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DVD Stalk Blog - Stalking You Daily!

THE MEANING OF "TROMA"

Greetings from Tromaville!

What's in a name? A rose by any name would smell as sweet, and by that logic, a 35-year-old independent film studio called anything other than Troma would retain the unforgettable Aroma du Troma perfume smell. It would still, however, find ways to offend people. Would any other studio anthologize the films of Soviet sleaze maestro Yakov Levi? Of course not, so we took it upon ourselves to make sure that the Eastern European John Waters gets the exposure that he deserves with Shameless, Tasteless: Trash Cinema from the Soviet Underground. Here's a trailer!

For many years, I had admired Roger Corman. With Samuel Arkoff's American International Pictures, Roger had directed and produced hundreds of films. He had given career starts to such filmmakers as Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, John Carpenter, John Sayles, and many more of today's finest. Roger made films on limited budgets with more than a dash of integrity. He was uniquely successful. He created his own industry and inspired armies of young filmmakers.

Michael and I were mimicking Roger when we first started Troma. We had the concept for a small studio that could turn out unique, quality films at a time when theaters actually needed them. Due especially to the proliferation of multiplexes, there were more screens at that time than there were movies being released. It was a lot easier to get into theaters. As a new studio, we would produce and distribute films that had predefined audiences--horror (Bloodsucking Freaks), sex (Squeeze Play, Waitress, Stuck on You, and The First Turn-On, which can all be found in The Sexy Box), and science fiction (Class of Nuke 'Em High). If you made a romantic comedy, there was a chance that absolutely nobody would see it. But if you made a monster movie or a movie with lots of breasts, there would be some sort of audience no matter what. From this base we would expand, in the tradition of the comics' Marvel Universe, to create an entire world.

We called it Troma.

For years we have been asked about where we got the name. Our stock answer is that Troma is the ancient Latin word for "excellence in celluloid."

The common response to this is "Oh, that's interesting," nodding, and then a double take: "Hey, wait a minute!"

There has been a rumor around for years that Troma is an acronym for "Tits R Our Main Asset." This is definitely not true. We are not that clever.

Just last year I found out that Troma is an actual word, for a metal alloy found in China. We deny any relationship to this Communist resource.

The truth, for the first time anywhere, is as follows:

Michael and I had kicked Ami Artzi, the man responsible for the Big Gus, What's the Fuss? fiasco, out of the company, so the name Armor, Inc. was no longer an option. We needed a new corporation, and to incorporate in New York State you need to register the corporate name. Registration takes about six weeks to process. Now, since New York is a very old state, there have been literally millions of corporate names. We needed a company name that hadn't yet been registered, and fast. Zeus Pictures?--taken. Madcap Films?--no go. Barry Neville, Inc.?--sorry. I'm-Stuffing-A-Donkey-Up-My-Ass, Inc.?--no, there was an I'm-Stuffing-A-Donkey-Up-My-Ass for two weeks in 1923. Every time we came up with a name, we were struck down by the gods at the registration office, who maintained that every appellation, no matter how ludicrous, had been used.

So Michael suggested we make up a word. But not just any word.

"Let's think of the most ugly sounding word ever uttered by man," he said. The words started to form on his lips. "T-T-Tr...Tr..."

"T.R. is good," I said.

"Tro..."

"Trobo?" I said.

"Too sweet," Michael said. "Trom... Let's see... Trom..."

"Trom?"

"A."

"A? What happened to the T.R.?"

"TROMA!" Michael uttered, grimacing as if he had just laid a giant turd."

"It's not as catchy as I'm-Stuffing-A-Donkey-Up-My-Ass," I said. "But what the hell, it sure sounds horrible."


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