The best part about Tromadance?
It was free!
It's free to enter your film into Tromadance (take that stupid fees) and free to go see all these films.
Tromadance happened a few weeks ago but it has taken me this long to write up anything about it because of the film The Taint.
I had arrived to the festival on the second day with The Taint have been shown as the Friday night feature. By the time I arrived at Tromadance EVERYONE was talking about The Taint. You couldn't turn a corner without someone saying how vilely phenomenal it was.
I knew I just had to see it right away and when I heard they were selling DVDs of the flick, I knew I had to get my grubby little paws on a copy.
Then I went inside The Showroom Theater (an awesome indie theater in the heart of Asbury Park) where The Taint was supposedly going to be sold.
There was one massive problem to that: the film was sold out.
Filmmakers Drew Bolduc and Dan Nelson thought they had brought enough DVDs but didn't anticipate the massive demand for their product. They did have VHS copies of the film but who owns a VHS machine anymore? I haven't since 1956. So until my copy of The Taint arrived at my lovely abode I'd have to wait.
Luckily I had a full day of amazing films to watch all presented by Troma head Lloyd Kaufman.
Growing up a Jersey kid I grew up on Troma.
The first I grabbed the Toxic Avenger off shelves it proclaimed 'The First Superhero From New Jersey'! It was an ugly man in a tutu with a mop. Perfect for me! Then watching the film it had massive gross-out violence, nudity, and great lines to spout over and over again.
Perfect for a 8 year old like me to be watching.
Following Toxie I couldn't stop finding new Troma films like Surf Nazis Must Die, Class of Nuke Em High, and all the amazing sequels (I found Michael Jai White in Toxic Avenger II when I watched it a couple weeks back - it was Spawn's first film!).
It was all thanks to Lloyd Kaufman who would direct these features on the cheap just so I could continue to watch these Troma classics over and over again.
For those who have no clue what a Tromadance is or why they should care, I got a chance to talk to Lloyd Kaufman about Tromadance and how it all came about back in 1999.
|Troma's Lloyd Kaufman|
"I had gone to Sundance with Trey Parker and Matt Stone when we were presenting Cannibal: The Musical," Kaufman said. "They had submitted Cannibal to the Sundance Film Festival and they had paid the submission fee, which was not insignificant, and they never got a F$&% You letter back. So they went to Sundance, rented a venue, and had a one movie film festival: Cannibal the Musical Film Festival. When we went there we were all appalled at how unpleasant and elitist it was. Rather than being ground zero for independent art it was basically a festival where the movies that the feature conglomerates didn't want to play got played. It's a very horrible place for independent cinema, in our opinion. So I decided to help start a festival with no entry fee where you could see the movies for free and no elitist VIP treatment. Everyone's an equal."
Kaufman continued, "After a few years the media began to give us attention. Tromadance became known as the concious of the Sundance Film Festival. About ten years after that we decided that we outgrew Park City, Utah and we went to Asbury Park, where we have a very nice venue and it's a much better place for us to put on the Tromadance Film Festival. Now that we are totally on our own and separate Tromadance is now a festival that is taken quite seriously. The motivation is to put on something that is a great film festival where you still don't have to pay to enter your film or pay to see the movies."
There were two notable short films that I had to write up. The first is called Brutal Relax.
Check out the censored version below.
Fortunately, Brutal Relax is available on the interwebs for all to enjoy - but the cusp of the 15 minute short is a weird man name Mr. Olivares who obviously has went through some sort of...breakdown.
His doctor tells him that he's all better and needs to get out, go on vacation, and simply relax. So Olivares grabs some clothes and heads for the beach. He finds a small cove and plops into a mudpit. The beachgoers laugh at the strange man right until ugly ocean creatures pop out and being killing everyone on the beach. Olivares, obscured by the mud, doesn't seem to notice or care - he's finally relaxing! But when the batteries go out on his walkman (for those who may not know what that is, it is a precursor to MP3 players. They played these things called cassette tapes which had music on magical tape that could play in a player. It was a weird magical device) Olivares is no longer in his happy place. Suddenly there is no music. And there's weird creatures on his relaxing beach trip. Time to get his brutal relax on.
It's a violent sort of short film but it is very much played for the comedic aspect of it.
It's nothing to be taken seriously, especially when Olivares picks up a dead little girl's body and uses it as a human nunchuck against the ocean invaders. It's supposed to be funny and violent and succeeds on both counts mostly because of the fine acting of Jose M. Angorrilla as Olivares. The man is just so weird and then just becomes this happy super Hulkman who can slaughter sea creatures in a single bound.
Just fun indie filmmaking.
Pink Sock was described as 'a nerdy young man is prohibited from everyday activities by a terrible stomach sickness. His confrontation with what lurks inside jim will change how you look at bathrooms forever.'
I call it a test short - as the filmmaker put it together in hopes of making Pink Sock into a feature film.
In just 5 minutes director Josh Schnieder did what no filmmaker has ever done: grossed me out.
It takes A LOT to make me feel like I'm going to vomit. I LAUGHED at people running out of the IFC during The Human Centipede. It's all fake, why would you vomit at some fake film?
But Pink Sock was full of vile images, naked women, and a fun performance by the lead actor who you just felt so sorry for. The poor kid can't even have a sandwich without having stomach pangs and the reason is because of, well, something that is inside his body.
"Pink Sock was very good," Kaufman added. "Josh Schneider's movie was absolutely great."
I absolutely agree. You just wouldn't want to each your lunch just prior to watching it. You'd probably see your lunch again before the end of the film. Unfortunately, as Pink Sock is going around to festivals, it is the only one of the three films I'm talking about that you can't purchase or watch on the Internet. Hopefully that's rectified quickly.
While I didn't get to The Taint at Tromadance my DVD arrived very quickly and I had no clue what I was in for. The Taint website (http://www.taintmovie.com) said about the film: It is an violent and misogynistic film about violence, misogyny, and entertainment. It features sadistic violence, gratuitous sexual content, and scenes of spellbinding dramatic interest.
What is not to like about those two sentences?!?!?
The Taint follows a fellow named Phil O'Ginny who finds himself right in the middle of an outbreak of tainted water that causes men to become horrible raging misogynists. For some reason their penises become, well, huge and they run around trying to kill every woman they can find. Phil is simply daft, a character that comes off like a stoned Napoleon Dynamite that at first doesn't even realize what is happening to society. It's not until he hooks up with the hottie kick-ass dude-killer named Misandra that they can start killing off these evil killer horny men and find out what exactly created the tainted water.
The Taint is just...it's beyond words.
What filmmakers Drew Bolduc and Dan Nelson have created is a film that is the most original film in decades in terms of story along with such unadulterated violence and special effects that have no business being a film that had such a tiny budget. It's the kind of film that after I watched it I just sat there. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I didn't want to watch more TV. I just had to sit there and process.
The last time I can recollect that I had to do that was for Requiem for a Dream. If you think Requiem for a Dream is a totally messed-up movie then you've seen NOTHING yet.
The best thing?
The Taint is more of a comedy then a horror film. There's guts and gore, violence and shootings, yet you can't help but laugh most of the time at Phil and what is going on around him. Truly one of the best lines ever uttered in a horror film was as Phil tried to help a girl about to be killed but couldn't reach her in time. He falls to the ground in disgust yelling, "But...but she was SO HOT!"
Kaufman chimed in with me, "The Taint I saw for the first time at Tromadance. It was quite an experience. Just a brilliant film. I had a hint that it was going to be big because my Twitter followers, the week before Tromadance began, were all looking forward to seeing The Taint. I had a feeling there was some sort of big buzz about it."
For me The Taint is a cinematic experience and one that I can't wait to unleash on my friends. It's the sort of film where you've seen it you're just better than other people if they have not. If you are a horror fan and haven't seen it then there's something wrong with you. You're just not a true horror fan.
Yes - The Taint is that good.
Beyond Tromadance I asked Kaufman what is coming up for Troma.
Kaufman said, "We have two productions coming up. Travis Campbell's Mr. Bricks is done editing and we are just touching up the sound mix and color correcting. It's a heavy metal murder musical but it's very serious. It's not a comedy. very dark. Lemmy (from the infamous heavy metal band Motorhead) is going to do some music for it."
"Then there's Father's Day, which is being edited. Mother's Day (the classic 1980 Troma film) has been remade by Brett Ratner's company and I met these two guys up on the set of the remake. My brother Charles (who wrote and directed the original Mother's Day) and I were there to play cameos in the new film. We met these two guys, very avid Troma fans, who convinced me that they had an interesting script for a sequel to the original Mother's Day. Indeed they did. I think it's going to be a big surprise since everyone thinks it's just going to be an answer to (the remade) Mother's Day but it's going to surprise people."
I also asked about The Toxic Avenger V. "I've gone through four writers. I haven't gotten to the point where I think there's a proper script. I think we have a beginning, middle, and end but I'm not sure when we'll actually film. This particular one will focus on Toxie's twins. It'll be more of a character driven movie then the other Toxie's were but we're still figuring it out. We're getting there. There's also a remake of Toxic Avenger. Akiva Goldsman, who won the Oscar for A Beautiful Mind, is remaking it. He's hired Steve Pink, who's done Hot Tub Time Machine, High Fidelity, and Grosse Point Blank, to write and direct the $100 million dollar remake of The Toxic Avenger. They're calling it a 'reboot' with Michael Herz and I onboard as executive producers."
Lloyd Kaufman's newest book Sell Your Own Damn Movie!, with a foreward by Stan 'The Man' Lee, is out in stores June 1st and is currently available for pre-order at Amazon.com.
As for Tromadance I'll be looking quite forward to the festivities again next year just to see what are the newest films to be grossing me out and making me laugh all at once. The film succeeded in what Kaufman said it was: a great way to have your film shown and to see films for free.
With all the filmmakers very accessable (including Kaufman himself) I can see not only why Tromadance is a big success but why I'll be back next year.
For more details of Tromadance, visit their official site HERE!