Feb 28

All I Need To Know About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger

allineedAuthor: Lloyd Kaufman, James Gunn
Media: Book
Year: 1998


From the back of the book:

This is the true story of the moviemaking maverick who co-founded an independent studio twenty-five years ago in a humble broom closet… who used raw hamburgers, Karo syrup blood, and Bromo-Seltzer vomit to create films of questionable artistic and moral value… who battled the MPAA rating board to bring his outrageous vision to the screen… who rejected Madonna after an audition… who defied the Hollywood system and slapped the face of the industry… and who built a B-movie empire filled with Chopper Chicks, Surf Nazis, Kabuki Cops, Nymphoid Barbarians, and a lone hero known as The Toxic Avenger.

This is the story of Troma Studios. A story of guerilla filmmaking at its cheapest, of the American Dream torn limb from limd, and of topless starlets menaced by obscene rubber puppets.”

This book lets us get an insight into the (dirty) mind and also the personal life of Lloyd Kaufman. The premise of the book was that it was supposed to give tips to aspiring independent filmmakers, but as is common with Kaufman, he prefers to do things more entertaining and the book ends up being filled with a lot of funny stuff mixed with his and Troma’s story. The humour works great in the book and it is very enjoyable book to read.

It’s written together with fellow filmmaker James Gunn and it contains a big sticky load of information regarding Kaufman’s way from making student films and all the way up to their newest release at time of writing the book – Tromeo & Juliet. We go through most of the films that Kaufman directed, but I also feel there is more to be said about the films they have picked up to distribute. Perhaps a more thorough book going into each of the 150+ movies would be a good idea in the future.

We also get to know Kaufman very well in between all the funny jokes he makes in the book and what we get is a very passionate guy who believes in what he does for a living and also fights for not only Troma, but all independent moviemakers. He is also very honest and admits that stuff such as the first two sequels to Toxic Avenger was lackluster and also that he wished he directed the sequels to Class of Nuke ‘Em High.

All I Need To Know About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger is probably not the book to pick up if you want tips on how to make it in the movie industry and Troma has made other books that will help you more with that. The book is however for those who are interested in the history of Troma. It’s highly entertaining and informative, so there is no reason why this shouldn’t be in your shelf if you enjoy Troma films.


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