Good afternoon, I was wondering, given some previous talk about Troma, where to start with their various works? Also, I can't seem to find your ask page from your theme, had to type it in manually.
I’m surprised anyone can ever find it. It’s hiding in the little red and white question mark (EDIT: Welp, nevermind. For some reason, it ain’t there. Gonna have to fix that). My theme is desperately in need of a change, but that is yet another thing that I cannot do until I can get this “licensing has stopped working” crap figured out that’s preventing me from running Photoshop.
When it comes to Troma, they fall into two main categories: Films produced in-house, and films acquired for distribution. The best place to start with Troma is their in-house productions (luckily, Troma has made most of their library available to be watched online via their official Youtube channel, so clicking each title will take you right to the movie! However, I highly recommend picking them up on DVD or Blu-ray if you end up loving them, because the releases are always loaded with hilarious and wonderful extras):
Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.
(1990) - Save for the Toxic Crusaders cartoon series, this would be your gentlest introduction into the Troma film universe, as it was–under the funding of Namco (yes, that Namco)–intended to appeal to a wider audience than most Troma fare. It’s honestly one of the greatest and most enjoyable films in existence.
The Toxic Avenger (1984) - The film that first brought Troma widespread acclaim, this is absolutely quintessential viewing for anyone interested in the company’s films. There is no choice. Unfortunately, this one is not located on Troma’s Youtube channel, but you can still watch it for free online at Frightpix (they have an entire section dedicated to just Troma movies!). Frightpix is also available as an app via Xbox Live as well! There are currently three sequels in the Toxie saga, and they are also all worth watching (the first two were originally shot as a single film in Japan, where Lloyd and the crew won the affection and respect of the Japanese filmmakers they worked with by adopting Japanese customs while living there for the filming).
Class of Nuke ‘Em High (1986) - One of my personal favorites, mainly because of The Cretins. If you’re also a fan of raunchy 80′s high school movies, this one’s for you! There are four sequels following this one, with the latest being Return to Nuke ‘Em HighVol 1 (2013), and Return to Nuke ‘Em High Vol 2 (2016) (the latter will be out this year). While I haven’t seen the series’ comeback, I personally enjoyed the first two Nuke ‘Em High sequels, even though I can understand why others didn’t care for them.
Troma’s War (1988) - This one got ol’ Uncle Lloyd in a bit of trouble back in the day, and it’s easy for the average person to see why. It’s certainly not for the easily-offended (i.e., tumblr), but if you have a reasonable sense of humor, it’s…ridiculously entertaining. I adore it. Morton Downey was an asshole (if you don’t know how this is related, take a look).
Tromeo and Juliet (1996) - This is about as far-removed from the Bard as it gets, but this Tromasterpiece carries the honored distinction of being co-written by James Gunn, who would later go on to write the dialogue for Dawn of the Dead (2004) and Lollipop Chainsaw (2012), as well as write and direct Slither (2006) and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).
Terror Firmer (1999) - It was this film that caused the Troma crew to run afoul of the NYPD numerous times, to the point of having their filming permit revoked (which, of course, didn’t stop them. If Larry Cohen can shoot without permits, why can’t Lloyd Kaufman?).
Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006) - I will forever lament that I didn’t find out until too late from an ex that there was a screening of this within driving distance where Lloyd went out to lunch with a bunch of the audience afterwards. I have had people reproach and shame me for recommending this movie to them. I stand by my decision.
Mother’s Day (1980) - While this was made prior to Troma developing its distinctive style (at the tail end of the “sexy comedies” era that came prior to the unleashing of The Toxic Avenger upon the world), it was written and directed by Lloyd’s brother, Charles Kaufman, with Lloyd and Micheal Herz serving as associate producers.
Redneck Zombies (1989) - Anyone that’s been following me long enough saw this entry coming. Yes, this film is crude, shot-on-video (complete with cheap video distortion effects!), and sports plenty of offensive toilet humor and lampooning of sexuality that would never past muster with today’s audiences. It’s beautiful.
Combat Shock (1984) - This is a film that requires an amount of patience to really appreciate. It’s ugly, grueling, and has no happy ending, which is exactly how it should be. Despite some outrageous elements, this is not a “fun” movie. It’s a man’s life completely breaking down.
Cannibal! The Musical (1993) - Before they found mainstream success with South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone created a musical about notorious American cannibal Alferd Packer. Troma was the only company willing to take a chance on it. After their show debuted on Comedy Central to massive success, many companies tried to talk Parker and Stone into cutting ties with Troma, and passing distribution to a bigger company. Both Troma fans, the pair declined, and it remains a proud part of the Troma library.
Surf Nazis Must Die (1987) - Not gonna lie: You’re either going to love this movie, or fuckin’ hate it. There doesn’t seem to be any in-between. It’s either going to be the most boring thing you’ve ever seen, or one of the most strangely charming. Either way, it’s got a badass old black lady busting out of a retirement home, and blasting the shit out of a bunch of Neo-Nazis. Long Live Leroy’s Mama!
Rabid Grannies (1988) - This oddity from Belgium (don’t worry–it’s in English) takes a while to get going, but once it does, it’s…something else. I think it at least deserves credit for having some amazing poster artwork. Also, it’s demonic old ladies killing and eating their relatives. That’s a good afternoon watch right there.
BUTTCRACK! (1998) - Admittedly, this isn’t a feature-length film. It’s also not exactly a cinematic masterpiece. What it is, though, is…uh… Hmm. I’ll leave that up to you to decide. “Churn the milk and make it butter, churn the milk and make it butter!”
Monster in the Closet (1986) - Always believe your kids when they say there’s a monster in their closet, because they might just be telling the truth. Notable for two reasons: First, it features a very young “Fergie” in her film debut. Secondly, it’s got LGBT monster representation: Why do you think he’s in the closet? This horror spoof is a lot of goofy fun–give it a chance!
Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters (1982) - Before there was Kung Pow: Enter the Fist (2002), there was this. Previously a serious Indonesian action film called
Perempuan Bergairah, Charles Kaufman got his mitts on it, and filled it full of toilet humor and absurdity. Needless to say, the original director wasn’t pleased.
Def by Temptation (1990) - This supernatural thriller, written and directed by James Bond III (yes, that’s his name), revolves around the lives of young black men in America, and has some surprisingly, subtly critical things to say about the emotional and sexual baggage they carry, and their treatment of women. Highly underrated, it also features Samuel L. Jackson!
Story of a Junkie (1985) - This is actually a critically-acclaimed documentary chronicling the downfall of a heroin addict in the 1980′s. The “actors” are real junkies, and the sequences of hard drug use are entirely real. There is no moral high ground; no preaching. Just reality. While not as “Troma” as the rest of the films on this list, I think it’s worth recommending, and good on Troma for giving it greater exposure.
The Taint (2011) - This is what it would actually look like if the world was really how tumblr “feminists” describe it. That should be enough to ignite interest. I’ll leave the rest in your capable hands.
Some sick bastard is out to rape and murder the fathers of the world, and it’s up to a one-eyed former prison inmate named Ahab, a young male prostitute named Twink, and the devout Father John Sullivan to take down the man responsible–the same one that killed Ahab’s father long ago. This film managed to be banned in Australia, which I’m sure the cast and crew are very proud of.
Bugged! (1997) - Another film headed by a black cast, this is essentially another “big bug” movie, but with a bit more goofiness to it than something like Phase IV (1974) (okay, maybe I’m kidding myself that Phase IV isn’t also pretty damn goofy). In terms of production, it’s not the greatest, but being amateurish doesn’t mean that it can’t also be fun. That’s really what Troma’s all about.
Lastly, because it brings me a great deal of personal joy, I must recommend the Angry Video Game Nerd’s video on the Toxic Crusaders video games, which features a delightful guest appearance by Lloyd Kaufman (I own the game on Sega, by the way. It’s not great, but I’m not ashamed):
Tromaville may not be a place for everyone, but for those willing to visit, it’s a welcome vacation.