History

The Troma Team: History And Practice

Now celebrating 40 years of filmmaking, Troma Entertainment, Inc. is the longest running independent movie studio in North America. In addition to commercial success, Troma enjoys a wealth of critical appreciation, exemplified by Troma retrospectives sponsored by the American Cinematheque, Cinemathèque Français, the British Film Institute, the American Film Institute and many others. After creating a new kind of sexy comedy in the 70’s and putting a new face on the movie superhuman hero in the 80’s with The Toxic Avenger, Troma continued to break new ground in the 90’s and 2000’s with quality, entertaining films. In recent years, Troma has emerged with theatrical success with Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, Father’s Day, and Return to Nuke ‘Em High: Vol. 1.

Troma has also launched a branded On­Demand Channel and partnered with Xbox, Playstation, iTunes, YouTube, Hulu, and Amazon. Troma is currently branding channels on VOD, SVOD, and OTT platforms across many providers, which will introduce Tromaville to millions more forward­looking people everywhere.

Most known for titles such as director Lloyd Kaufman’s The Toxic Avenger, The Class of Nuke ‘Em High, Mother’s Day and Tromeo and Juliet, many of Troma’s iconic films are now being remade as big budget mainstream productions by the likes of Brett Ratner, Richard Saperstein, Steven Pink, and Oscar® winner Akiva Goldsman.

In the early 1970s, fellow Yale alumni and Troma co­founders, Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz began producing films on tightly controlled budgets – films that were not supplied by major Hollywood studios – as well as acquiring additional films from outside sources. Kaufman and Herz distributed all of these films globally. Their films were, and continue to be, aimed primarily at the sixteen to thirty­five year old market, traditionally the largest segment of the moviegoing audience. By offering the public something different, Troma has grown steadily since its inception, and now has a library of almost 1,000 films, cartoons and TV shows. Lloyd Kaufman’s book, All I Need To Know About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger, published by Penguin Putnam (co­-authored by James Gunn), is the basis for Troma’s highly acclaimed film Terror Firmer. Lloyd Kaufman has also written several successful non fiction books including Direct Your Own Damn Movie, Make Your Own Damn Movie, and Produce Your Own Damn Movie, along with DVD versions of Make Your Own Damn Movie and Direct Your Own Damn Movie. Troma movies can be seen in cinemas, on video and on television networks all over the world. Such unique films as The Toxic Avenger series, Tromeo and Juliet, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, and the Class Of Nuke ‘Em High series, have carved out a healthy niche for Troma in the entertainment industry, and have firmly entrenched characters such as Toxie, Sgt. Kabukiman, and Tromie the Nuclear Rodent in the international consciousness. Troma’s film, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, a satire about the fast food industry, opened to sold out crowds in New York City and became the #1 grossing film, per screen average, over its opening weekend. Entertainment Weekly gave Poultrygeist a positive review and The New York Times compared director Lloyd Kaufman with artist Paul McCarthy.

Many of today’s major stars, directors and writers began their careers in Troma movies, and many more have grown up with them, absorbing the influence of the Tromatic touch. Trey Parker, James Gunn, Eli Roth, Oliver Stone and James Schamus are among those who have worked for Troma or made movies that Troma launched. The first efforts of Kevin Costner, Dustin Hoffman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Robert DeNiro among others, can be found in Troma’s valuable film library. Troma continues to be a haven for independent directors and young talent during an era of corporate takeovers.

Troma has thrust itself into the Information Age with a vengeance. Its extremely popular web site www.troma.com attracts huge crowds every month. In addition to selling Troma DVDs, Blu­-rays and merchandise, the site offers an interactive way for Troma fans to become personally involved with the studio, as well as to experience a form of free, cutting­-edge entertainment.

Troma has also aggressively expanded into the area of licensing and merchandising with the Toxic Avenger character (affectionately known to his fans as “Toxie”). In addition to four films, Toxie was the star of the internationally successful animated TV series Toxic Crusaders and a novel adaptation written by Lloyd Kaufman and Adam Jahnke. More than seventy companies worldwide have manufactured products based on Toxie, his TV series, and “The Troma Brand”.

Troma has continued to expand its horizons by creating the totally free TromaDance Film Festival in Park City, Utah in 1999. Unlike Sundance and other festivals that claim to be independent, TromaDance charges no entry fee, no admission fees, and has a no strict VIP policy. TromaDance Film Festival is a showcase of all forms of truly independent art, including feature length and short films, animation, music and live performance art. 2014 marks the 15th anniversary of the annual festival.

In the summer of 2012, production wrapped on Kaufman’s latest feature, Return to Nuke ‘Em High: Volume 1 & 2. Produced in association with STARZ Media, Return to Nuke ‘Em High is a satirical sci-­fi comedy event film with themes ripped straight from today’s headlines: the contamination and degradation of the world’s food supply, rampant bullying, and love triumphing over prejudice. The film is slated for release in 2013.

In addition to all of the recent Troma ventures and expansions, the Troma Team continues to Tromatize the entertainment industry with their unique vision. Troma will continue to strive toward its long­term goal of not just movies of the future, but also world peace.