Thursday, July 25, 2013

The (long delayed) Troma review.

Or, "adding to my collection part 12".
(See here for part 11)

Said this back in fucking May....

I own "Class Of Nuke 'Em high", and "Tromeo & Juliet", and "Terror Firmer".
Short review, they're fucking wonderful.
Ran out to Bull Moose Music, and nabbed them days after the Toxie review, in fact.
And taking its sweet time arriving by Amazon is "Poultrygeist", and, I'm heroin craving for "Troma's War".

But, I'll review all of those next time, once the collection is all together.

As you can guess, I got waylaid by jackassery.
Amazon didn't have their shit together.
Long boring story, but it boils down to that.
Finally got my fucking movies.
Let's do this.
The Troma magnificent seven.

So, timeline goes like this...

Lloyd Kaufman churns out "The Girl Who Returned",  "The Battle Of Love's Return", and "Big Gus, What's The Fuss?", then, invents Troma, and puts out the sex romps "Squeeze Play!", "Waitress!", "Stuck On You!", and "The First Turn-On!".

Then, the one that put Troma on the map...

The Toxic Avenger (1984)

See here and here.

Followed immediately by....

Class Of Nuke 'Em High (1986)

Personally, I love this one as much as Toxie 1.

Said it here...

I consider this, Toxie, and Nuke-em, "The Classic Trilogy".
They all came one after the other, they all interconnect through Tromaville, they all highlight a hellish facet of Reagan's America, they're all equally great, and they're just before...the bad years.
Also, (the actors that play) Bozo, Slug, and Mayor Belgoody are in Nuke-em, and Cigarface is in War.

Yep, this one is in Tromaville, the bad stuff all comes from the Tromaville nuclear plant, continuing the nuclear waste theme from Toxie, and a lot of the same actors are back, so I count this as almost a sequel to Toxie.
Sort of a side-sequel.

You know what? This is my favorite high school film.
Hands down.

For all the good my diploma has done me, I wish I had been a bad kid.
They had me labeled that way anyway, even though I wasn't.
I wish I had more openly rebelled, and gotten dudded up all punk rock, and broken shit, and beaten up teachers, and been a terror.
It would have been such a release.
You know, I bet it's a more common fantasy than any would care to admit.
Anyway, the joy of this film will have to do.

Also, for punk-rock horror comedies, this easily stands shoulder to shoulder with "Return Of The Living Dead", and makes a great double feature with that film.

Anyway, the DVD is 1 disc, but has some nice features.
Commentary (Troma never skimps on commentary. You will never get a plain vanilla Troma flick) cast interviews, and other random goodies.

Commentary was recorded as they were working on "Tromeo & Juliet".
It's interesting to try to mentally assemble the side-timeline of the DVD editions...

The 21st anniversary DVD of Toxie, the bonuses were done in 2005, so, well after the DVD of "Citizen Toxie",  but before the 10th anniversary of "Tromeo & Juliet", and well before they started working on "Poultrygeist".

Anyhoo, on to the third of "the classic trilogy", and the third act of the anti-Reagan triptic.

Troma's War (1988)

From here....

Oh man, I'm sooo happy to re-discover this one!

I saw this way back when I was a teenager on basic cable, and it was censored all to hell, and therefore, boring.
Also, my dumb young mind wasn't ready for the politics.

But, seeing it now, uncut, oh man, this is the movie I've been looking for, and dreaming of!

If you ever wanted a lefty revolutionary antidote to Rambo 2-3, and/or "Red Dawn", this is for you.
This was deliberately made as a middle-finger to Reagan.

SO getting this on DVD.

Famous last words...

So, what I found out in the commentary was this.
The shitty fucking MPAA mutilated "Troma's War", so it could get an R rating, and the castrated version sucked, and it flopped, and because it failed in theaters, the video company (VHS days, remember) didn't make many copies, and what ones they did sat in a warehouse, and the flick seemed doomed, but they made their money back eventually showing it on cable, even though the cable-cut was even more castrated.

So, the DVD is finally the the real version after all these fucking years.
And it's fucking beautiful.
Easily as much fun as Toxie and Nuke 'Em.

It's a fucking cultural crime we were denied it all this time.
Imagine if we finally just got "Nightmare On Elm Street 3".
Imagine if we finally just got "Evil Dead 2".
It's THAT egregious.

Alright, plot is, a plane crashes on an island, and there are a handful of survivors, and then they find out the island is the training camp for terrorists planning on destabilizing America so that more Republicans can gain power.

The survivors are from Tromaville, and the plane is from Tromaville-Air.
So, the brave Tromavillians must stop the ambitions of the terrorists, and it's war, and...this is Troma's masterpiece, it's their biggest film of all time.
300+ kills, thousands of squibs, tons of explosions, and a comment on AIDS is tossed in there.
It's really something.

This film introduces the world to Joe Fleishaker, who's been in almost every Troma film ever since.
Probably best known as Lardass/Chester in "Citizen Toxie".

On the DVD timeline, the commentary and some of the bonuses were from 1998, and then the updated stuff for the "Tromasterpiece collection", edition, like the updated cast interviews, are from 2005, around the same time as the "Nuke 'Em High", director's cut.

And then, we were right into the crappy Toxie sequels, the crappy Nuke 'Em sequels that Lloyd didn't even direct, then fucking Sgt. Kabukiman, and the other side crap from other directors through the 90's.


Tromeo & Juliet (1997)

Oh, I dunno, I said "Troma's War", was their masterpiece, but this one vies for the title...

It's really something special.
One of their all time greats.
And it gets better with multiple viewings.
It truly heralded the turnaround rebirth period for Troma.

Easily my favorite Shakespeare based film.

If you're like me, you respect Shakespeare, hate the culture of snobbish pretense that's built up around him, and of people that know his stuff like the back of their hand and think that's an intellectual feat.
I happen to think Shakespeare himself would've vomited at the thought of there being "Shakespeare scholars".
*Shivers at even typing the phrase*

So, for those of you that spit on that whole nasty blowhard scene, here's your movie.
The Bard all punk-rocked up like he was meant to be.

The standard skeletal plot is Romeo & Juliet, but updated to modern times, and all Troma-ed up with blood, and vomit, and brains, and lesbians, and slapstick.
And no, you don't have to grind your teeth through fucking iambic pentameter.
Fuck the Leonardo Dicaprio version.
This is so much better.
No, this isn't my goofiness talking, nor my Troma fanboyism, it really is.

The main action happens in New York, but Tromaville is seen at the end, so Tromaville is New York adjacent.

Also, Juliet's dad owns a parody version of Troma, and posters for almost everything they've ever made can be seen throughout their home.

It's written by James Gunn, who went on to write/direct one of my favorite films (and possibly my absolute favorite, it's up there) "Super".
It's his first thing ever, and to return the favor, James Gunn puts a Lloyd Kaufman cameo in all his films.
Lloyd's even going to be in "Guardians Of The Galaxy".

DVD timeline, the 10th anniversary edition stuff was recorded just as they were working on "Poultrygeist",

There's FOUR fucking commentaries on this one!
I thought "Citizen Toxie", having three was the most I'd seen.
Holy shit, four.
I think that's the most a disc will hold.

So, you get Lloyd's commentary from 1997.
James and Shawn Gunn's from 1997 that wasn't put on the disc in '97.
A Lloyd and James one from '07.
And the editors commentary from '07.

And then Lloyd and James video commentary on the deleted scenes from '07.

Holy shit, huh?
It's like I said in "Citizen Toxie", Troma makes excellent fucking DVDs.

And you know, seeing the movie 4 times to take all that in didn't make me sick of the flick at all.
It only kept getting BETTER!! (:-D

Oh, yeah, and the second disc is jam packed with updated cast interview type stuff.

Simply marvelous.

Terror Firmer (1999)

Hmm, yeah, I think this is Troma's grossest.

Other ones have a bigger quantity of splatter, or a bigger variety of fluids (looking at you, "Citizen Toxie"), but, this one will really gag you.
I've developed an iron stomach for films, and it even got to me.
You'll love it! );-)

Loosely based on Lloyd's book "All I Need To Know About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger", the story follows the exploits of a fictional Troma crew working on a fictional version of Toxie 4, and a murderer is bumping people off.

Introduces Trent Haga who played a vital role in the production of "Citizen Toxie", and is a hoot in this.
Talented kid. Wish he did more of these.

Also, the dude that played Tromeo carries over into this.
What's he doing now?

DVD wise, another one with 3 commentaries.
Second disc has a making of documentary, which, while good, wasn't as funny as the one for "Citizen Toxie".
From here on out, the DVDs fit into the time they were made.

Then came...

Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV (2000)

See here and here.

I kind of count the flick they made in "Terror Firmer", as Toxie 3.5. ;-)

Then, finally, and this is the one that Amazon tortured me with, and Bullmoose refuses to carry....

Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead (2006)

The box says "as savage as 'Dawn Of The Dead', as slapstick nutzoid as 'Evil Dead 2'".

Good comparison, but, I think this is more political than DOTD, and easily has more gallons of gore and slime than ED2.

Don't believe me?
Try 'er out.
Rent/buy this baby.

Anyway, this is to fast food what "Troma's War", is/was to Reagan era war-wanking.
Totally blows away "Fast Food Nation", and "Super Size Me".
Makes the Barth skits on "You Can't do That On Television", look like Carebears.

As far as grossout laughs, it's right up there with "Citizen Toxie".
Stands side by side.

And yes, it all happens in Tromaville.
Of course.

And did I mention it's a musical?
Lyrics are dreadful for some of them, but the tunes are catchy.
They will go earworm on you.

DVD just has a single Lloyd commentary.
Second disc has the making of, which is pretty good, but like "Terror Firmer", still isn't as funny as the "Citizen Toxie", one.
That one was lightning in a bottle.
Third disc is a karaoke disc of the songs.
I coulda lived without that, but it's neat to know the lyrics.

Up next for Troma, "Return To Nuke 'Em High", parts 1 and 2, and Toxie 5 "The Toxic Twins".

And, ugh, there, that's done.
That closes the door on that ordeal of staring psychotically at the mailman out my window for 2 fucking months (and some change).
And, we're done!

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