Thursday, 11 July 2013

RETURN TO NUKE 'EM HIGH: VOLUME 1 - A review by Paul Worts

Having happily munched their way through the free consignment of ‘healthy’ luminescent green tacos, Tromaville High School’s much maligned and bullied glee club mutate into a vicious (yet still harmonising) gang called The Cretins.

You either get Troma films or you don’t.
The fourth instalment in the CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH series is essentially a re-telling of the 1986 original, re-vamped with a high quota of self-aware in-jokes and nods and winks to contemporary culture. Its slapstick meets splatstick - frequently puerile - and with a far higher fart joke quota than MAN OF STEEL.
Following Quentin Tarantino’s suggestion, director and Troma Supremo Lloyd Kaufman has split the film into 2 volumes à la KILL BILL. It’s a bold move for sure, but it does result in a somewhat abrupt ending (albeit with a memorable final image which sets up an intriguing possible direction for volume 2...).

Kaufman also steps in front of the camera to try his hand at some good old-fashioned Laurel and Hardy-type slapstick which nicely counterpoints the more explicit gags and gross-outness.
Asta Paredes (working-class badgirl Chrissy) and Catherine Corcoran (rich-girl Lauren) acquit themselves very well with their ‘opposite’s attract’ scenario and it’s a measure of their likeable performances that they aren’t drowned amid the films tsunami of gory goofiness.
Speaking of gore, Kaufman pulls off some memorably moist moments; one sequence involving a copulating couple that melt into a steaming pile of gloop being a particular highlight. ‘Kevin the Wonder Duck’, whose appearance fee was financed by a Kickstarter campaign, may well think twice about signing up for further Troma productions given the hilariously ludicrous onscreen indignities he is made to suffer (all simulated folks, Mr Kaufman is a active PETA supporter). Then again, I strongly suspect he will return for Volume 2, and make it a double-bill appearance (sorry).

Will this film suddenly convert the uninitiated and the unconvinced into becoming fully paid up members of the Troma fan club? I doubt it. But then again, does MAN OF STEEL have ‘Kevin the Wonder Duck’ – hah – I think not!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

An Interview with LLOYD KAUFMAN (Troma) by Paul Worts

Lloyd Kaufman was enrolled at Yale University in the late 1960’s working towards a degree in Chinese Studies. Thankfully for Troma Entertainment, Inc’s legion of world-wide fans, Lloyd was sharing a dormitory with two film fanatics whose passion for cinema soon rubbed off on him. Together with fellow Yale student Michael Herz, Lloyd co-founded Troma in 1974, and began producing independent films on tight budgets - as well as acquiring films from outside sources.

From early raunchy comedies like SQUEEZE PLAY!, STUCK ON YOU! and WAITRESS! to their breakthrough hit THE TOXIC AVENGER (1984), and onto offerings such as the CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH trilogy, SGT. KABUKIMAN NYPD,  TROMA’S WAR, TROMEO AND JULIET and POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD; Troma Entertainment, Inc is today still going strong after nearly 40 years and has amassed a catalogue of nearly 1,000 films, cartoons, TV shows etc).

Lloyd Kaufman was recently in London at the Prince Charles Cinema (PCC) for the UK premiere of his latest directorial offering: RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH VOL.1. and on a surprisingly hot Sunday afternoon I caught up with this independent auteur of exploitation in the welcoming surroundings of the PCC’s air-conditioned bar...
First of all Lloyd I’d like to say thank you for taking the time to give me this interview...

LK: Well thank you Fleapits and Picture Palaces!
What made you choose a degree in Chinese studies at Yale?

LK: (A Diet Coke please and I’m happy to pay for it).Well I come from the traditional (do you want me to pay for that?) No, oh thank you. Note that the Prince Charles Cinema has given Bruce Springsteen AKA Lloyd Kaufman a free diet coke!

Duly noted.

LK: Deeply appreciated and what a nice cinema it is. You know I’m old. I learned French as a child at home because French was a useful language – it is no more of course, it’s a totally useless language...
Are you sure you wouldn’t like a seat?

LK: No I’m good, but you sit down.
Thank you