In high school my friends and I would hang out at my house and watch the same videos over and over again. We had what we called “The Big Three” and we’d watch them religiously, not unlike a football coach studying footage from last weekend’s game his team lost. There was Jim Muro’s STREET TRASH. There was Peter Jackson’s BAD TASTE. But the one we would always come back to was Lloyd Kaufman’s THE TOXIC AVENGER. It was unlike anything my friends and I had ever seen before; a superhero that ripped arms from sockets and proceeded to beat the shit out of you with your very own severed arm. It was graphically violent, brutally funny and very offensive. In other words, it was the greatest thing we’d ever seen. You didn’t exactly get a ton of chicks for digging these kinds of films, but who gives a shit? This was art, goddamn it! There would be plenty of time down the road to pretend to like garbage like PRETTY WOMAN and THE ENGLISH PATIENT.
A graduate of Yale University, Lloyd Kaufman got his start in classic mainstream films like ROCKY and SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. After experiencing horrible conditions with mainstream films, he and partner Michael Herz created Troma Studios after the successful financial run of a film they helped finish and finance called BLOODSUCKING FREAKS. They continued to release a ton of hit-or-miss T&A sex comedies throughout the seventies and early eighties. One day, Lloyd had read an article in a film trade magazine that stated that the horror film was dead. He quickly had the idea to combine both the horror and comedy elements and released his first foray with this new format: THE TOXIC AVENGER. It was an unbelievable financial success and continues to make Troma Studios a force to be reckoned with.
Over time, both The American Film Institute, as well as The British Film Institute has honored Troma. Troma continues to purchase films from independent producers and release them with the Troma name attached. These are films that may not get a distribution deal any other way. Troma films continue to address real problems with society in their trademark satirical ways. Issues such as the environment, health care and most recently, the fast food industry. What you get with a Troma film is exactly what Lloyd has been promising since the eighties—slightly lame special effects, vulgar wit, coarse production values, and a ballsy stance. Troma fans wouldn’t have it any other way.
A spokesperson and member of The Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA), Lloyd Kaufman may very well be the most recognizable studio head in the world. When was the last time you recognized a studio executive from his appearance alone? Walt Disney? With his trademark Jew Suit and politically incorrect sense of humor, Lloyd may very well be the most famous aspect to Troma Studios. His latest film, POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD, is his best film to date—or at least since THE TOXIC AVENGER. The film is getting great reviews from some of the unlikeliest publications and critics. An offensive, violent, disgustingly scatological musical that revolves around a fast food restaurant built on an old Indian burial ground and the mass of undead chickens that seek revenge on the dining hall.
POULTRYGEIST is now available for purchase in a three disc boxed set and Lloyd just released his latest book, DIRECT YOUR OWN DAMN MOVIE, just weeks ago. You can find them both at Amazon.
Bryan Layne: I was glad that you brought your new film POULTRYGEIST to Nashville and I’d like to thank you for getting it into the Belcourt theaters.
Lloyd Kaufman: I love Nashville and I’ve actually been there a number of times. We’ve been having Tromapalloza concerts in Murfreesboro, Tennessee– which is very close to Nashville– for the past three or four years. Tromapalloza is held at a club there and it’s a fund-raiser for the Tromadance Film Festival. The fans have been putting it on and producing it. Nathan Fisher is his name and he’s from Nashville. He works for Ingram, the publishing warehouse located in Smyrna and I imagine you’re familiar with them. So, I’ve been to Murfreesboro at least three times. I’ve been to the Belcourt Cinemas there, as well. They did a Troma festival there and it was terrific. The Belcourt is a great place for independent filmmakers and independent art.
BL: The Tromapalloza shows, are they pretty successful for you?
LK: Well, they are good for our fans and it raises a little bit of money. Are you familiar with the Tromadance Film Festival?
BL: Yes I am, but I’ve never been a part of one.
LK: Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who made CANNIBAL: THE MUSICAL and went on to create SOUTH PARK, took me to the Sundance Film Festival one year. We were distributing CANNIBAL: THE MUSICAL and Trey paid, because I was too cheap, the fee to submit CANNIBAL to Sundance. They rejected the film, but never informed Trey of their decision to do so. So, we went to Sundance and we were so appalled by their nastiness. I mean, they were extremely rude to a huge amount of independent filmmakers. After that experience, I decided to set up the Tromadance Film Festival, where you could submit your movie without paying for it. In other words, there is no entry fee and you could go see the movies for free. There’s also no VIP policy. We’ve been doing it in the exact same place as Sundance in Park City, Utah. It’s at the exact same place at the exact same time. This year, in January, it will be our tenth year and all of it is free. The staff is completely made up of volunteers and we get a condo where everybody sleeps on the floors. The Tromadance Film Festival makes absolutely zero revenue (laughing). We showed them— all of us sleeping on the floor without any food.
BL: POULTRYGEIST is available now on DVD, correct?
LK: That’s correct. It was released on October 28th and this title is a very big deal for all of us at Troma.
BL: I’ve grown accustomed to Troma’s straight-to-video titles, what made you decide to put this one out as a theatrical release?
LK: If I direct a movie, usually about 300 movie theaters will play it, not all at once—but bit, by bit, by bit. Our fans want to see our movies in 35mm. Troma really didn’t have the money do all of that, so my wife and I had to put the money up and POULTRYGEIST has been playing very successfully. It played in New York now for several months and our fans really appreciate the fact that it’s up there on the screen in 35mm. I’ve developed enough of a following that if I direct a movie, the fans would turn up without any advertising. I mean, how much advertising can we really do when the film is only playing at one theater for a major city? We had a big opening here in New York and then two weeks later Indiana Jones took up all of the screens. So, we had to move to a smaller theater, but at least we were able to get that done.
BL: I take it you’re pleased with the great reception that POULTRYGEIST has been getting?
LK: I feel like POULTRYGEIST is by far my best film. I believe it’s the most original, thought provoking, and risk taking film I’ve ever directed. It’s also very entertaining and it’s been doing well in the movie theaters. It’s just that there is no way to keep it playing because most of the theaters are calendar houses. That’s where they won’t hold movies; they have a program where they will play the film for a week and move on to another title. That’s just the way they have to do it. Even when we are in theaters that aren’t calendar houses, the big studious will put pressure on the independent movie theaters to kick out POULTRYGEIST. They will continue to keep showing STEP UP 2: THE STREETS, even though nobody is going to see that film. They’ll keep showing FOOL’S GOLD even though there are only three people in the audience on a Saturday night in a city like Minneapolis. So, that’s our problem.
BL: How hard is it for you and Troma to compete with the major studios?
LK: Troma might be the oldest independent movie studio in the world, but it’s certainly the oldest in this country. 2009 will be our thirty-fifth year. The playing field is slightly tilted to the advantage of the giant, devil-worshiping international conglomerates. It’s totally perpendicular against us. It’s like a greased stripper’s pole—we can’t even begin to climb it because the MPAA and the major studios have done away with all of the rules that used to protect independent art. The consent decree, which used to prohibit big conglomerates from owning movie theaters, has been done away with and the rule that used to require the networks to program at least thirty-five percent of their content from independent sources was done away with, as well. That one was known as the finsin rule.
BL: How does that affect Troma?
LK: As a result, we—the independents—are totally locked out. We are economically blacklisted. That’s why the independent movie studios cannot survive. They just don’t last. There are always new ones popping up and there are movies being made, but they can’t get them out there to the public. The big media ignores the studios and their finished films. Media such as The New York Times, The L.A. Times, or The Wall Street Journal– where as twenty years ago, they would always pay a huge amount of attention to a new Troma film. Now we don’t exist. We are like Russia where they take away your passport. You just don’t exist. If the public doesn’t know about us… when I say us, I mean that there are 200 members of The Independent Film and Television Alliance and we are the trade association. We are the MPAA of independents– the IFTA. We have members like Roger Corman’s company, Bob Yari– who produced CRASH– his company is a member, Mark Damon’s company made an Oscar winning film called MONSTER and his company belongs to the IFTA. I was elected chairman to fight against industry consolidation on behalf of our members. We also want to protect content on the Internet. I’ve been going down to Washington, along with the brilliant CEO of IFTA and our lobbyists go in to talk with Senators about these matters. We just met with Senator Dorgan of South Dakota and he gets what we are up to. We met with members of the FCC, some of whom were major Troma fans, but not all of them get it. The point is that our members are having a tough time now because we are basically blacklisted from American television and our members are not just American. Forty percent of our members are from the UK, Europe and Asia. They can’t get on television here either, unless they go through the vassals of the major studios. Then those big conglomerates keep most of the revenue.
BL: Troma films never get shown on television?
LK: Well, we are totally independent, but we’ve not had anything shown on television. CANNIBAL: THE MUSICAL by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, which has sold around 200,000 copies on home video and CITIZEN TOXIE: THE TOXIC AVENGER PART IV, which was also hugely successful on home video– just those two examples, have never been shown on television. You would think that a movie done by the creators of SOUTH PARK, which has no nudity and a tiny amount of Grand Guignol type of violence–certainly nothing worse than Monty Python– would be a no-brainer for Comedy Central to run that movie. It boils down to the fact that we are economically blacklisted. The major television networks, HBO, Showtime, etc.– they only play what they make and own themselves… or what the club of the seven, devil-worshiping international media conglomerates own. They scratch each other’s back and it really is a club. Rupert Murdoch will use his own newspaper to write-up Fox’s newest zombie movie as if there had never been any zombie movies ever made before. They try to suggest that George Romero never existed. They all do each other favors, but the rest are treated as if we don’t exist. They call me a cult filmmaker. What does that mean? I’m like David Koresh? It’s really just a way to dismiss me and make it demeaning. But in fact, INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULLS has spent around a hundred million dollars on marketing and basically they’ve brainwashed the public. The public lines up to see that movie like zombies. It’s like fast food, which is what POULTRYGEIST is all about. It feels good going down and then suddenly you’ve got explosive diarrhea. Where as with a Troma movie, the public has to go to some effort to see those films. People go to our movies because they want to see our movies and the media doesn’t value that. The thing is that there are tons of people who are making very good movies, far more mainstream than Lloyd Kaufman and maybe even better than Lloyd Kaufman, that get even less distribution because they don’t have a company like Troma behind them. You know, they don’t have a staff that is devoted and they have to rely on other companies to distribute their movies. That’s why they don’t last and they really don’t stand a chance of lasting. Just look at the guys who made THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. What ever happened to them? They are obviously talented. They got rat-fucked by the system, right? I doubt very much that they got any money back for that movie and, for whatever reason; it would appear that their careers have been truncated. The battlefield is littered with the dead carcasses of talented directors and it’s because of this horrible, horrible system of making baby food movies. You know, movies put together by committee. The films are costing too much money, so you can’t take any risks.
BL: There have been a lot of people that started out at Troma and have become quite successful. Could you mention a few of them?
LK: The SOUTH PARK guys are huge Troma fans and they used to have TOXIC AVENGER parties in college. Certainly, James Gunn is hugely successful. Vincent D’Onofrio got his first acting experience with us; he’s on one of the LAW AND ORDER shows now. Troma financed Samuel L. Jackson’s first movie, it was called DEF BY TEMPTATION. Oliver Stone got into movies because I got into movies back when I was attending Yale. He wasn’t even thinking about movies at that time. He was focusing on writing crappy novels. Then I was making movies and he hung out on the sets. He did a little acting in one of my earlier films and the next thing you know, he was the associate producer on a movie we made called SUGAR COOKIES. Then, it turned out that he had a shitload of talent and became a huge success. He then instantly dropped me and we grew up together from second grade on, too. There are a lot of guys out there that got their start with us. Marisa Tomei was in TOXIC AVENGER and she, of course, went on to win an Oscar. We own, but didn’t distribute, the first movie that Kevin Costner’s in called SIZZLE BEACH, USA and a friend of mine produced the first movie that Brian DePalma directed. It was also one of Robert DeNiro’s first films, called THE WEDDING PARTY. We distributed that film and own it 100%. We own one of Dustin Hoffman’s first films called MADIGAN’S MILLIONS. We didn’t produce it, but we do own it.
I feel that it’s very important to keep independent entertainment companies alive and that’s why I am very dedicated about being a chairman of the Independent Film and Television Alliance. The independent film companies, like Roger Corman and Troma, are the engines of ingenuity. We’re the training grounds for the stars of tomorrow. We are the outlet for opportunities to take risks and develop new techniques; new technology. It’s really, really important that all of that doesn’t simply disappear. It’s nice that the Belcourt exists, but that’s only one cinema. Even though it makes money for the theaters everywhere it plays, I would guess that the Belcourt might be the only cinema in Tennessee that will be playing POULTRYGEIST.
BL: How are the fans coping with the problems of trying to find POULTRYGEIST playing at a cinema near their hometown?
LK: I’ve got about 13,000 friends on MySpace and they get pissed off because they think I’m deliberately not bringing POULTRYGEIST to their town. It’s not me. In fact, most of our theatrical engagements are fan driven. The fans go to the theaters and say, “Hey, you better book POULTRYGEIST. We want it.” They did that at the Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles and they went to the theater in San Francisco, as well as others. I recently got back from Muskegon, Michigan—which is down the road from Grand Rapids—and the place was packed. It’s a tiny town, yet the fans got their local theater to play POULTRYGEIST. I flew out there for that one to show appreciation to the fans that are so devoted. They played it for three weeks in the tiny little town of Muskegon and it’s a huge hit. Still, I don’t believe we will make any money from that, but the fans are so appreciative. They really love the film. It’s a great film, by the way. It really is an intelligent movie. It’s got some very amusing songs with singing and dancing. The acting is just terrific and while the film is hilarious, it really gets you thinking, too. It has a pretty good social statement about fast food and limousine liberals. It’s a good satire. That’s why the SOUTH PARK guys love it. They’ve acted in our movies before, even after they got famous and successful. They were in TERROR FIRMER and TALES FROM THE CRAPPER for us at Troma. I have brand new interviews with Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the thirteenth anniversary DVD release of CANNIBAL: THE MUSICAL. It’s going to be terrific.
BL: Tell me about your experience with THE FINAL COUNTDOWN. That’s the film you were involved with that turned you off from the major studios entirely, correct?
LK: That’s exactly right. Kirk Douglas and I were partners on that film. Troma was, percentage wise, a small partner on THE FINAL COUNTDOWN. I was the associate producer and Kirk’s son Peter developed the project. He was the producer. I was very instrumental because fathers and sons often have a very strange relationship. I think during a breakfast we were having, I got Kirk to agree to be in the movie. Once he agreed, Peter was really able to get the rest of the cast together and make it all happen. That film was a great learning experience for me. Kirk Douglas was one of my heroes. He broke the Hollywood blacklist by hiring people like Dalton Trumbo, who produced a number of films Kirk was in like SPARTACUS and SEVEN DAYS IN MAY. Kirk is just a major, bigger-than-life character. The problem with THE FINAL COUNTDOWN was that it soured me forever on having anything to do with the mainstream studios. If they want to give me money to make a film—that’s fine, but I’m not going out to pitch, or have anything to do with them because the whole experience is just garbage. THE FINAL COUNTDOWN was a good movie, but it could have been brilliant.
BL: What were the problems you encountered?
LK: The director was a lush. The crew didn’t give a shit about making a good movie. They were all about how much they could glom out of petty cash and how much they could charge the production for their tools. Not a single one of them were interested in the film. Katherine Ross was very upset because we didn’t have enough chairs for lunch one day. The crew didn’t like the lunches. The camera crew, these were people who were being paid a shitload of money, wouldn’t even go out and test. We were filming on the U.S.S. Nimitz. We had Kirk and Peter Douglas using their celebrity status to get things done for the film and they had used up just about everything they had. We got the navy to allow us to go aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz while it was out to sea so the camera guys could learn about lighting the island, which is where the captain observes the ship’s direction and it’s surrounded by glass—they were too lazy to even do that. They certainly took their paychecks, but they wouldn’t go out and do the testing. I was making another movie at the exact same time, called SQUEEZE PLAY—a woman’s liberation satire about softball teams—and we tested everything on that movie. I rehearsed everything on film and prepared everything ahead of time. We shot it on 35mm, but I went to all of the locations, I took super8 film and I rehearsed everything on celluloid. I tested every possible thing that I could and these guys didn’t even have the interest to test the U.S.S. Nimitz. The first five days of shooting the footage came back and the windows were all burned out. We could have shot it back in the studio if I’d known the crew was going to work like that. They ordered thousands of dollars of Plexiglas filters for the windows in the Nimitz and they cut them the wrong way so they wouldn’t fit. Then there was the union. They put in a complaint with The National Labor Relations Board. It was just the worst experience making that film. The new crew that I had to hire was no better. I felt like Jack LaLanne pulling this giant aircraft carrier behind us full of a bunch of lazy, slothful, money-grubbing people. When I first decided to work with Kirk Douglas, a lot of people tried to tell me that he was a terrible person. It turns out that most people are jerks and Kirk just hates mediocrity. He cocked his fist back on me one time, but once he realized that everything I told him was the truth and nothing but the truth, then he became a good buddy. We kept in touch for a number of years and he always told me how proud he was of Troma. I definitely learned a lot from him. If you get the DVD of THE FINAL COUNTDOWN, a company called Blue Underground puts it out, I was interviewed there and I pretty much speak my mind about my feelings on that film. I mean, the director didn’t even want to shoot the stuff up in the sky. He didn’t want to bother with the F-14 Tomcat and just wanted to use stock footage. It was the laziest bunch of people, but it’s a great movie. We also never got a penny back because United Artists went bankrupt. We’ve got a piece of that movie, yet we’ve never gotten a statement, report or check. So, after that movie in 1979, that was it for me. I figured that I had learned all I was going to learn making mainstream movies. From that point on, I’ve really stuck to my guns.
BL: How about your early work you did on the controversial film JOE?
LK: The film JOE was my first professional job and from that film I met director John Avildsen. I’ve written a book called ALL I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FILMMAKING I LEARNED FROM THE TOXIC AVENGER along with James Gunn. It’s sort of my memoirs, but I talk about JOE in that book. I had a great experience with actor Lawrence Tierney that is worth mentioning. He was supposed to play Joe at one point and I was to take him into a department store called Alexander’s with the costume crew. So, there we were on the escalator and suddenly I feel something on my blue jeans. I looked down and there’s a stream of water on my pants leg. Mr. Tierney was relieving himself on the escalator and that was the end of him. What’s interesting is that from the very beginning John Avildsen always wanted Peter Boyle for the film, but the bosses at Cannon—which was the little company that was producing JOE—they said Peter Boyle wasn’t convincing as somebody who had fought in World War Two; not old enough. I remember the audition very well because I was a hungry little production assistant. I was going twenty-four hours and anything I was permitted to be around I welcomed it. I tried to go to any auditions I was allowed to go to, or whatever I could do for that film. Peter Boyle made a wonderful improv, which I did include in my book, and when Avildsen saw that improv—that was it. He wanted Peter Boyle. When Tierney showed himself to be unreliable, other than his bladder to say the least, Peter Boyle got the job. Just to show you how times have changed, JOE was a movie that cost $150,000 and achieved a nomination for an Academy Award for best screenplay. There’s not a single movie today distributed by a little independent company that would ever be considered for an Academy Award. It would just be impossible.
I also worked on SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, which was written by the same guy who wrote JOE. Norman Wexler was his name and he was an absolute genius. That guy was just the best writer in the world, but unfortunately he was a manic-depressive and remained very ill throughout the time I spent with him. He’s dead now, but he suffered terrible mood swings. I remember he came over to rehearse CRY UNCLE, which was John Avildsen’s next film after JOE. Troma released that one and it really is a terrific movie. If you get the DVD for CRY UNCLE you can see a lot of John Avildsen in the DVD with his commentaries and interviews. Anyway, I remember Wexler came over and it was quite sad because of his illness. My guess is that maybe today, with the drugs that are available, he might have solved his problem. He was definitely a nice guy, but he was very out of control due to this horrible illness. I also think that back in 1970, although I graduated from Yale, I don’t remember ever hearing very much about manic depression. I think most of society didn’t really realize that it was an illness. Today we are much more enlightened about mental illness.
BL: I’ve always enjoyed blending cinema violence with humor. Do you feel that THE TOXIC AVENGER is considered horror simply by default?
LK: THE TOXIC AVENGER is Grand Guignol in my opinion. I’m a satirist. I always loved the films of Buster Keaton and slapstick comedy. I think what makes Troma famous is that we’ve kind of created, according to filmmakers like Peter Jackson and James Gunn, the slapstick-gore movie. THE TOXIC AVENGER might have been the very first movie like that, but it’s not a horror film. THE TOXIC AVENGER didn’t frighten you, but it does disturb you. I think that is more of what Troma brings to the table. We bring a lot of laughs. At the same time, people are disturbed and challenged. Our movies have a pretty good sociological and political statement behind them, but they’re told in slapstick and satirical ways. With horror movies the director has one hand tied behind him because horror is always made to ride the back of the bus. George Romero is probably the most underrated director in the world; he’s the greatest, but because he’s been in this horror genre, he’s kind of got one hand tied behind his back. I have chosen to have both of my hands tied behind my back because I have both horror and comedy in my films. Comedy is even more looked down upon than horror because what’s funny in Ohio might not be funny in Florida. What’s funny in California is certainly not going to be funny in Turkey, Italy or China. I’ve managed to paint myself into an even smaller corner by combining those two genres and it could have been one of the worst decisions I ever made. With POULTRYGEIST, we’ve taken one more step into the genre Cuisinart because we’ve added the singing and dancing elements. It makes the film even more original, I think.
BL: I’ve got to tell you that THE TOXIC AVENGER was very influential to me for the way I view certain films.
LK: Well, you aren’t alone. Peter Jackson said the exact same thing. Takashi Miike in Japan and Alex de la Iglesia, as well as other filmmakers—they were all influenced by THE TOXIC AVENGER. The reach that Troma’s films have is huge. Unfortunately, we are economically blacklisted in most of the marketplace, but we do have a huge reach that is hugely influential, without a doubt. Everybody who works here says that as soon as I get hit by a bus and die, then The New York Times will write a wonderful front page on this genius that nobody appreciated while he was alive.
BL: Tell me about the time you were blindsided on The Morton Downey, Jr. Show back in the eighties.
LK: Boy, that was an interesting evening because I was out of the country and they called up Troma about doing their Halloween show. They were filming in New Jersey and they said, “Everybody in New Jersey loves Toxie and Tromaville. We’d like to have you guys on the show for our Halloween party.” So, my office accepted. My wife had just given birth and this was her first night on the town. They sent a limo to pick us up and everything was going to be great. The next thing I know…well, you saw it (laughing). Apparently, they set up an audience ahead of time that was instructed to help humiliate me. They told the audience, “We’re going to bring these guys on and then we’ll give up a thumbs up, or a thumbs down. If we give you a thumbs down, you guys make a lot of noise and we are going to kick them right off the air.” The only person they didn’t tell all of this to was me! Since the show took place on Halloween, the members of the audience had guns and there were people with prosthetic penises on their noses. It was a room full of weirdoes out in the stands. My wife was sitting right in the middle of all these spectators. I had to walk through the audience to get up on the stage and suddenly this guy whips them all up into hysteria. Then he wants me to leave the building. I said, “Fuck, I’m not going to leave the stage and have all of these crazy people jumping around me. I don’t know what they are capable of doing to me.” I’m sitting there wearing my little Jew suit. You know, my Bar Mitzvah bowtie and blazer. So, I just stay in my seat and then these goons come up on stage to physically remove me. They ripped my watch right off my arm and dislocated my shoulder during the process. To this day, I continue to suffer from shoulder pain because of all of that. After that episode was completed, they stopped filming that program live. And, of course, that episode was the first week of the show. I’ve been on Politically Incorrect, Charlie Rose, I’ve been on the front of The Wall Street Journal and nobody ever saw me on those things. Nobody. Now, this fucking show, this Morton Downey thing—of course, everybody saw that stupid thing. It was just terrible (laughing). And my poor wife was right in the middle of all that chaos. I think I called the cops and they showed up with these huge metal clubs that had teeth on them. The cops were ready to beat the crap out of me. I had to say, “No. No. No. These guys are the ones you want. I called you and I want to file a complaint (laughing).” Which I did file the complaint. After that episode, the Universal guys made them start using a delay button. And, by the way, after that episode Downey’s show went right down the toilet because if you were not really allowed to torture people anymore, or make the show into a metaphorically wrestling match, why would anybody watch that anymore? And they didn’t. That show was gone very soon after that episode I appeared on. But, it was unbelievable how many people did see that show. You know, nobody ever said anything to me when I was on Nightline or Charlie Rose. Nothing.
BL: Isn’t that the way it usually goes?
LK: Right. Whenever somebody sends my wife and I home in a limousine, I’m always hoping our neighbors will be seeing us getting out of the limo, but…nope. It never happens. If it’s something humiliating then everybody just happens to be there to witness it. That’s the way life is Mr. Layne, right?
BL: Is there anything you’d like to talk about that I might have neglected to bring up?
LK: Well, the fans are what keep Troma going. They’ve allowed me to have forty years of total freedom as a director, writer and producer. I’m one of the very few American auteur filmmakers and it’s all because of our fans. They have worked hard to keep in touch and to support us. They continue to help get our films into movie theaters. The DVD of POULTRYGEIST is pretty much sold out, other than ordering it off of Amazon. I mean, hopefully it will be available in stores, but it’s because of the fans being very supportive and telling their friends about Troma’s releases. In fact, I had an incident recently with The Washington Post where a writer reviewed POULTRYGEIST. He obviously hadn’t seen it because he quoted lines from the movie that was on the poster, but not in the film. He wasn’t the only one; The Village Voice in New York said that Trey Parker and Matt Stone were in the movie. They’re not in POULTRYGEIST, but at least that guy gave the film a good review. The Washington Post gave the movie a horrible review and there was no way the writer ever viewed the film. So, on my MySpace account I told people to write letters to The Washington Post and I think out of 12,000, 600 people did send letters to that newspaper. It just boils down to lazy journalism and that guy was their lead critic who was recently laid off—but not because of this incident, apparently they were downsizing. I guess he just got lazier. I’d like to say thanks to our fans that are very, very supportive. Certainly, I owe my career to the fact that the fans keep us going. So, I’d like to end by thanking all the fans for supporting, not just Troma, but independent art in general.
Catch up on Lloyd and all things Troma by visiting www.troma.com
Catch up on Lloyd’s latest Troma film POULTRYGEIST right here: www.poultrygeistmovie.com
Add Lloyd Kaufman to your MySpace account here: www.myspace.com/chickenzombie
Learn about The Tromadance Film Festival and submit a film you might have made by visiting www.tromadance.com