Cinema Junkie Podcast 201: Troma Entertainment 'Disrupting Media For 45 Years'
Founder Lloyd Kaufman talks about satire, Shakespeare, and being old enough to finally play Prospero
WARNING! This Cinema Junkie Podcast contains potentially offensive content because it is devoted to Troma Entertainment and its founder Lloyd Kaufman.
In fact, if you don’t know what Troma is then maybe just don't listen to the podcast at all to be safe.
Troma recently had its YouTube Channel shutdown for not meeting community standards because some people complained about its content. Although you can find plenty of more offensive material elsewhere on YouTube. You can subscribe to its streaming channel for $4.99 a month.
The title of Kaufman's new film can't even be said on the radio. It's called "#Shakespeare’s Sh--storm" and it is Kaufman’s adaptation of the Bard of Avon’s "The Tempest." And yes there is a literal sh--storm rained down on people by killer whales leaping out of the water over a ship and defecating on them because they’ve been given a laxative by Prospero. And that’s just the beginning.
The film satirizes big pharma, cancel culture, the rich, the poor, the left, the right and everything in between. There’s nudity, drugs, gore and offensive language. It’s crass, it’s gross, it’s… well it’s Troma. And no matter what you may think of Troma movies you’ve got to admire its resiliency. You just can’t keep bad movies down.
For more than four decades, the New York-based Troma Entertainment has been making truly independent films outside of Hollywood. It boasts that it is the longest running independent movie studio in North America and is celebrating 45 years of "disrupting media." Kaufman likes to brag about retrospectives sponsored by the American Cinematheque, La Cinémathèque Française, the British Film Institute, the American Film Institute and many others. Troma’s best known creation is probably "The Toxic Avenger."
For almost a decade I have been a booth neighbor with Troma at Comic-Con and I have seen how devoted his fans are and how passionate his staff at the booth is. So, I have developed an affection for Troma over the years. But I also know that I have to be very careful sharing a Troma film. Not everyone will get what Troma is trying to do or appreciate the films they make and distribute.
Sure they are offensive but they are also oddly endearing because they are made by people who just want to make movies no matter what. And since they are well outside of the mainstream they just enjoy pushing people's buttons and doing anything to get attention. That's the life of a truly independent studio like Troma.
What I love about Troma is that it will give anyone a chance to make a movie regardless of what experience you might have so it's a great film-school education for people who can't afford a real one. In many ways it provides the opportunity to get your foot in the door of the film industry in the same way that Roger Corman's American International Pictures did. And Troma can claim some famous alums like James Gunn (director of "Guardians of the Galaxy"), Matt Stone and Trey Parker (creators of "South Park"), J.J. Abrams (director of "The Force Awakens"), and Oliver Stone (director of "Platoon"). Actors such as Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Costner and Marisa Tomei also appeared early in their careers in Troma movies.
But when Kaufman said he was adapting Shakespeare, I had to get him on the podcast to talk about it.
So throwing caution to the wind I give you my interview with Troma Entertainment’s Lloyd Kaufman.