David Letterman Knows a Sexy Box When He Sees One
Greetings from Tromaville!
Congratulations to David Letterman. What an accomplishment! A rich, powerful, famous TV personality is able to bed young, innocent, scared-for-their-jobs gynos. He must really be proud! Bravo to Rupert Murdoch's New York Post, who recently reported, "Dave's really got a touch of class."
To show that I'm serious about my great admiration for David Letcherman, er, Letterman, there's an intern from Princeton named Raoul who's down in the basement right now. As they say, if you can't get a date, get a date with a Princeton boy! Since I need 15 minutes to perform a Letterman on Raoul, I'm handing this off to Mike Babin, our resident Troma writer. Thanks, Mike!
While Lloyd is busy Tromentoring Raoul in the basement, I'm sure David Letterman would want me to tell you about The Sexy Box, a box-set of Troma's original genre-defining sex comedies. Even though it's so commonplace now, mixing sex and comedy was an alien concept in the '70s, a little like mixing Qualuudes and champagne. Troma's sex comedies mixed slapstick humor, hot sex, and biting social satire!
You can purchase a Sexy Box here!
"Troma's Sexy Easter Eggs"
The Sexy Box, Troma's new collection of influential sex comedies, serves as a veritable history lesson on not only the sex comedy genre, but also on the origins of Troma itself. Lloyd Kaufman is best known for the films he directed for Troma, but very little has been said of the films he made before he co-founded Troma Entertainment. The Sexy Box sheds light on this overlooked time period by including Kaufman's rarely seen pre-Troma films The Girl Who Returned, The Battle of Love's Return, and the never-before-available Israeli co-production Big Gus, What's the Fuss?, which are hidden throughout the box set as Easter eggs.
The Girl Who Returned was Kaufman's very first film and was made when he was majoring in Chinese studies at Yale University. Picture young, virile Lloyd Kaufman in college wooing young coeds with his devastatingly sexy knowledge of the Chinese language. When he first arrived at college, he had very little interest in film. Coming from the theater world of New York City, Kaufman was more of a vaudevillian whose major love was musicals, but that changed under the corrupting influence of his roommates, who were major cinephiles. His discovery of movies set him on course to making The Girl Who Returned, a $2,000 mostly silent black and white feature film in which the world is composed of only two countries, Luxembourg and Mongolia, which are composed entirely of women and men respectively. Every four years, Olympic games are held in order to determine the supremacy of the world.
Although Lloyd was dissatisfied with the final product ("Ifyou put two monkeys in a room with movie cameras they will make The Girl Who Returned in about twelve days."), the experience of making it proved invaluable and taught him a thing or two about marketing. The film played at Yale the same night as the Frank Borzage classic Strange Cargo. What The Girl Who Returned lacked in cinematic achievement, it made up for with a poster of a bosomy young woman with semi-orgasmic expression on her face. Only nine people attended Strange Cargo, while 377 went to The Girl Who Returned.
Following up The Girl Who Returned proved to be a more difficult endeavor. During production, Kaufman nearly burned down his neighbors' houses after improperly handling smoke bombs during the film's battle scene. Despite this and other production setbacks, the film received positive reviews from the press, even though Kaufman could not afford a proper press screening. Howard Thompson from The New York Times actually viewed the film in Kaufman's mother's house. The film is notable for a rare acting performance from Kaufman's childhood friend and future filmmaker Oliver Stone.
If The Girl Who Returned and The Battle of Love's Return are overlooked stars in the Troma constellation, then Big Gus, What's the Fuss? is a black hole that threatened to destroy the constellation entirely. Kaufman called it "the biggest failure, monetarily and artistically, of my entire life" and said the film "has done more damage to the Jewish people than Mein Kampf." Big Gus was an Israeli co-production about a Hebrew detective. Israeli producer Ami Artzi convinced Lloyd Kaufman to make the film because he claimed that it would be a huge hit in Israel, a country desperate for Hebrew-language films. The ensuing fiasco ended up costing Lloyd, his partner Michael Herz, and all of their friends and family who invested in the film tremendous amounts of money. Despite the losses incurred from Big Gus, Kaufman retained his desire to keep making movies and walked away with several important lessons learned.
Big Gus, What's the Fuss? not been available in any home format until now, along with The Girl Who Returned and The Battle of Love's Return, as Easter eggs in The Sexy Box.
Hey, Lloyd's back! You might want to fix your hair, Lloyd. And pull up your fly.
Thanks, Mike. Raoul and I had a great time, but unlike David Letterman, no one can possibly find this. If you have any opinions about what you're reading in this column, send them here!
The Birth of Troma
The Godfather of Gore Speaks
2 or 3 Things I Know About Toxie (2 and 3)
The Troma Acting Method