The Troma Team: History And Practice

With almost 40 years of experience, Troma Entertainment, Inc. is perhaps the longest running independent movie studio in United States history.   In addition to  commercial success, Troma enjoys a wealth of critical appreciation, exemplified by Troma retrospectives sponsored by the  Venice Film Festival, 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 with quality, entertaining films.  Following the millennium, The Troma Universe has emerged with theatrical success’ such as the musical “Poultrygiest, Night of the Chicken Dead” and Tromaville has entered the hearts of forward-looking people everywhere.

World famous for movie classics like Kaufman’s “The Toxic Avenger“, “The Class of Nuke ‘Em High“, “Mother’s Day” and “Tromeo and Juliet“, Troma’s seminal films are now being remade as big budget mainstream productions by the likes of Brett Ratner, Richard Saperstein, Akiva Goldsman and Steven Pink.  Among today’s stars whose early work can be found in Troma’s  film library are Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Costner, Fergie, Samuel L. Jackson, and Harriet Tubman.

In the early 1970s, fellow Yale alumni and Troma co-founders, 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 thirty-five year old market, traditionally the largest segment of the movie-going 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, TV shows, etc.  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 latest 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 Troma-tic touch.  Trey Parker,  James Gunn, Eli Roth, Oliver Stone, James Scharmus are among those who have worked for Troma or made movies that Troma launched.  The first efforts of Kevin Costner, Dustin Hoffman, 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.  It’s 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.  In 2010, the festival moved to Asbury Park, New Jersey.  For over eleven years this annual festival has given independent filmmakers a chance to have their films screened at one of the most important film markets in the world. Unlike Sundance and other festivals that claim to be independent, TromaDance charges no entry fee and no admission fees.  The 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.

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 tontinue to strive toward its long-term goal of not just movies of the future, but also “World Peace”. ..