Ed. note: Originally published at www.moviepoopshoot.com on 21 August, 2002. Original artwork by Ming Chen. Toxie and Sgt. Kabukiman, NYPD are registered trademarks of Troma Entertainment, Inc. Used under license. Copyright 2002 Chris Lanphear.
Greetings from Tromaville!
You know, one of the reasons that Troma has been able to stay in business lo these thirty years is, as Vice President Michael Herz says, Because we love to piss people off.
While this is true, even more important than that has been the loyalty of our fans, and our ability to get our product to audiences and avenues that the big studios wont touch. This summer gave us a chance to do both, so when we announced that we would be traveling with the 2002 Vans Warped Tour, Troma and rock fans alike were hyped up. And it didnt seem that difficult to do
Early June The Troma Building, NYC: 3am
I get a message from Doug Sakmann, Tromas Head of Production and the mastermind behind what we started calling Tromaville on Tour. I call him back.
What the hell are you still doing at the office?
Were frantically trying to get things ready for the tour.
I should have known this was going to be bad, but in Tromaville, one has to rely on faithespecially when hope decides to take a vacation.
The problem was this: The Troma Team returned from the Cannes Film Festival on May 31. This wouldnt have been a problem, except that the Warped Tour started on June 18. Time was not on our side.
While Doug and co-production manager Nick Danger were busy planning out the tour strategy, equipment and grit work, I was hard at work designing a web site [Ed. note: No longer active] we would use to promote and document the tour.
Eventually, things started to take shape. A tour bus was purchased, crews and volunteers were found, and equipment was donated. We were set, or so it seemed.
June 23 Denver, CO: 5:30pm
Here it was, the third date of the tour, and we had already missed a show. The tour bus we purchased was a used school bus, and the former owners had failed to mention to us that the bus engine had been modified, and that it could only travel 40 miles-per-hour. Because of this, the trip from Salt Lake City to Denver ended up taking 13 hours rather than six. Thus began a string of accidents with the tour bus, cancelled tour dates, and general Troma nastiness.
July 21 The Troma Building, NYC: 9:30pm
Troma progenitors Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz decided to pull the plug on the tour, citing the constant difficulties in production and cost-prohibitive measures. (Hey, we havent stayed in business for 30 years by spending a lot of money!) But the fans and crew united to resurrect Tromaville on Tour from the dead and continue to spout independent art throughout the Warped Tour.
In the end, Tromaville on Tour made it to 37 out of 48 stops in the U.S. and Canada, leaving fake blood, rubber arms and Chupa Pops suckers all over the country. Not bad for a little film company from New York, eh?
The fans supported us because they were the reason we were out there. It was quite the undertaking. Soon youll see just how quite it was when Troma releases our feature-length documentary on the production of Tromaville on Tour. Stay tuned [Ed. note: No longer active]!
My first obscure DVD horror pick!
Now, I work for Troma Entertainment. I know how cheesy effects are created and how the sticks of schlock-horror work. I have Bromo-Seltzer on my desk, for crying out loud! Ive seen hundreds of low-budget horror movies that were made in the wake of the popularity of the FRIDAY THE 13TH films. And while theyre greatly entertaining for me personally, there arent very many of these films that are too horribly original. (Forgive that unintended pun? Thanks.)
Last year, I was sent a new film that Troma purchased the distribution rights to (what we call a pick-up in the business) called UNSPEAKABLE. I put off watching this film for quite some time, thinking it would be a run-of-the-mill suspense-slasher flick. Little did I know that I was very, very wrong.
Roger Cline stars as James Fhelleps, a depressive middle-aged man with a wife that doesnt respect him (Alice, played with not-so-subtle aggression by Tamera Noll). About the only thing that seems to light up his life is his young daughter Heather, played by Leigh Silver.
One night, a horrible car accident finds James with his daughter dead and his wife disfigured and confined to a wheelchair, unable to speak.
Convinced that it will bring his daughter back from the dead and restore what little happiness exists in his life, Jim goes on a killing spree, slaughtering hookers and hobos throughout greater Los Angeles.
While this story alone isnt the most enthralling, the true appeal (or repulsion) of this film comes in the stylization of its photography (by DPs Nicholas Loizides and Jason Tosta) and several well-placed, but disturbing scenes. Many of the scenes are thanks to Barry, Alices scatophile caretaker, played almost too well by Timothy Muskatell. Topped off by somber orchestrations by Nick Smith, UNSPEAKABLE is a film that is both repugnant and beautiful at the same time.
The film stands on its own fairly well in nicely-framed 1.85 widescreen format with crisp Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, but for you cineastes out there, included on the DVD is feature-length commentary with writer/director Chad Ferrin and star/executive producer Timothy Muskatellits definitely worth a listen, and fairly informative. Also available on the disc is an interview with Chad Ferrin conducted by Tromas own SGT. KABUKIMAN, NYPD and Ferrins first short film, BLOODBATH (with optional commentary). And of course, theres the bevy of trailers for several Troma films.
You dont know about this film, but you should. If not for the story and the depravity, then you should at least appreciate that UNSPEAKABLE was the first film to have its world premiere on the internet! Long before the MPAA and RIAA were trying to destroy our computers, Troma embraced the information super-highway as a new avenue for films to get seen and recognized and to introduce new filmmakers. The big studios steal all of our other ideas Im wondering how long its going to take before theyll figure this out as well. Biting the hand that feeds you is bad, folks! (Wow, where did that soapbox come from? Now back to the review!)
Some of the most-common advice for first-time filmmakers that is heard is, Whatever your first movie is, make it unforgettable. That way, at least youll be noticed. UNSPEAKABLE does exactly this. It both repulses and captivates, and is truly a one-of-a-kind film.
Kill Yourself, Troma Style!
If youre making a film and you need a good suicide shot, or if you just need something to do on a Saturday night, try out this great effect!
The lawyers are holding me at gunpoint now: Neither Troma Entertainment nor Movie Poop Shoot/View Askew shall be held responsible if you decide to be a dumbass and actually end up killing yourself. Use your head, and dont start pumping rounds into it. 😉
- Go to a room where you wont be disturbed for a while.
- Channel your creative side and write out a suicide note. Blame anyone you can get away with.
- Take some toilet paper and tear it into tiny swatches.
- Soak the teepee in some fake blood (any variation of Karo syrup, red food dye) and spread the pieces all over the wall.
- Put some of the blood mixture in your mouth and let it run down your chin.
- Take a loaded gun and fire it: INTO THE CEILING! SEE ABOVE!
- Fall over in front of the wall.
And presto! Youve got fun for hours! Or youve got a great shot for your film! Its win-win!
Remember, Toxie Loves You!
NEXT TIME: Another DVD pick, more wonderful effects, and even more slime-filled surprises!
Chris Lanphear is just glad he was able to use the word cineaste in a sentence without sounding like a complete idiot.