Lloyd at the B-Movie Celebration 2007 Interview by Nic Brown
It is a perfect late summer evening in Franklin Indiana and
a crowd is gathering at the Artcraft Theater, the small
town’s historic cinema. This isn’t the normal crowd for this
classic cinema, but then this isn’t a normal night. We’re in
the middle of the first annual
B-Movie Celebration. It’s a film festival that
celebrates the fun side of movies by showing films that are
considered a different kind of classic. From black and white
sci-fi and horror from the 1950’s to contemporary films, the
festival embraces independent cinema and the people behind
Appropriately enough at a festival celebrating independent
cinema, the Artcraft has played host to the festival’s Troma
Films retrospective. Described as “the last truly
independent film studio”, Troma has been making films for
almost 35 years. Classic Troma films such as The Toxic
Avenger, Terror Firmer, The Toxic Avenger IV: Citizen Toxie,
and Juliet had all played during the day, and now
it was time for the main event. Lloyd Kaufman, the man
behind Troma studios, is being honored tonight with a
lifetime achievement award from The B-Movie Celebration and
its founding organization, the Indy Film Co-op. A screening
of his newest film:
Night of the Chicken Deadis set to immediately
follow the event.
The theater is crowded with fans and other guests including
FX legend Tom Savini and B-movie director extraordinaire Jim
Wynorski all waiting for the show to begin. The wait isn’t a
long one as the festival’s MC Steve “Papaw” Payatte takes
the stage. After a brief introduction, a montage of Troma
clips is played and Papaw then welcomes Lloyd to the stage.
Of course Lloyd is not alone, a whole procession of Troma
characters joins him. Troma’s Mickey Mouse: the Toxic
Avenger is joined by Sgt. Kabuki Man, and the newest of the
Tromettes Asphyxia, are just a few of the colorful
characters who precede Lloyd onto the stage. When he finally
makes his appearance the crowd goes wild with cheers and
applause which quickly settle down at Papaw Payette’s
Lloyd has a treat for the crowd, he’s brought the music
video for the Poultrygeist theme and he informs everyone
that they’re showing it now. Of course when the show starts
the theater’s huge screen is filled with the image of Lloyd
dressed in women’s underwear singing a raunchy number in a
storage closet! The audience is in stitches laughing as
Kaufman runs onto the stage yelling “Stop! Stop! That’s the
wrong DVD!” and he then explains that he’s been trying to
get jobs in alternative porn to finance Troma during these
troubled times and that was his demo tape.
This is the kind of thing that people expect from the man
behind Troma studios and he doesn’t disappoint. He also
isn’t about to be outdone so before Papaw can present his
award, Lloyd calls Bill Dever, the man behind the Indy Film
Co-op and the festival, to come on stage and he gives both
Papaw and Bill awards of their own: official Troma-Diplomas
honoring their work for independent cinema.
B-Movie Man (Nic Brown
center) with Lloyd Kaufman and the Troma Team at
the B-Movie Celebration.
Only after this is done does Lloyd accept the lifetime
achievement award that the Indy Film Co-op has for him.
Lloyd keeps the ceremony short, graciously accepting the
award with a few more jokes. Finally he introduces the film
that he considers Troma’s finest work to date: Poultrygeist:
Night of the Chicken Dead.
Nic: Lloyd, it’s a pleasure to talk to you
today, I understand that a little film you worked on is
going to be having its Indiana premiere tonight here at the
B-Movie Celebration, is that correct?
Lloyd: I’m here with Super-Tromette Asphyxia [he says
gesturing to the attractive and “Tromatically” attired young
woman next to him]. and…wait a minute, wait here’s a Troma
fan, Joey! [Lloyd then jumps to the other side of me and
begins speaking in a high-pitched voice]
Lloyd as “Joey”: Hi Lloyd Kaufman, I
love you! You’re so great!
Lloyd: Now just a minute Joey.
Lloyd as “Joey”: I’m a big fan, I love The Toxic Avenger and I
love Poultrygeist, when is the next Toxic Avenger going to come
Lloyd; Well we’re working on that right now and… Hey keep those
crowds back! Security! Keep this mob of fans back. [Lloyd and
Asphyxia begin making crowd noises] Security, I’m doing an
Lloyd as “Joey”: Oh but Lloyd you’re the best, you’re the
Lloyd: Alright, alright, let me do this interview! Now where
Nic: You were about to tell me about Poultrygeist…
before that mob showed up anyway…
Lloyd: We’ll this is the Indiana premiere so we’re going to
dedicate this to Indiana’s own Jane Pauly. Oh, and I think David
Letterman is also going to be showing up here tonight as well.
You know that Poultrygeist is a shot-by-shot exact remake of the
slap stick comedy “Shindler’s List”.
Nic: I did not know that….
Lloyd: Yes it is! We’ll except that instead of the Jews, we have
chosen to use Chicken/Indian zombies and instead of the
concentration camps, we have a fast food chicken establishment.
Let’s see, who did we choose instead of Liam Neeson? Oh yeah
that really famous Shakespearian actor Ron Jeremy.
Nic: That was an interesting bit of casting there
Lloyd. I actually thought Ron was known for his Longfellow, not
Lloyd: [Laughing] Well I’m hoping that “Poultrygeist” will
please the B Movie Celebration and that we’ll get a lot of
coverage for the big opening!
Nic: I don’t see how it can fail to please, this
film festival is the talk of the town here in Franklin. Speaking
of which, don’t you have something to do with a film festival of
your own? I think it happens out in Utah somewhere at the same
time as another small film festival of some kind…
Lloyd: I think that you must be referring to the Tromadance Film
Festival. Tromadance takes place each year in Park City, Utah.
It’s at the same time and same place as the Sundance Film
Festival. Tromadance has been going on for the past nine years
and it started out because Sundance isn’t really independent.
They [Sundance] charge the filmmakers to submit their movies and
the filmmakers who do these independent films are usually very
poor and shouldn’t have to be charged to submit a movie to a
festival. Especially when we feel that it is fixed. I mean you
have Fox Search Light, New Line Cinemas, HBO and others being
considered an independent film companies! These are not
independent film companies! They’re divisions of Time Warner or
Paramount or one of the other mega-conglomerate media companies.
So about ten years ago we set up the Tromadance Film Festival
with no entry fee. You can also watch the films for nothing and
there isn’t any VIP policy. During Sundance there are all these
big stars walking around and acting like they own the town and
People magazine wanting to film Jennifer Aniston with eight
diamonds on her fingers and celebrities on the ski slopes
instead of talking to the real independent filmmakers.
Tromadance is trying to encourage the genuine idealism and
creativity of independent cinema.
I’ve also been speaking with Mr. Bill Dever, the man who
organized the B-Movie Celebration, and he would like to bring
the Tromadance film festival here to Franklin Indiana. He also
has a lot of support from the town for this idea, so maybe next
summer we could organize Tromadance right here!
Nic: Lloyd, I think a lot of Troma fans would love
to see the festival come to Franklin Indiana next year! So, how
do you get support for the festival each year?
Lloyd: Well Tromadance is not a good business model, I mean
there is absolutely no revenue from it with free admission and
free submissions for films. People can visit
make a donation to support the festival. Troma has of course in
the past supported the festival, but the majority of it comes
from contributions. You can go to the site and contribute and
you can even take a tax deduction for it!
I also think that the idea of bringing Tromadance here to
Franklin in the summer would be great. I mean this is such a
beautiful small town and very supportive of the B-Movie
Celebration and the idealism behind independent cinema. It would
be very cool to have a summer Tromadance here.
Nic: It would be great to see Tromadance grow to
Lloyd: It would indeed! The Mayor of Franklin even spoke with us
about it earlier, so the town definitely seems supportive of the
idea. We’ll see what happens.
Nic: That sounds great! So Lloyd, anything else
you’d like to add about the premiere or the festival?
Lloyd: Well Nic, I hope the people at the B-Movie Celebration
don’t think Poultrygeist is a “fowl” movement because it is
Troma’s most “eggcellent” film and that’s no “yolk”!