LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Exclusive Interview with Lloyd Kaufman
By James Whittington, Thursday 15th June 2006
We’ve been talking to Troma head honcho Lloyd Kaufman about his eclectic career -- which includes Horror classics Class of Nuke ‘Em High, Hellblock 13, and The Toxic Avenger series.
THC: First of all Lloyd, can you tell us a bit about yourself, how you got started in the film industry and who were your major influences?
LK: Well I made the mistake of going to Yale University, where God gave me a movie nut as a roommate and f***ed up my life. My roommate introduced me to directors like Chaplin, Keaton, Ford, Lang, Renoir, and Brakhage, who are, to this day major influences on my movies. Also, I had a socialist grandmother who instilled in me a hated of large corporations.
So I decided being an independent filmmaker was the best career choice for myself. At least until my Cambodian sweat shops can reopen.
THC: You’ve worked on mainstream hits such as Rocky (Pre-Production Supervisor) and Saturday Night Fever (Location Executive) how did these jobs come about? Were they enjoyable experiences?
LK: I got those jobs thanks to having lips like a woman. Instead of going to film school, I attached myself to talented directors like John G. Avildsen and John Badham. I smothered any crappy job I was given and moved up the food chain quickly. I would agree to lower my salary in return for greater responsibility. At least that’s what I tell everyone who works for me.
THC: Troma Entertainment is (deep breath) the oldest continually operating fully independent movie studio in the world, what do you think has been the key to its global success?
LK: We make movies we believe in. We follow the maxim “To thine own self be true,” a phrase coined by William Shakespeare. . . I believe he wrote the Harry Potter books. Also our strategy has been to spend 34 years building a brand name. Troma is a classic cult . . . sort of like the Manson family cult.
THC: You and Troma have given many stars of the future their first big break including Samuel L Jackson (Def by Temptation) and Kevin Costner (Sizzle Beach USA). Do they ever acknowledge what you did for their careers? If not are you offended by this snub?
LK: Kevin Costner obviously loves Sizzle Beach USA; since he returned to the water years later wand spend $200 million on Waterworld, the best film of all time. “Cannibal! The Musical” directors Trey Parker and Matt Stone (South Park) were on the cover of Newsweek Magazine and their next career move was to play a hermaphrodite couple in my film Terror Firmer. So they can’t hate us too much. And James “Tromeo and Juliet” Gunn recently cast me in Slither. But I did have to sleep with him.
THC: Is it true Robert De Niro has appeared in a Troma movie?
LK: Yes. 76 years before The Wedding Crashers, Robert De Niro’s first film was Troma’s The Wedding Party, which was also a bold first film by Brian DePalma. In it, De Niro plays a cyborg ninja assassin who must travel back in time to fight against a lesbian coven of strippers who are plotting a nuclear orgy. . . and even worse, they are part of a syndicate that downloads Spielberg movies from the internet illegally. Which was revolutionary, since it was shot decades before the Internet was invented.
THC: The Troma movie Mother’s Day caused controversy in Britain and was originally refused a rating by the BBFC when submitted in 1980. What was your initial reaction to this and are you pleased its being shown now to a mass audience?
LK: Of course, my brother Charles (who directed MD) and I were delighted when our film was refused a BBFC rating. We spent two years making Mother’s Day just so that no one could ever see it, so really the BBFC played right into our hands. We are very upset that the public is now permitted to see this filthy, gory, sexy, hilarious and profoundly thought-provoking entertainment. Please tell your audience to heed the BBFC—they know how to think for you, people! Stay away from Mother’s Day!
THC: Have any other Troma movies been banned in other territories?
LK: Yes. Blockbuster and others have banned all of our films. We and our fans are so used to being marginalized and economically blacklisted that when one of our films actually penetrates the smelly hymen of the mainstream, we are the ones who get f***ed . . . if by chance one of our films does go mainstream we are offended. Thank god the internet is now being bought and regulated so Troma can die and I can die the way my father always said I would—alone, naked, drunk, and in the gutter—but not one of them fancy store-bought gutters. . . I’m talking major slum gutters in Glasgow.
So even though every Lloyd Kaufman movie has been banned in every country, there are still a few bright spots. For example, the delightful Troma remake of Snow White—Bloodsucking Freaks—is being enjoyed by families and orphans everywhere. So go see it, orphans! God knows you deserve some joy in your meagre, pathetic lives.
THC: The Toxic Avenger is surely the most famous Troma character, but where did the idea come from? Were you making a statement about global pollution?
LK: In 1981, I was getting various newsletters concerning how toxic waste dumps were ticking away all over the world like time bombs, and that the atmosphere and environment were being despoiled. However, we now know, thanks to George Bush, that there is no such thing as global warming. So that’s a relief. And I can stop writing my script for The Gradual Climate Change Revenger, which to be quite honest, kind of sucks anyway.
With Toxie, I was trying to create a monster more hideous than Fergie, but yet beloved by the masses. I did not succeed—besides Frankenstein, Fergie is still the most grotesque creature on the face of the Earth.
THC: You seem an easy going guy, have you ever lost your temper on set?
LK: Except for the time I killed a child actor—well, two child actors—I am pretty calm on set. But they were asking for it. Money, I mean. Ingrates.
Check out Farts of Darkness: The Making of Terror Firmer or Apocalypse Soon: The Making of Citizen Toxie, which are behind-the-scenes documentaries that showcase my style of directing.
THC: You’ve performed many Hitchcock style cameos throughout your career; is there one moment that particularly stands out and how many offers do you get a year?
LK: One cameo I really enjoyed is when he comes out of the pet shop walking his two dogs—God, the Birds is a classic. Or in North by Northwest when he misses the bus at the start of the film. Talk about high hilarity!
Did you know that I also do cameos in movies? I get probably a solid hundred offers a year, and I try to do as many as I can. Anything to support independent art.
My most enjoyable appearance would probably be in Poultrygeist the film we shot this past summer and will hit theatres this year. I got to be a monster, fire a gun, and wear a pretty dress—it’s a lot like New Year’s at my house.
THC: Troma Entertainment is actively searching out new film talent and is asking for people to submit finished feature length or short movies to be considered for distribution by you. Has this search proved fruitful at all and have you made any real discoveries?
LK: Very much so. We pride ourselves on accessibility, especially given how exclusive the film industry is. And by embracing independent artists, we’ve found treasure like Giuseppe Andrews Period Piece and Jenna Fischer’s Lollilove that might otherwise never see a release. There’s also Aidan Dillard’s Meat Weed Madness. All of these titles are great and available now at troma.com!
THC: And finally in as few words as possible, can you sum up your whole career?
THC: Lloyd Kaufmann, thank you very much!
MORE ARTICLES Arrow Video FrightFest cancels October Cineworld event midst growing COVID restrictions
Posted in Frightfest, Wednesday 23rd September 2020
Arrow Video FrightFest will go virtual for the second time in 2020, having taken the difficult decision to cancel its planned physical event at the Cineworld, Leicester Square. due to continuing COVID restrictions making the event socially, practically and commercially untenable. The digital edition will run over the same days, from October 22-25 October, and will combine the in-cinema and proposed Halloween digital event into one online festival experience.
Ian Rattray, co-director, said today: "It's with a heavy heart that we announce the cancellation of the Cineworld event. Although cinemas are not affected by the new hospitality rules, it was the tipping point in...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel to present a Halloween double-bill of Corin Hardy's The Hallow and Ante Novakovic's Fright Fest.
Posted in Features, Tuesday 15th September 2020
October boasts eleven premieres on Horror Channel, including a hellish Halloween night double-bill of Corin Hardy's impressive Irish monster movie debut The Hallow and Ante Novakovic's rampant Halloween slasher Fright Fest. Both channel premieres will be broadcast on Saturday 31 October, at 9pm and 10.55pm respectively.
There are also four prime-time UK premieres: Demon chiller Firstborn, with Misfits star Antonia Laura Thomas, hashtag horror Selfie From Hell, the haunting, award-winning Echoes Of Fear and the pint-sized gold-digger is back in the sequel, Leprechaun Returns.
There are five further channel premieres: Pet, a twisted tale of obsession and ...SHARE: READ MORE Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula to open Arrow Video FrightFest October 2020
Posted in Frightfest, Thursday 10th September 2020
Four years after Train to Busan was voted the most popular FrightFest Closing Night film ever, comes the hotly anticipated stand-alone sequel, Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula, which will open this year's Arrow Video FrightFest October event, courtesy of Studiocanal. The film will play on Thursday October 22, 6pm, across three screens at the Cineworld, Leicester Square.
FrightFest co-director Alan Jones commented: "Ask any die-hard FrightFester what their favourite ever Closing Night film was and they will say the fabulous Train to Busan. The continuous standing ovations, cheers and applause engendered by our sell-out screenings of that ins...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with the legendary actress Lin Shaye about being part of The Horror Crowd
Posted in Frightfest, Interviews, Wednesday 9th September 2020 Lin Shaye is an actress that need no introduction. Her screen work over the last few decades has seen her appear in countless movies such as Nightmare on Elm Street, Critters or more recently the Insidious series of movies. Here she chats about her career and her why she appeared in Ruben Pla's superb doc, The Horror Crowd.
HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be an actress?
LS: No, I never had the dream. Ever. I had the need to tell stories and from a very young age and my dad, when he tucked me in a night we would tell what we would call "Candyland Stories" and they were stories about a little girl named Linda, and they would start when she was just falling to sleep...SHARE: READ MORE The Walking Dead Delux gets six Charlie Adlard connecting covers
Posted in News, Wednesday 9th September 2020
Image/Skybound Entertainment is pleased to reveal a series of six highly collectible, connecting variant covers by Charlie Adlard, which will be unleashed over the course of the first story arc of The Walking Dead Deluxe full color editions. The iconic independent series that took the entertainment world by storm 17 years ago, The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman (Fire Power, Oblivion Song) and Charlie Adlard (Vampire State Building) will be reissued starting in October as The Walking Dead Deluxe and fully colored by Dave McCaig.
Deluxe editions of the series will also feature a variety of other variants including covers by David Finch, Tony Moore, Jul...SHARE: READ MORE Dawn of the Dead "the zombie movie to end 'em all" rises again in Limited Edition 4K UHD and Limited Edition Blu-ray
Posted in News, Wednesday 9th September 2020
This Autumn, Second Sight Films presents the horror release to end all horror releases. Fans, aficionados and collectors are in for a treat as horror maestro George A. Romero's long-awaited, highly anticipated Dawn of the Dead, finally gets the home entertainment release it deserves.
Widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest horror films of all time, this seminal work has been painstakingly restored and arrives in two separate format releases: Dawn Of The Dead Limited Edition 4K UHD and Dawn Of The Dead Limited Edition Blu-ray on 16 November.
Both Box Sets arrive in stunning packaging featuring the original iconic poster art...SHARE: READ MORE Look to the skies... in November for Mothra on Blu-ray
Posted in News, Monday 7th September 2020
Eureka Entertainment to release Mothra, Ishiro Honda's stunningly inventive monster adventure-fantasy, on home video for the first time in the UK. Available on Blu-ray from 16 November as part of The Masters of Cinema Series in a Limited Edition set of only 3000 copies, featuring a Hardbound Case, 60-page Perfect Bound Collector's Book & Reversible Poster.
One of the most iconic Japanese kaiju, Mothra has appeared in over a dozen feature films. Presented here is her debut, a gloriously vibrant piece of filmmaking that forever changed how kaiju eiga would be produced in Japan.
Following reports of human life on Infant Island, the supposedly deserted site of at...SHARE: READ MORE New label, Danse Macabre is coming soon
Posted in News, Saturday 5th September 2020
Jinga Films have announced the launch of their new distribution arm, Danse Macabre. Under the Jinga umbrella, Danse Macabre will be focused on the distribution of horror films in the English speaking territories, UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Danse Macabre will also act as a horror sales sub-label within Jinga Films whilst Jinga itself expands to include a wider range of genres, including arthouse.
Much like Jinga Films, Danse Macabre is co-owned by Julian Richards and Rosana Coutinho. Julian was thrilled to confirm the news. "Danse Macabre will be the home for horror, run by horror fans for horror fans. We travel the world, select the best films and will br...SHARE: READ MORE The Circus of Horrors is coming to town
Posted in News, Saturday 5th September 2020
A gem of classic 60s horror and an early example of British exploitation cinema, Circus of Horrors will be released on Blu-ray for the first time, fully restored with new bonus content, courtesy of Studiocanal's Vintage Classics Collection on 12th October.
Starring Anton Diffring (Beast Must Die, The Man Who Could Cheat Death), Erika Remberg (Mord in Rio), Yvonne Monlaur (The Brides of Dracula), Donald Pleasence (Halloween) and directed by Sidney Hayers (Night of the Eagle) from a screenplay by George Baxt, Circus of Horrors, with its depiction of voluptuous scantily-clad women meeting violent and sadistic ends amidst the lurid backdrop of the circus, is considered to be the third f...SHARE: READ MORE The Moorcock Library: Elric The Eternal Champion Collection
Posted in News, Saturday 5th September 2020
Seminal sword and sorcery author Michael Moorcock weaves stunning blend of magic, heroism, and wonder as his legendary Eternal Champion Elric features in two rarely seen adventures, featuring artwork from legendary French artist Phillippe Druillet.
Based on Michael Moorcock's beloved original stories, through the brilliant artistry of James Cawthorne this book revisits and reimagines his iconic hero, Elric of Melnibone, nearly fifty years after his inception. Elric has been continuously in print since the 1970's, and has been a staple character in pop culture, having appeared in comics, album covers, song lyrics, and even role-playing games.
Essential reading for all fans o...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Steve Villeneuve, director of Hail to the Deadites
Posted in Frightfest, Interviews, Thursday 3rd September 2020 FrightFest 2020 delivered some incredibly entertaining and informative documentaries. Hail to the Deadites from Steve Villeneuve is a celebration of the the Evil Dead series of movies and truly gets under the skin of what the franchise means to those who created it and those who are mega fans! Here Steve talks about this amazing doc.
HC: Can you recall the first time you saw an Evil Dead movie and what it was that grabbed your attention?SV: I guess I was 13. I actually saw Army of Darkness first on television. Years later, spot the cover of Evil Dead 2 in a video store. Then, rent Evil Dead one without knowing it was the first film because here in Quebec, The Evil Dead is ca... SHARE: READ MORE Interview with our very own Emily Booth who stars in UK TV premiere of Shed of the Dead this Friday on Horror
Posted in Interviews, Wednesday 2nd September 2020
The UK TV premiere of outlandish Brit Zom Com Shed of the Dead takes place Friday 4th September at 9pm. The movie stars Ewen MacIntosh, Lauren Socha, Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, Michael Berryman, Brian Blessed and our very own Emily Booth. Here, Emily chats about this movie and what it was like to work with the legendary Michael Berryman.
HC: Are you a big zombie movie fan?
EB: If I'm completely honest it's not my favourite sub-genre within horror only because the genre has been so massively mined for all it's worth and I've never been particularly scared of them! However, there are certain stand out zombie films or even certain scenes that make me lo...SHARE: READ MORE Articles Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Friday 25th September
Tuesday 29th September
Wednesday 30th September