This documentary about one of the greatest indie film companies in history is a wonderful look at a pair of New York guys and their dream, which still holds today!
Lloyd Kaufman is a New York-born man who became obsessed with film after meeting two student filmmakers. He would soon find his calling as a filmmaker, beginning with producing risqué films before finding a job at Cannon Films. It was then he met future mentor John G. Avildsen, who hired him as a production assistant and location manager on some of Avildsen’s earlier films when in 1974, Kaufman teamed up with Michael Herz to form Troma Entertainment. The rest as they say is history…
This is a great documentary about the history of Troma Entertainment, featuring interviews with the likes of Lloyd Kaufman, Toxic Avenger stars Mark Torgl, Gary Schneider, and Robert Prichard; Return to Nuke ‘Em High stars Vito Trigo, Mike Baez, and Zac Amico, legendary Tromette Debbie Rochon, and Citizen Toxie’s Trent Haaga and Caleb Emerson among others as we learn how the company would go from making raunchy comedies such as Squeeze Play and The First Turn On to their now iconic Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke ‘Em High franchise.
We learn about Kaufman’s history with film, which he learned as a production assistant for John G. Avildsen, and we get to see Kaufman’s brief appearance as a drunken bum in the opening of the iconic Rocky, where he also worked as a location manager.
However, what some might not know is that Troma is not just a production company, but they are also a distribution company. Kaufman talks about the issues with the MPAA when they were planning to release a 1970’s exploitation film originally entitled Sardu and re-released it as Bloodsucking Freaks with the promise they cut the film down to 54 minutes to get an R-rating only to turn their backs on them and release the full uncut film in theaters and some little trivia about their helping filmmaker James Bond III on Def by Temptation in 1990.
Michael Herz may seem like an enigmatic figure, but it is mentioned he’s more of a behind-the-camera guy with Kaufman being the face of Troma. It is like Kaufman is the Steve Rubell of Troma and Herz the Ian Schrager of the team. In some funny vignettes, the late Joe Fleishaker would play “Herz” in some promotional material for the company. After over 45 years, Troma still is going strong and is not going to hold back anytime soon.
Greetings from Tromaville is a welcome look at one of the greatest indie film companies in the history of movies. This is definitely 2 hours and 11 minutes worth watching. There may be tons of the “good stuff” and could turn off certain types of film viewers, but this is a quite a fascinating look at the Troma Universe!
WFG RATING: A
Indie Rights Films presents an Espocinema production. Director: Adrian Esposito. Producer: Adrian Esposito. Cinematography: Adrian Esposito. Editing: Adrian Esposito.
Cast: Lloyd Kaufman, Debbie Rochon, Ron Jeremy, Roger Corman, Mark Torgl, Gary Schneider, Robert Prichard, Dan Snow, Bill Weeden, Patricia Kaufman, Trent Haaga, Will Keenan, Caleb Emerson, Jason Yachanin, John Karyus, Zac Amico, Mike Baez, Vito Trigo, Joe DiPietro, Gregory Lamberson.