2- Troma Is Influential
What do Peter Jackson (above), Quentin Tarantino, The Farrelly Brothers,, Takashi Miike, Neveldine/Taylor, and the aforementioned South Park guys all have in common? They’re huge Troma fans. In fact, look at any of their early works and you’ll see that the majority of them started their careers making higher budgeted Troma movies.
Bad Taste is a DIY, gore soaked, puke drinking alien invasion flick with monsters and effects (by Jackson himself) that would easily be home in a Toxic Avenger sequel.
Quentin Tarantino’s “kitchen sink” approach to Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill (the whole bloody affair) and Inglourious Basterds) are uniquely Tromatic in their fearless mashing of genres, tone, comedy, and over-the-top violence.
Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, and There’s Something About Mary are often Tromatic combinations of hilarious sex, scatological humor, and often surreal slapstick in big budget formats.
Cabin Fever is a bodyfilm riddled with surreal comedy asides (“Pancakes!” anyone?) that are Kaufman’s cinematic stock-in-trade.
Miike’s extreme cinematic style in films Ichi The Killer filters Troma’s violent impulses and weird humor through a distinctively weirderlens.
Crank is an over-the-top amphetamine trip in the form of an action movie that could easily be set in Tromaville.
Not only has Kaufman influenced these filmmakers, he also gave such talents as James Gunn (Slither, Super), and Oliver Stone (Natural Born Killers) their start.
Wait, wha…? Oliver Stone? Yes, it’s true. Kaufman himself takes full credit for his former Yale classmates career, noting (in an Onion A.V. Room interview),
“My roommate and I at Yale made two feature-length movies with a Bolex, which is a wind-up camera, not a social disease, while Oliver would hang out… as a result of hanging around us, he went to film school.”
Stone later collaborated with Kaufman’s directorial debut, The Battle of Love’s Return and the Kaufman-produced Sugar Cookies before the two parted ways and, well, you saw The Hand. I don’t have to tell you what happens. But we should thank Lloyd Kaufman all the same.
3- Kaufman supports independent cinema
That is actually a gross understatement. Kaufman lives, sleeps, breathes, and eats independent cinema. When not directing, producing, distributing, or developing projects for Troma, Kaufman is spending his time pounding the pavement, doing interviews, kissing babies, and helping other poor saps make their independent films come true.
Twitter and Facebook have allowed fans to reach out to celebrities they’ve long admired. I can ask John Cusack an inane question about the making of One Crazy Summer, or invite Jaleel White over to my place for a Family Matters themed party in the blink of an eye. Sure, they probably won’t answer me back, but maybe their assistants will, and man, will I have Twitter bragging rights for the next month or so.
But Lloyd Kaufman is an example of a celebrity who was widely available before Twitter and Facebook were an itch in their Internet Daddy’s pants. Wanted to ask him a question? Send him hate mail? Set up an interview? Based on my experiences, all you’d have to do is e-mail him. Or approach him at a convention. Or, hell, if you time it right, drop by Troma’s building. He has long committed himself to politicking the media and providing fans with his attention and availability.
Unlike most celebrity directors (even the most minor sort), Kaufman constantly hustles to get the word out about Troma and the importance of supporting independent art. He stretches the latter ethos even more by making himself widely available to appear in other people’s independent films for absolutely nothing.
That’s right. You too can have Lloyd Kaufman in your independent film, barring his schedule is clear. He’s made himself famous for flying himself to other people’s film sets or even filming bit parts out of Troma studios. While a finein his own right, he is equally an accomplished cameo performer. With 204 acting roles to his credit on IMDB, Lloyd’s commitment to up-and-coming indies can be seen in everything from Slaughter Daughter to II, and the upcoming Angry Video Game Nerd Movie.
Of course, this ethos carries far beyond the realm of the Internet and low-budget horror cinema. Kaufman is also a board member and former chairman of the Independent Film & Television Alliance, an organization dedicated to protecting and strengthening filmmakers ability to make films independently. They’re also responsible for holding the American Film Market, the world’s largest annual motion picture trade event. So for those thinking that Kaufman’s work extends only to his dealings with Troma and their low-budget filmmaking fans, think again. He’s a legitimate player and powerhouse in the struggle for independent filmmakers and deserves the respect and admiration of film fanatics of all walks of life.
Lloyd Kaufman does kayfabe???