fact there’s so much packed into each scene a second viewing will be mandatory.

NUKE EM 003Lloyd Kaufman is known for his excellent feature length ‘making of’ documentaries that have featured in the extras for films such as Poultrygeist and Citizen Toxie. They show warts and all accounts of just what goes on behind the scenes on these pictures as we see the cast and crew all working for free, holed up in (usually) a vacant church for weeks on end as a litany of things go wrong on the set. It’s chaos. How Kaufman manages to create such a coherent, technically accomplished work of art from that never ceases to amaze me. If you don’t like Troma movies, then this isn’t going to change your mind. If you’ve never seen one, this is an excellent jumping on point, while if you’re an obsessive freak of everything Troma then this will be 82 minutes of mutated magic.

8 out of 10

Extras: None

L.A.Maniac aka The Los Angeles Ripper (2011) DVD Review

 

LA MANIAC 001L.A MANIAC aka THE LOS ANGELES RIPPER (2011) DVD

Review by: Dave Wain

Stars: Celeste Marie Martinez, Randy Tobin, Ava Rose, Chase Monroe

Written by: Craig J. McIntyre, Celeste Marie Martinez, Randy Tobin

UK Certification: N/A

DVD Region: 0

Runtime: 78 minutes

Directed by: Craig J. McIntyre

UK Release Date: 13th May 2014

Distributor: Troma

Troma are renowned for the quality (be it Troma quality) of their in-house productions, the latest – Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 comes to UK DVD in July. Their acquisitions however vary quite dramatically from the woeful (mentioning no names) to the pretty damned fine, for example Killer Nerd (1991), Cannibal! The Musical (1993) and Father’s Day (2011). Irrespective of the quality of these flicks, the primary thing for me has always been that Troma enabled the distribution of these low budget movies, which in this current environment demands that we should all kneel and kiss the vintage brogues of Lloyd Kaufman.

If anything, the path of LA Maniac shows the length of time it can take for an indie film to find distribution. Shot in 2010, the director Craig McIntyre fully expected his movie The Los Angeles Ripper to cut a deal sooner rather than later. With a premiere in the bag by August 2011 at the New Beverly Cinema in LA no less, that expectation reached fever pitch. However, almost three years later and with a name change to boot is ‘LA Maniac’ finally unleashed to a wider audience.

LA MANIAC 002As the production company logos pop up at the start of the film, the fact that they’re accompanied by the tracking lines of a world weary VHS tape gives us an indication of the inspiration to McIntyre’s flick. It’s a Sunday afternoon in LA when we’re introduced to the seedy looking Grahm (Tobin), sporting leather fingerless gloves and half-mast beige slacks. He picks up hookers from time to time in his non-descript serial killer van and he doesn’t disguise his sneering predilection for anal sex.

Meanwhile arriving into the City of Angels is Kristy White (Martinez) who has the rather dubious privilege of staying with her party going cousin Angel (Monroe) and Aunt Peggy (Beverley Bassette). Being a naïve girl from Ohio, Kristy is about as streetwise as… well, a naïve girl from Ohio. With Angel being a party demon though it’s not long before Kristy is being dragged into the Long Beach nightlife to sample some nocturnal hedonism. Needless to say it doesn’t take long for the nefarious Grahm to appear on the scene – he’s already known to Angel, and before we know it he’s taken a leering interest in Kristy which will eventually develop into something quite sinister indeed.

Any movie whose narrative revolves predominantly around a psychopath is dependent on how that character is written and acted. Happily with L.A Maniac this aspect is pretty successful. Randy Tobin as the psychotic Grahm gives a performance that manifests the sinister edge of Joe Spinell with the innocent wide-eyed misplaced humour of a Will Ferrell character. It’s a bewildering fusion, but it’s one that works quite brilliantly as you find yourself reeling from his candour one minute then smirking at his idiocy the next.

LA MANIAC 003L.A Maniac with its meagre resources is unlikely to ever be embraced by a mainstream audience. In its low budget world though it displays the capability and ingenuity to stand out from the hordes of mediocrity and establish itself as a title to seek out. The director Craig McIntyre shows the ability to create a series of perverse and threatening scenarios, and by enveloping that with a solid cast, pumping soundtrack and sickening violence – the result is pleasing indeed.

6.5 out of 10