May 7th at the Prince Charles Cinema, the fourth installment of the Toxic Avenger series had it’s European screen debut. Director Lloyd Kaufman was in attendance to also promote the European debut of the Toxic Avenger Musical at the Southwark Theatre.
Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV was released in the States in 2000-2001 but it took quite a few years until Europeans decided to show it in cinemas, and where better to have the premier in Britain’s best cinema? Well, if you don’t count the showings at Cannes. Which we won’t.
The film itself is a truly relentless film with a pace that keeps pushing and hardly ever stops for air. According the voice-over in the beginning (done by Kaufman’s friend Stan Lee), Citizen Toxie is the true sequel to the Toxic Avenger movie, discounting the two sequels that were released in the 80’s. In the “official sequel,” the Toxic Avenger must face his enemies in an alternate world where Noxious Offender wrecks havoc and terror throughout Amortville (the mirror to Tromaville).
This is, admittedly, my first time ever seeing this film. It amused me greatly, but my poor husband looked a bit green throughout.
Like the film, the director Lloyd Kaufman is just as relentless. Following the film, the co-head of Troma Productions did a Q&A with the audience. He was joined by lovely wife, Pat, and British Banjo director Liam Regan.
Lloyd and Pat were absolutely wonderful and genuine. It’s always inspiring (sorry to sound a bit daft, but it’s seriously true) to see a man stick to his guns and succeed, well sometimes. He at least succeeds at doing what he set out to do. Making money is often the benchmark of success, but knowing that someone keeps pushing forward despite that little detail is amusing to no end.
The two directors talked about what it means to be independent in a digital age, and the difficulties of coming up with money. Regan’s film Banjo used Kickstarter, as well as several Troma films. Lloyd said that at one point Troma made money, but it has become the reality that the films often just make their money back. But the facts of money never seem to break Lloyd’s spirit, and that’s truly great.
Following the Q&A, Lloyd stayed to sign memorabilia until the cinema kicked everyone out for closing time. The PCC is always so good about this stuff. Lloyd was even better as he told everyone he’d wait around to sign until the last person left. And he did. The signings did take forever because unlike other signings, no one was rushed through. He had a conversation with each fan and seemed really happy to meet everyone.
The Troma head told me that he was currently working on a book with a writer. He said it will be about his films and will have bits about feminism. If this is at all true, it will be pretty exciting. I had just finished reading his book All I Need to Know About Filmmaking I Learned From the Toxic Avenger. If you want to read about the full history of Troma Productions or learn about filmmaking, maybe don’t read this to fulfill those needs. But if you love a bit of silly non-fiction with heart with a strong voice throughout, this is a great read.
Due to the events of last week, it’s taken me almost two weeks to write this post, but I still get a bubbly, toxic feeling thinking about my exchange with the Kaufmans. They are a sincerely lovely couple that I am so happy to have met. Like Toxie, they are truly one of a kind.
And just because he was so adamant about telling everyone, Troma’s YouTube page has loads of free films to watch. When I was working on Wicked Wisconsin Wednesdays, this was a valuable resource in helping me watch movies for free. But don’t be a total cheap-ass. Buy a Troma DVD and support some truly independent cinema.
In a world filled to the brim with conglomerates and “the big guys,” it really never hurts to support a team who achieve what they do on the talent of some really lovely people.