Kitschy films from the heart

Kitschy films from the heart
Film-maker Lloyd Kaufman with Toxie, the hero of Troma’s most popular film, The Toxic Avenger (1984).

SINGAPORE - You can call Lloyd Kaufman many things - writer-director, actor, co-founder of independent studio Troma Entertainment.

Just do not call him a maker of low-budget B-movies.

The 67-year-old president of Troma, a brand that a legion of fans around the world love for its gleeful celebration - some would say exploitation - of blood, breasts and buffoonery, protests at the label.

"You don't call them B-movies. B-movies were, historically, the second movie on a double bill. Kitsch is okay. But Troma movies are unto themselves. Which is why we have a very small following, but it's a very loving and aggressive following," he tells Life! on the telephone from New York.

"Our movies are full of sex and violence, and R-rated material or worse, but on the other hand, they are also considered art and have been a huge influence on the mainstream."

Born Stanley Lloyd Kaufman, the man who co-wrote and co-directed Troma's most well-known work, The Toxic Avenger (1984), will be in Singapore next week to give a two-day masterclass titled Lloyd Kaufman's Make & Sell Your Own Movie at the Lasalle College of the Arts.

The man who founded Troma in 1974 is a graduate of Yale University ("pretty conservative, all boys, George Bush and Oliver Stone were in my class"), where he obtained a degree in Chinese studies.

He sounds disappointed when he says he will not get a chance to practise his Mandarin as English is used widely in Singapore. It will be his first time here.

The themes that recur in the interview are his antipathy to the monopoly held over distribution by the movie industry's largest players; his love of the classics of cinema from the likes of Jean Renoir, Stan Brakhage and Franklin Schaffner; and why, through the dedication of fans who petition their hometown cinemas to hold screenings of Troma films, the studio keeps going, even if the scrappy little indie company has seen better times.

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