On April 22nd 2010, The New Beverly Cinema hosted a 35th anniversary celebration for the indie movie mavericks TROMA and their legendary CEO and founder LLOYD KAUFMAN was in attendance! TROMA has always held a special place in my movie-nerd heart and there was no way I could pass on an opportunity to see THE TOXIC AVENGER again on the big screen. I was but a mere pup working at a video store in the Chicago suburbs, when I was first introduced to Toxie and the crazy citizens of Tromaville, New Jersey. I brought THE TOXIC AVENGER home one night after work and popped it into my parent’s VCR for a look. I was utterly floored by the combination of over the top humor, social satire and graphic violence. I made it a point to see every TROMA movie they had at my store. I watched CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH (my second favorite after TOXIC AVENGER), SURF NAZIS MUST DIE, SGT. KABUKIMAN NYPD, TROMA WAR, TROMEO AND JULIET, etc. I always found a gross charm to their movies, and under the big tits and cheap ass gore, a subtle subversiveness.
In typical TROMA fashion, LLOYD KAUFMAN and his sideshow of crazy characters were on hand before and during the movies. LLOYD filmed the line of TROMA fans with his own camera and greeted everyone in sight, along with COUNT SMOKULA on his accordion, TOXIE and a cavalcade of scantily clad starlets and weirdoes.
Once inside, LLOYD KAUFMAN, TOXIE, and COUNT SMOKULA were joined on stage by POULTRYGEIST co-star RON JEREMY. The former porn star played the harmonica in a weird duet with COUNT SMOKULA on his accordion, while costumed freaks and hot girls danced around. The shit was surreal.
After a crazy musical number and an incoherent speech from LLOYD, the show began. There was a trailer reel of all TROMA titles that included: SUGAR COOKIES, MOTHER’S DAY, ZOMBIE ISLAND MASSACRE, CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH, SURF NAZIS MUST DIE, TROMA’S WAR, TROMEO AND JULIET and CITIZEN TOXIE: THE TOXIC AVENGER IV. Then, we were treated to a special director’s cut of THE TOXIC AVENGER, which included a deleted scene involving the Mayor on a golf course and two of the longest 80’s montages ever edited. It was EPIC watching this movie with an audience full of TROMA fanatics. I remembered watching THE TOXIC AVENGER as a midnight movie at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre way back in the day. It’s truly a movie to watch with others. The style of TOXIC is all over the place and I think that’s a huge part of its success. Part gross out comedy, part comic book movie, part revenge flick and part horror movie. It’s got it all and I love it. Even though they’re talking about doing a TOXIC AVENGER remake, I guarantee you will never again see a scene where a little boy get his head crushed under the tire of a speeding car and it’s all played for laughs, ever again. Pity.
There was a chaotic Q and A afterwards. The only real newsworthy item was that there will eventually be another TROMA TEAM produced TOXIC AVENGER movie, hopefully. I was going to leave due to exhaustion from the previous evenings indulgence, but decided to stay and check out a little of TROMA’S newest film, POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD. I’m sooooooo glad I did!
Bad things happen when a new military-themed fast food restaurant called American Chicken Bunker opens up in Tromaville. For starters, it’s built over a cursed Indian burial sight. Then, it’s protested by a feminist-led animal rights group called C.L.A.M. To make matters worse, new employee Arbie’s girlfriend Wendy has gone off to college and become a militant lesbian. And oh yeah, all the food gets contaminated and everyone who eats it turns into a giant man-eating chicken-zombie. It’s up to Arbie and Wendy, along with fellow employees-Denny, Carl Jr., Humus (a young woman of Arab decent) and their boss General Lee Roy (a white cracker stereotype), to put aside their differences and save the day.
POULTRYGEIST is gross, insulting, obnoxious, homophobic, racist, sexist and hilarious fun! Every ethnic group is raked over the coals. The comedy ranges from juvenile, to gross, to brilliant. On occasion, it suddenly becomes a musical and the characters break into these wonderfully funny song and dance numbers. I was shocked and blown away by how much fun I had and I stayed for the whole damn thing. LLOYD KAUFMAN directed this movie beautifully and I gotta say, it’s definitely a true TROMA film in every sense of the word. If you like their particular brand of independent insanity, I suggest you check it out. You won’t be disappointed. Nerd out!