HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: TALES FROM THE CRAPPER

CAST

Julie Strain (Repossessed)
Lloyd Kaufman (Super)
Jorge Garcia (Lost)
Trey Parker (South Park)
James Gunn (Tromeo and Juliet)
Ted Raimi (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Ron Jeremy (Orgazmo)
India Allen (Round Numbers)
Debbie Rochon (Slime City)
Eli Roth (Scream 4)
Trent Haaga (Terror Firmer)

Tales from the Crapper is a film that only one studio in the world could deliver. The one that has brought us innovative and original real independent films for 30 plus years now: Troma. This is truly a very special film because it manages to be certainly not my favorite of the Troma-productions, but released on a disc that because of what I just said is one of my most valued and favorite DVD’s. Not only counting the countless Troma discs I own, but counting my entire collection of films. The film itself is the result of an ill fated plan to produce a television series to be directed by a director who was trusted with a substantial amount of money (especially for Troma) to make something wonderful and delivered a lot of unfinished and incomphrehensible material before quitting (or being fired, I am not sure which at this moment). In order to prevent having to shove a vast investment down the toilet Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz decided to get together a team of directors and actors and use the material as the backbone of one movie.

Image result for tales from the crapperOne movie that really consists of two, in the nice old Tales From The Crypt anthology fashion, hosted by the Crapkeeper played by Mr Kaufman himself. But, as I said, not quite my own favorite of all their movies. That is greatly due to a weird sense of discipline at the various sets, forgetting about the hard Troma rule of “no booze on the set” which was discovered by a furious Lloyd and other less respectable emplyees that Troma had at the time of the filming of the added scenes. All this made it all but impossible for Mr Kaufman to make a worthwile product in the editing room. But Lloyd Kaufman is a genius, and with the troubled added scenes to an already misshapen startproduct he crafted not much less of a masterpiece.
Image result for tales from the crapperThe film itself is as good as circumstances would allow the most brilliant filmmaker to slice together and it is certainly highly entertaining, totally confusing, loaded with those elements that made Troma great and certainly unique and one of a kind. As a film itslef, though, not as brilliant as many other Troma productions. The genius of Independent Cinema however made the DVD of this film so much more than a release of a film with some extra’s. The film is, when push comes to shove, actually only a part of the entire dvd that in its whole is a document of the difficult situation serious filmmakers find themselves in having to survive in a world that is monopolized by the few Very Big Ones who don’t really allow any other players on their market turf. A document of the problems one has when trusting people to be on the level, only to find out that freedom sometimes is something that is hard to live up to and realisation that access to a Movie Budget when the Boss is not around can corrupt even those who should really know better.
Image result for tales from the crapperThe brilliance of this DVD is that the film is not perfect, and that Lloyd knows it, and doesn’t want to make anyone think he believes it is. The full-length commentary is a show in itself , mixing humor, sneers at those who deserve it and highly interesting information for anyone interested in Independent Filmmaking in such a fashion that watching the film again with this commentary straight after viewing it on its own merits is so interesting it is hard to stop. The feature-length documentary THE THICK BROWN LINE takes us behind the scenes at the various locations where Lloyd visits the sets only to sometimes take over and make the most of what he finds there. We see him somewhat disillusioned sometimes, different from his appearances in other Making Of Documents such as Fart of Darkness and Apocalypse Soon, both to be found in the must-own MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN MOVIE box set.

Image result for tales from the crapperThe added scenes with James Gunn (who started his carreer at Troma only to find success as a writer an now a director in Hollywood) and Trey Parker (again someone to start out with a Troma-released work, to later be a national hero with his South Park series) are entertaining and probably (as is much else on this release) a reason for obtaining this disc alone for anyone remotely interested in the work of these two characters. this is one of the best Troma-dvd-releases.

REVIEW: TERROR FIRMER

CAST

Will Keenan (Tromeo & Juliet)
Alyce LaTourelle (All The Wrong Places)
Lloyd Kaufman (Sharknado 4)
Trent Haaga (Killjoy 3)
Sheri Wenden (Dark Arc)
Debbie Rochon (Dollface)
Joe Fleishaker (Citizen Toxie)
Ron Jeremy (Orgazmo)
Kerri Kenney (Role Models)
Holly Spencer (The Skin Horse)
Trey Parker (South Park)
Matt Stone (South Park)
Eli Roth (Inglourious Basterds)
Tiffany Shepis (Tales of Halloween)

terrorfirmer7This is the story of a New York low-budget film crew, led by their insane and egotistical blind film director, Larry Benjamin, who is trying to create a work of art. In addition to the typical trials and travails of a Troma set, the crew is preyed upon by a sexually conflicted, bomb-toting serial killer. Among the large poorly paid film crew, the movie centers mostly on production assistant Jennifer, who struggles to do her job while deciding between the two men in her life; the straight-laced boom operator Casey, and the rebellious special effects operator Jerry. The love triangle intensifies as the dead bodies mount with increasingly brutality. At the climax, the entire film crew bands together (both physically and sexually) against the mortal threat in their midst.screen-shot-2014-10-21-at-15-19-44This is the mother of all B-Movies. It combines the fun and arts of film making with that of complete heresy of what should be seen by the human eye. The film has lovable characters and a message behind the love of twisted b-movies. It is for anyone who thinks outside the standard of what good movie making is and for anyone who appreciates the ridiculousness that can fit into one film all in the name of fun. I haven’t seen a movie that satisfied my love for gore and shock value all while making me laugh.

REVIEW: TROMEO & JULIET

CAST

Will Keenan (Terror Firmer)
Jane Jensen (Eyes of The Prey)
Valentine Miele (Super)
Debbie Rochon (Dollface)
Lemmy (Citizen Toxie)
Sean Gunn (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Stephen Blackehart  (Passions)
Tamara Marie Watson (Odyssey 5)
Tiffany Shepis (Tales of Halloween)

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Set in modern-day Manhattan, the film begins with the narrator (Lemmy of Motörhead) introducing two families: the Capulets and the Ques. At the center of these families are Tromeo Que and Juliet Capulet. Tromeo lives in squalor with his alcoholic father Monty and works at a tattoo parlor with his cousin Benny and friend Murray. Juliet is sequestered in her family’s mansion, watched over by her abusive father Cappy, passive mother Ingrid, and overprotective cousin Tyrone, all the while being sexually satisfied by family servant Ness (Debbie Rochon). Both Tromeo and Juliet are trapped in cases of unrequited love: Tromeo lusts for the big-bosomed, promiscuous Rosie; Juliet is engaged to wealthy meat tycoon London Arbuckle as prelude to an arranged marriage.2

In the meantime, a bloody brawl between Murray and Sammy Capulet catches the attention of Detective Ernie Scalus, who gathers the heads of the two families together and declares that they will be held personally accountable for any further breaches of peace. Almost immediately afterwards, Monty and Cappy start threatening each other with weapons. Sammy gets caught in the window of Monty’s speeding car, where he is thrown head-first into a fire hydrant and (very slowly) dies. On the insistence of Murray and Benny, Tromeo attends the Capulets’ masquerade ball in the hopes of meeting Rosie, only to find another man performing cunnilingus on her. Tromeo staggers around the party in disillusion until he locks eyes with those of Juliet. The two instantly fall for each other and share a dance until an angry Tyrone chases him out of the house.

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Tromeo and Juliet continue to be enamored by one another from afar. Cappy, disgusted at his daughter’s active libido, forcefully imprisons her in a plastic cage as punishment. Tromeo sneaks into the house of Capulet and the two meet once again. After proclaiming their love for each other both verbally and physically, they agree to be married. Juliet breaks her engagement with Arbuckle and, with the help of Father Lawrence, the two are married in secrecy the next day. Tyrone, upon discovering Juliet‘s secret affair, gathers his gang together and challenges Tromeo to a duel. Now a kinsman to the Capulets, Tromeo refuses to fight, suggesting to both sides to bring the lifelong feud to an end. Murray accepts the duel on Tromeo’s behalf and, in the ensuing brawl, is mortally wounded by Tyrone‘s club. Tromeo, enraged by his friend’s death, pursues Tyrone and slays him (through a series of car crashes which dismember him) and goes into hiding from the police.4Learning that she is involved with Tromeo, Cappy savagely beats Juliet and forces her to reconcile with Arbuckle. Arbuckle accepts her re-proposal and the marriage is set. Juliet visits Father Lawrence, who reunites her with Tromeo and enlists the help of Fu Chang, the apothecary, who sells Juliet a special potion which will aide her predicament. On the day of her wedding, Juliet swallows the apothecary’s potion, transforming her into a hideous cow monster, complete with a three-foot penis. The mere sight of her causes Arbuckle to leap out of Juliet’s window in fright, committing suicide. Enraged over the loss of his would-be son-in-law and meat inheritance, Cappy attempts to rape and murder Juliet, but Tromeo arrives just in time, knocking Cappy unconscious and bringing Juliet’s appearance back to normal by a single kiss. Cappy awakens, taking both lovers captive by crossbow-point. While he is distracted, Juliet performs one last act of defiance against her father and electrocutes him.5

As Tromeo and Juliet leave the house of Capulet, they are confronted by Ingrid and Monty, who reveal to them the real reason behind the Capulet/Que feud: Long ago, Cappy and Monty were the owners of the successful Silky Films production company. Ingrid, married to Monty at time, struck up an affair with Cappy, eventually birthing a son which Monty raised as his own. Faced with a divorce from Ingrid and the threat of having his son taken away from him, Monty was forced to sign over all the rights of Silky Films to the Capulets in exchange for his son. After the initial shock at the revelation that they are siblings, Tromeo and Juliet are determined not to let their whole ordeal be for naught; they passionately embrace and drive off into the sunset. The film picks up six years later in Tromaville, New Jersey, where Tromeo and Juliet, now married, have become suburban yuppies with a house and (birth defected/deformed) children of their own.The film ends with the narrator’s brief poem for the lovers: “And all of our hearts free to let all things base go/As taught by Juliet and her Tromeo”. A brief shot of William Shakespeare laughing uproariously is shown before the end credits.1

Tromeo and Juliet offers up a lot of the gross-out stuff and crazy, X-rated cartoonish violence. It also has James Gunn as writer and of the film, and it’s fascinating to see after Slither and Super to see that his mark is on it: the film is more disturbing than one might expect from the crude but playful Kaufman, such as the ‘black room’ with the Plexiglas Capulet has, and some of the more crazy sexual dialog.  It’s outrageous, it’s stupid, it’s childish, offensive, disgusting, maybe pornographic in its fetishizing of special effects, But it’s fun, and it knows it, and that’s what counts here.

REVIEW: TOXIC CRUSADERS: THE MOVIE

CAST (VOICES)

Gregg Berger (Transformers)
Susan Blu (Curious George)
Rodger Bumpass (Monsters, Inc.)
Paul Eiding (Wall-E)
Susan Silo (James Bond Jr)
Kath Soucie (Futurama)
Michael J. Pollard (Scrooged)

The cartoon follows roughly the same plot as the films The Toxic Avenger and it’s two succeeding sequels. A complete and hopeless nerd, Melvin, falls into toxic waste and becomes Toxie, a hideously deformed mutant of superhuman size and strength. Teaming with other mutants, No-Zone (whose power comes from radioactive sneezes), Major Disaster (he can control plants), Head-banger (Fender, a singing telegram delivery surfer-type, and Dr. Bender, a stereotype mad scientist, fused together – a hybrid character based on the Siamese twins in “Troma’s War”) and Junkyard, a dog/hobo hybrid, to become The Toxic Crusaders! Together they fight crime in every sense of the word and finally turn their attention on the Apolalypse Inc. of the movies Toxic Avenger Parts II & III, although in the series the chairman is an alien as opposed to Satan. The series follows the attempts of the crusaders to fight crime and be environmentally safe.Image result for TOXIC CRUSADERSThe movie is merely 3 episodes of the short lived cartoon series loosely based on the cult horror movie “The Toxic Avenger” and it’s sequels. Chalk it up to what the hell were they thinking? Of course after seeing this cartoon series about a nerd being turned into a hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength, who then teams up with a gang of other mutants to make the world ecologically friendly by doing battle with an alien and his minions, and afterwords buying the endless toy tie ins, kids would want to see the movies that it was based on. But even disregarding that warped notion, the cartoon was ludicrously bad and had an unpalatable ‘save the environment’ scenario that was only topped by the simply repulsive indoctrinating garbage that was “Captain Planet”.

REVIEW: CITIZEN TOXIE: THE TOXIC AVENGER IV

 

CAST

David Mattey (Hanock)
Clyde Lewis (Nightfall)
Heidi Sjursen (Spell Out)
Paul Kyrmse (Terror Firmer)
Debbie Rochon (Tromeo and Juliet)
Ron Jeremy (Orgazmo)
Corey Feldman (The Lost Boys)
Trent Haaga (Killjoy Goes To Hell)
Mark Torgl (Beast)
Rick Collins (SGT. Kabukiman NYPD)
Lisa Gaye (Terror Firmer)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Eli Roth (Inglorious Basterds)
Hugh M. Hefner (The House Bunny)
Tiffany Shepis (Tales of Halloween)

Image result for CITIZEN TOXIEThis is an excellent sequel, that goes incredibly way over the line, and you know what?, I absolutely loved it!. All the characters are excellent, and the story while juvenile and incredibly bizarre was awesome, plus the performances are all highly amusing!. It was often very bizarre but in a good way, and it has to be one of the goriest films I have ever seen, plus it’s very well made and written for it’s low budget. This is even better then the awesome original Toxic Avenger, and it had some bizarre characters (Like The Vibrator, Dolphin man etc,etc) but they all were really cool, plus I loved the final showdown between Good Toxie and Evil Toxie!. The diaper mafia at the beginning were just hilarious, and while I did feel ashamed for laughing at some things because they went way over the line, I couldn’t help it! plus it’s extremely creative as well. It also may be the best Troma movie I have ever seen, and the gore effects were very good for it’s low budget, plus I also loved it’s sleaziness.LE-FEU-SOUS-LA-PEAU-SUBURBAN-MAYHEMThis is definitely one of the goriest films I have ever seen. We get Ripped out tongues, tons of very bloody impaling’s an old lady gets her face squished by car, a very gory baby fight in someone’s belly, tons and tons of severed limbs all over the place, cut off arms, cut off hands,someone’s dick blows up (you heard me), people sh*t themselves,ripped of b*alls,cross out the moth in back of head,2 buckets full of intestines and other goodies, so many people get there intestines ripped out in graphic detail,someone is cut in half, severed head, tons of extremely bloody gunshot wounds,buckets and buckets of blood and so incredibly much more I can’t even remember!.
Image result for CITIZEN TOXIEThe Acting is a lot of fun!. David Mattey is brilliant as both the Toxie’s he was funny, charming, was tons of fun to watch, and he seemed to have a ball as Evil Toxie, he truly is The Toxic Avenger and I hope to see him playing Toxie once more if they do an Toxic Avenger 5!. Heidi Sjursen is great fun as both Sarah and Claire, she played it straight, and I had fun watching her, I really dug her. Paul Kyrmse is a lot of fun as Kabukiman especially when ever he got drunk, he was also fun as the evil one too. Joe Fleishaker is hilarious as the sidekick Lard Ass/Chester, and boy can he ever eat!. Michael Budinger is funny as the handicapped Junkie I loved him!. Lisa Terezakis is hilarious as Sweetie Honey and was extremely convincing. Rest of the cast are fine. Overall a must see for everyone!.

REVIEW: THE TOXIC AVENGER – PART III: THE LAST TEMPTATION OF TOXIE

CAST

Ron Fazio (Basket Case 2)
John Altamura (New York Nights)
Phoebe Legere (King of New York)
Rick Collins (SGT. Kabukiman NYPD)
Lisa Gaye (Terror Firmer)
Jessica Dublin (Troma’s War)
Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight)
Mitch Cohen (Clerks)

As many fans can tell you, THE TOXIC AVENGER PARTS II & III were originally supposed to be one movie, that wound up being cut in half due to TROMA having a little over four hours worth of footage. Naturally cutting one film into two, results in many flaws & continuity errors in both films. Despite it’s many flaws, Part III, arguably turned out to be the better sequel out of the two & thus far has the best plot line out of any of the TOXIC AVENGER films. The story is far more interesting than it was in Part II & adds a Faustian like plot line, which features a depressed, suicidal & a bored, down on his luck former superhero, with no crime left to clean up & trying to help fund his fiancée’s eye operation, that will restore her sight, but without any luck, until he is offered a job as the spokesman & assistant to a conglomerate corporation – Apocalypse Inc. this time Apocalypse is featured as a corporation literally from hell & a much eviler Chairman, that tells Toxie they want to re-build Troma into a thriving metropolis that will see everyone with a well paying job & much nicer city full of business & opportunities, but are really intending to brain wash Toxie & turn him into a corporate yuppie, while they transfer their chemicals & force the people into submission, until Toxie learns of their deeds & intends to flush them out, only to discover the Chairman he is working for, is really the Devil himself!12252_4Whom he has sold his soul to & may not be able to up seat him at all, without the Devil destroying him. The opening scene set at a video store, that sees Toxie fighting off a group of criminals features some pretty effective gore scenes & some of the best kills this series has to offer. The film also takes a humorous jab at capitalism & the corporate lifestyles. Part III also continues it’s self referential angle, as Toxie stands up in front of a cardboard cut out of himself from the first film & then uses the VHS version of the first movie to tie up a criminal. Plus the video store is littered with tons of Troma movies. RICK COLLINS is a hoot as the chairman/devil. Troma’s Two Million dollar price tag for both movies, was clearly put to good use since both films features countless stunts, chases, explosions & fight scenes, but the films for whatever reason still felt cheap, despite a much slicker look.


That said while Part III is clearly more interesting in terms of plot than Part II. The downside is Part II was clearly better in giving fans what the wanted & expected from the series. Over the top gory kills every few minutes, tons of action & gratuitous nudity.  Part III’s main problems mainly consist of the fact that what makes up for the majority of the films running time, is merely extended scenes of shots already in Part II, including the sex scene between Clair & Toxie, which is just the extended version of the one used in Part II. Plus many of the scenes are just plain silly & could have been cut out of the film. Not only that, after the opening video store massacre, there is no gore & no violence until the last half hour, when Toxie takes on the Devil. Toxie’s dad which showed up at the end of Part II, also is not seen anywhere in the film.

Image result for the toxic avenger part iiiThe results of cutting one movie into two, also results in a series of continuity problems such is as follows: Toxie II saw Toxie returning from Japan to chase Apocalypse out, but yet he seemingly has no memory of this here, simply because he now joins them, by taking a job offer they have for him & becoming a yuppie in the process Although shot in 1989, PART III would wind up being picked up by the now defunct VESTRON VIDEO, where it sat on the shelf unreleased until 1991. However this was in many ways a blessing for Part III, since the film landed on video store shelves around the same time the TOXIC CRUSADERS cartoon series was playing on TV, as a result of this, Part III, was heavily promoted in video outlets. JOHN ALTAMURA (who left midway in production after a disagreement with the film-makers) & RON FAZIO (who also plays a member of Apocalypse) do well in the title role, although I tend to prefer Fazio, simply because the scenes Altemura is in, makes Toxies face look chubbier. LLOYD KAUFMAN & MICHAEL HERZ both direct the film with an assured hand & the acting is mainly bad, but then again it’s TROMA, so what do you expect? But again like in PART II, I was still thinking to myself, wasn’t Claire named Sarah in the first film? & wasn’t Toxie’s last name Fern & not Junko? it seems like the film-makers changed Toxie’s last name to a Japanese one, in order to fuel their plot for Part II, with Toxie thinking his dad was maybe Japanise, but it is still stupid.

Image result for the toxic avenger - PART IIIIn the end, despite it’s many flaws I enjoyed Part III & would definitely recommend it. Followed by a direct sequel to the first film only, that ignores Part II & III – CITIZEN TOXIE: THE TOXIC AVENGER 4.

REVIEW: THE TOXIC AVENGER – PART II

CAST

Ron Fazio (Basket Case 2)
John Altamura (New York Nights)
Phoebe Legere (King of New York)
Rick Collins (SGT. Kabukiman NYPD)
Lisa Gaye (Terror Firmer)
Jessica Dublin (Troma’s War)
Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight)
Tsutomu Sekine (Ressha Sentai ToQger)

Image result for the toxic avenger - PART IIIn 1984, Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz created Troma’s brand of a superhero, which was the ‘Toxic Avenger’. It brought the small indie film studio into the limelight, which created an instant cult following, and made enough money to finance several further films. This superhero was a nerdy guy janitor who was bullied and picked on, but then fell into a vat of toxic waste and emerged a horribly disfigured superhero who would fight the bad guys in town.
Image result for the toxic avenger - PART IIThe year 1989 came around and Kaufman and Herz decided to make sequel and a quick buck as well, and thus ‘The Toxic Avenger: Part II’ was born. There are a lot of fun moments here with this sequel, but Kaufman and Herz decided the more over- the-top this is, the better the film will be. That’s not always the case, as is here with Part II. Instead of telling a somewhat cohesive story from start to finish and furthering along the Toxie character in their own Troma way, Kaufman and Herz decided to drag out gross out and gooey scenes too long and put together a bunch of schlocky-silly skits together with blood and guts, rather than keep the story flowing.

Image result for the toxic avenger - PART IIDon’t get me wrong, there are some genuine good moments here, but they wear out there welcome rather quickly, even when the crew heads to Japan for a change of scenery. After the events of the first film, Toxie lives with his girlfriend and works at the center for the blind. The town he lives in is free of the bad guys, where everyone lives more or less a hippy lifestyle. Low and behold though, the evil people at Apocalypse Inc., the evil corporation whose sole purpose is to pollute the Earth has a new sinister plan.Image result for the toxic avenger - PART IIHowever, they know that The Toxic Avenger will stand in their way of their cruel schemes, thus they try to kill Toxie. Meanwhile, Toxie is dealing with his own personal demons in addition to brutally killing the bad guys. He has sever depression and wants to know who his real father is, which sets him out on a journey via windsurfing to Japan to locate his father. It seems like Troma would have quite the character study here, but let’s get serious for a minute. This is Troma, and Troma is mostly just interested in more nudity, gore, and violence.

One of the unfortunate things here is that Kaufman and Herz throw all the playing cards on the table in the first fifteen minutes of the movie in one long action scene of destruction, and the film never recovers. They literally blew their wad too early. There are a few later scenes that pack this kind of action, but it is very short lived with long gaps of slow pacing problems. In the end, I still love that this sequel is part of the whole Toxie franchise, but it’s very inconsistent and riddled with trying to go the extra mile than telling a cohesive story.