Tromeo & Juliet: A modern punk re-telling of the Bard’s classic story that sees two young lovers from feuding families risk everything for each other. Other than the ending, this is a reasonably true interpretation of Shakespeare‘s story – even large chunks of olde dialogue have been kept – but as this is Troma there’s (obviously) an exploitative twist in that it’s packed with blood, sexy goths, lesbians, gratui-tits, piercings, monsters, tampons, vomit, showtunes, popcorn, rats, and a bunch of masturbation / poop / piss / gay / incest jokes. Most annoyingly, there’s a ton of shameless and distracting Troma self-promotion like huge posters, VHS boxes, and Toxie even makes a brief appearance… as if this movie was destined to be the most successful Troma release! It’s very 1990s (the clothes, haircuts, music, the references, and technology like CD-ROMs) as well as being very low-budget effort even by Troma standards: the pairing of which provides a double kick of nostalgia and admirably guerrilla low-budget aesthetic. For a comedy however, it’s not particularly funny although the the end credits provide more laughs in 5 mins than the previous 90 – with dozens of fake entries, and someone proudly proclaiming “Now I don’t have to read the play!”. None of Troma’s releases are aimed at mass audiences and despite taking on one of the most famous stories of all time, Tromeo and Juliet is no exception – it’s low-fi, silly, violent, and controversial in true Troma/Kaufman-style. Despite all of this, ultimately, it isn’t as funny or shocking as it needs to be to sustain a movie this basic. I picked up the Blu-Ray, which I could only recommend for mega-fans of the film as there’s a bunch of extras and four different commentaries – all quite funny.
Surf Nazis Must Die: after an earthquake lays California to waste its beaches become overrun by feuding surfer factions; the meanest of which are the surf Nazis – but when they kill the wrong man, his grandmother wages a one-OAP-War against the them. If you think that plot sounds terrible, wait ‘til you see the film. Several scenes try to live up to the title by attempting to be outrageous – flippant racism and the single most gratuitous softcore boobs in B movie history – but it comes across as lazy. This is absolutely crammed with bad script, bad acting, bad editing, bad plot, bad ‘action’, and completely devoid of gore… congratulations, you’ve taken all of the elements of a classic B/Cult movie, yet made something that barely qualifies as watchable. For an 83 minute film, at least 20 mins could be cut and not affect the ‘story’. It also looks and feels like it was made for $50. My biggest question is that when the Nazis can dispose of gangs of badass bikers, agile Parkour, Deadly Ninjas and Speedy Skaters – yet they struggle with one vigilante granny?!!? Given the reputation and notoriety of a 28-year old B-Movie that’s stuck around for the duration, I was expecting so much more. Goes to show how much a wild title and sweet poster can do for a movie. A terrible, lazy, attempt at shoxploitation; where the only shock is how it even got a release.
You should not be allowed to make shit films with such awesome titles!
Father’s Day: a string of dads are being raped and killed by “The Fuchman”, so a priest travels the globe to track down the one-eyed anti-hero that can save the day. There’s dismemberment, gore, cannibalism & masturbation in the first few frames, so be under no illusions… this is exploitation smut at it’s most rotten! For the first 20 minutes, it’s not entirely obvious whether this is trying to be a serious b-movie or a comedy spoof; but as the gags start piling on it becomes clear. The film marries tongue in cheek genre humour with outlandish and graphic shocks; epitomised in a dick-biting scene which leaves little to the imagination. For a Troma-funded b-movie, it does well to capture the guerilla / ‘cult’ / independent / cheap vibe, synonymous with the brand – and for a low-budget movie, the budget is impressively stretched to infinity. It’s well-shot, but smothered in post-production Machete-esque grain and distortion which comes and goes for no particular reason. Towards the end it becomes totally absurd, the likes of which I can only really compare to some of the CKY skits from the first 4 videos, still it remains funny and entertaining. Father’s Day is a post-Machete, sub-Hobo, spoof / homage of the direct-to-video slashers of the 70s/80s, with a ton of blood and titties to keep modern audiences satisfied. While it lacks a coherent narrative, there’s a thousand ideas thrown at it, which is more than enough to save the movie, and leaves B-movie aficionados plenty like and admire.
The Toxic Avenger Part II: 5 years after the original, Melvin’s still sweeping up crime with his mop – from NJ to Japan. You know it’s going to be good when, 2 minutes in, a blind pensioner gets shot out of her wheelchair. Unfortunately most versions of the T.A. series have been very heavily edited, with most gore cut out and the gratuitous nudity blurred. Films like this were never meant to be taken seriously: the camp script, silly slapstick gags and playing on stereotypes make it really enjoyable, even fun, to watch. The stunts, special effects and explosions are all great and it has a feel somewhere between Cannibal the Musical and the original Power Rangers. People slate this and compare it to the first film, although twenty years later this is still one of the most entertaining B-movies around. Great example of independent film, that’s well worth watching if you can track it down! Radioactive Fun.