Greetings from Tromaville!
Just finished going through the mail here in the Troma Building, and guess what? No one sent me my $2 million ransom, which I asked for in my introductory letter in exchange for the return of DVD Talk's horror column (unless someone is trying to pay the ransom in pudding fart porn, but I think that's part of the regular mail). Just go to your local bank and take out the money. If that's too difficult, maybe you should watch this to get a handle on banking.
I know I said we'd be talking about The Hanging Woman, but I made a mistake. Sorry, folks. I took a lot of acid in the '60s and my brain don't work no good no more. We're not going to talk about The Hanging Woman now, but for those of you who are disappointed, here's a picture of me hanging myself!
And now onto the big story! Something more inspiring than hanging: pedophilia!
Just like Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, and Martin Scorsese, we're going to pay tribute to one of the most sensitive and respected artists of all time: Roman Polanski. Little known fact that one of the most famous and innovative scenes in cinema history from The Toxic Avengerwas inspired by Polanski, who infamously gave champagne and Quaaludes to a 13-year-old and sodomized her. We took the PPP (Polanski Pedophile Project) one step further: we crushed the child's head with an automobile!
The Toxic Avenger made history because it's the only movie which features a child's head getting crushed by an automobile that was made into an environmentally correct Saturday morning cartoon for children whom Roman Polanski could have drugged and sodomized. Even though there have been four feature length films, an animated series, a Marvel comic, a novelization, and stage musical adaptation, the Troma Team is bringing Toxie into the digital age with The Toxic Avenger 5: The Toxic Twins.
The Toxic Avenger 5 will be an interactive Toxie as a making-of will be shot and shown by our broadcasting partner. Each segment will be broadcast with a sneak peak at edited footage! Fans will be able to provide feedback to the producers to create a totally unique and fully interactive filmmaking experience, culminating in the North American broadcast premiere of The Toxic Avenger 5. Troma will be blazing the trail through the digital age as this installment of Toxie will be shot in high-def!
Troma's 35th year is proving to be one of our strongest yet. In addition to our strong slate of new movies and productions, we'll be releasing a new blu-ray every month starting in January. There's also a remake of the Troma classic Mother's Day in the works from producer Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) and director Darren Lynn Bousman (the Saw sequels).
Thinking about the upcoming year for Troma is really getting me hot. Oh wait, I think that's the acid flashback kicking in again. I'm going to trip, so I'll be turning this over to our resident Troma Team Reporter who will be shining a light on one of the most pivotal periods in Troma's history.
The Horror Film is Dead?
"THE HORROR FILM IS DEAD," or so said a headline in Variety in the early '80s. Troma Vice President Michael Herz's response: "I think it's time Troma made a horror movie." Before Troma had built a reputation as one of the premiere studios for horror films, they were known as the purveyors of raunchy sex comedies. The Variety headline appeared shortly after the release of The First Turn-On, their first sex comedy to perform poorly at the box office. Herz and Lloyd Kaufman were concerned that the studio was falling into a rut and were simply making the same movie over and over again. A horror film seemed like a great change of pace.
Kaufman and Herz decided that they wanted to set their horror film in one of those health clubs that was trendy at the time. Entitled Heath Club Horror, the health club was going to be the home to a monster who, instead of killing good people, killed bad people.
They had a premise and a title, but something was missing. After an extended period of deep thought and meditation (i.e. watching women through apartment windows), Kaufman had an epiphany: make it a comedy! Kaufman rushed to the Troma office to tell Herz who saw it too: they were going to make a horror-comedy! As the concept of a horror-comedy gelled, they realized that their monster would be good. In fact, he'd be a hero.
Kaufman and Herz calculated that the budget on The Toxic Avenger would end up being about $500,000 and set out on what they thought would be a long, arduous journey to raise the money. They approached somebody who had told them at a party that he wanted to invest in a film of theirs. Not only did he get them the money almost immediately, they also got his girlfriend, who ended up playing Toxie's blind girlfriend Sarah.
Working with special effects artist Jennifer Aspinall on designing Toxie, Kaufman had very specific ideas about what he should look like. "I wanted a face extremely disgusting, with bubbling pustules. I wanted part of the skin around his mouth torn away so that we could see the teeth below. I wanted the face to looks like a Picasso cubist face."
Aspinall considered his thoughts very carefully and came back with a sketch entirely different from what Kaufman described. She made him lumpy where Kaufman wanted bubbly and gave him a full face when he wanted a torn mouth. When Kaufman persisted on having the mouth torn, Aspinall responded with "If we did that, he couldn't smile." Kaufman later realized the importance of Toxie's smile, but at the time, all he could appreciate was that Aspinall had retained the Picasso influence.
Almost all the pieces were in place, but they were still missing a name, not just of the movie, but of the hero himself. Throughout the production, the movie was still called Health Club Horror. In the movie, the hero's fans wear t-shirts that say "The Monster Hero," but "Monster Hero" just does not have a ring to it. Kaufman played around with the word "toxic" to see with what it might sound good. Finally, a longtime friend of Kaufman and Herz mentioned that films with the word "Avenger" were doing well in foreign markets. And so the Toxic Avenger was born.
Hey everyone, Toxie's here! He's been all over the place lately, like the New York Stock Exchange where he rang the opening bell. Is there anything you'd like to say to the readers of DVD Talk?
"You can get your Toxic Avenger DVDs and Complete Toxic Avenger box sets here!"
The Michael Bay Appreciation Society has been trying to get their column back, but they're getting nowhere. Here's why they'll never succeed: thanks to The New York Times, CNN, and The Today Show, we know all the tricks to terrorism. I'm now able to hold onto this column for as long as I want: 30 days.
Breaking news: thanks to Rupert Murdoch's New York Post, there's an article about how terrorists can put bombs up their chocolate canals. The New York Post has considerately detailed how x-rays can't detects the bum-bombs, so any 13-year-old who hasn't been violated by Roman Polanski can blow up his school with a bomb up his kazoo. Thank you, Rupert Murdoch and the New York Post.
And thank you, Toxie, and thank you, Roman Polanski. You're both role models for children all over the world. And now, back to our tribute to another inspiring, bigger than life Hollywood figure: David Carradine!
The Birth of Troma
The Godfather of Gore Speaks
2 or 3 Things I Know About Toxie (2 and 3)
The Troma Acting Method