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Ed. note: Originally published at on 7 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!

I must say that I am incredibly surprised and taken aback by the responses that the first column receivedin a good way, I assure you! Lets take a second to read some responses from you, the home viewer

“Sweet- I’m looking forward to this column every week. As an aspiring indie film maker, guys like you give me hope.”

“YAHHH! finally a topic on this bord I can get into!”

“I am going to SO enjoy this!”

“[T]he annihilation of bureaucratic, corporate control is always the obvious goal, but exploring it with Chris via Troma sounds like great fun. so glad to see this column!! i think it will be interesting to hear more from a studio that makes movies they want to make, not movies they need to make.”

Finally, acceptance from the internet community! Now I dont have to worry about fitting in at STAR TREK conventions. Phew! Those guys were getting on my nerves anyway. Can I return my authentic replica phaser? Its only been used once!

But seriously, folks its incredibly hard to talk about independent film in this business because everyone whos anyone (and no one) has a strong opinion about what is and is not independent film. Even Kevin Smith has said: I havent made an independent film since 1994.

So, thank you all for your support! Keep it coming!

Chris, now that youre done telling us how great you are, how can I get a break in independent film?

Youd be surprised how often Im asked this questionas if Im some kind of authority on the subject. But I guess I can tell you what happened to me…

TromeoIt was 1999 and I had long since forgotten about Troma movies since I had seen them in the late eighties. Movies like THE TOXIC AVENGER and CLASS OF NUKE EM HIGH were shown late nights on the USA Networks USA Up All Night!

I watched the movies because they were something I had never seen before, and the mix of comedy and horror was something I really responded to, even at a young age. It wasnt until ten years later when my friend came to me and said, Youve gotta see this movie! The film was TROMEO & JULET, and it blew me away.

By this time, I had been into doing website design for a while, and with my love for Troma reborn, I decided to make a little website that was basically a love letter to Troma.

So I spent a few months compiling info about Troma movies from around the internet; reviews, synopses and such. My little hobby of making an e-love letter soon turned into an intense desire to make the best Troma site on the net, second only to the official Troma site. I planned to launch the site on January 1, 2000.

About a week before the sites impending launch, I sent e-mails to every address I could find at Troma, telling them of the site launch, and my hopes for approval. Two days later, I received an e-mail from none other than Lloyd Kaufman himself, telling me that he loved the site. The next day, I received a phone call from Eric, Director of Business & Legal Affairs at Troma, with an offer to host the site (then and still known as [Ed. note: This site is no longer active.]) and have me come on board. I jumped for Joy!

Now, I dont know how this works in the rest of the business (although I assume its significantly better), but working with Troma (and companies like it) usually means lots of work, and little to no pay. But were all serious about what we do, and have fun doing it. Thats what makes these people so much fun to get involved with. So, slightly over two years later, Im continuing to oversee, as well as developing and Tromaville on Tour [Ed. note: This site is no longer active].

I dont know if this helps any of you aspiring young filmmakers, but thats my story and Im sticking to it.

The best thing I can say to you is go make your own movie! You will learn much more about filmmaking by actually going out and doing it than by reading about it in a class. You can get a free crew, free actors, free film stock. No matter what your budget is, you can work with it. (And Lloyd Kaufman will show you how this Christmas, with the release of his second book, MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN MOVIE!)

And watch movies. All The Time.

A Tale of Two Toxies, and later . Four!

Toxie sequelsAfter the initial release of THE TOXIC AVENGER in 1984 and its wider distribution in 1986, Tromas newly-found fan base was frothing at the mouth for more Toxie. Lloyd Kaufman and co-director/partner Michael Herz didnt want to make the same movie again, so when pre-production of THE TOXIC AVENGER PART II began in 1988, screenwriters Lloyd and Gay Partington Terry structured the premise of the film around Toxie traveling to Japan to find his long-lost father. As Lloyd said, If were going to make the same film, we might as well make it in a different country!

The film had problems, not the least of which being the fact that after final editing, the film was over six hours long! In a brilliant (or stupid, depending on who you ask) move, Lloyd decided to break the movie into two separate stories, and bill them as THE TOXIC AVENGER PART II and THE TOXIC AVENGER PART III: THE LAST TEMPTATION OF TOXIE.

While this worked out very well for Troma from a business standpoint, making the fans happy was a completely different matter altogether. Neither of the two sequels was as dark or gory as the first film, and because of the creative editing to make one film into two, many of the plot points just didnt make any sense.

Thumbs upWith that said, when fans began clamoring for a fourth TOXIC AVENGER film in 1999, it brought up a sour taste in Tromas proverbial mutated tongue. For years, Lloyd had stated that he didnt want to do another Toxie movie, based on the problems of the first two sequels; and he concentrated on promoting TERROR FIRMER and his first book (published by Penguin Putnum). But the fans wanted it, and Lloyd has always maintained that the fans are the reason that Troma has been around this long, so in mid-1999, pre-production started on CITIZEN TOXIE: THE TOXIC AVENGER IV.

Unlike other superhero sequels like the BATMAN films, Toxie continued to age and mature in his sequels. At the end of the third film, he married his blind, blonde, bimbo girlfriend, and now he and Sarah (Heidi Sjursen) are trying to raise a family in Tromaville while simultaneously fighting crime, corruption and chemical waste.

The film opens with the Diaper Mafia invading the Tromaville School for the Very Special and murdering the students, which prompts Toxie (David Mattey) and his sidekick Lardass (Joseph Isaac Fleishaker) to action.

The leader of the Diaper Mafia, Tex Diaper (Trent Haaga) decides to blow up the school which causes a chemical imbalance between Tromaville and its alternate universe Amortville. The explosion causes Toxie and his evil doppelganger Noxie to enter each others reality.

Unfortunately, two of the special students, Tito (Michael Budinger) and Sweetie Honey (Lisa Terezakis) are thrust into Amortville with Toxie while he attempts to fight his way back to Tromaville, but it wont be easy with Evil Kabukiman (Sgt. Kabukiman NYPDs doppelganger, played by Paul Kyrmse) and Mad Cowboy hot on his toxic tail.

FightWill Toxie be able to make it back to Tromaville to rescue his impregnated wife? Will Noxie kill Toxie and take over Tromaville? Will penile implants take the nation by storm? Youll just have to see for yourself in CITIZEN TOXIE: THE TOXIC AVENGER IV, now playing in cinemas (not quite) everywhere.

CITIZEN TOXIE is to the Troma universe what JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK is to the View Askewniverse. It includes cameos from Troma stars past and present: Rick Collins, Mark Torgl, B-movie queen Debbie Rochon, Bill Weeden, Ron Jeremy and more! (If you listen closely, you just might catch the legendary Stan Lee in there somewhere, but you didnt hear that from me, dear reader!)

CITIZEN TOXIE is the most offensive, blood-filled fest that Troma has yet to package on a reel of celluloid, but more importantly, its a love letter to Tromas fans that have supported us for almost 30 years, and not to be missed for Troma fans young and old.


And Now, What Youve Been Reading This Far For

Hardcore Nudity!

What? No? Aww, damn.

I guess well have to settle for learning how to make your own (almost) realistic head crushing

I wish I could say this is some involved, costly procedure, but its not really that hard.

In Tromaville, there are two schools of thought on the subject, believe it or not. One is sort-of involved and the other is not. Being the masters of special FX that we are, we tend to go with the latter. But I present you with the option:

Rubber isnt just for your private parts!

  1. Im assuming that you already have a head cast of someone. Dont worry, it doesnt have to be of the actor whose grey matter is about to be compacted. The audience will never notice anyway!
  2. Fill the head (the rubber one, not the actors!) with your favorite mixture of Karo syrup (or red food dye), Ultraslime (if youve got it), ground hamburger and/or other assorted animal parts.
  3. Stomp that baby and make cinematic history!
Use your melon!

  1. Pick up a normal watermelon at the supermarket.
  2. Paint a smiley face on it.
  3. Crush that sucker

Believe it or not, both of these methods can look eerily real when using editing to aide in the effect. The rubber head method has been used in numerous Troma movies, and the watermelon was used for one of the goriest effects ever put on screen: the bicycle head crushing in THE TOXIC AVENGER. Thats all it was! Amazing, isnt it?

Remember, Toxie Loves You!

NEXT TIME: My first obscure DVD pick (I promise!), the perils of Tromaville On Tour, How-To: Blow Your Brains Out (on film, of course), and more Tromatic fun for the whole family!

Chris Lanphear really needs to rest now. Please forgive his tardiness. Traffic was a bitch.