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Tits, Exploding Heads and other fond memories of my childhood:an ode to Troma and the mom and pop video store

Tits, Exploding Heads and other fond memories of my childhood:an ode to Troma and the mom and pop video store

Anyone who grew up in the 80’s or 90’s remember a phenomenon not seen very often today, that phenomenon was the Mom and Pop video store. Walking up and down isle upon isle of cardboard cases with bright vibrant pictures proudly displayed. Pictures of scantily clad women, monsters, animals, explosions, you name it, it was there. The smell of stale popcorn and old cardboard and Styrofoam mixing with the smells of cheap perfume, meals recently consumed, stale farts and unwashed bodies, the sound of ancient computers clacking away as rentals are scanned and checked out.

Where else can you find Jesus, Barny the dinosaur, Mutants, monsters and people fucking in the same place? Anyone who remembers these things most likely remember something else.

That something is Troma. For those who don’t know Troma Team Video is the brainchild of brilliant (and quite possibly insane) Film Makers and screenwriters Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Hertz. Kaufman and Hertz made sex comedies in the 70’s and 80’s and then switched over to virtually genre-less films: Cult classics like Class of Nuke ’em High, and their most memorable creation (who is now their mickey mouse) The Toxic Avenger (picture Jason without the mask, switch his machete for a mop and put him in a burnt tu-tu and make him a good guy…not kidding) the problem with movies with no genre is the big companies that had monopolized the movie houses at that point didn’t know how to cash in on such a thing. they were so cut and dry about categorizing everything that the idea of trying to offer MORE was completely unthinkable to them (thinking in general was unthinkable of course)

mitchtherealtoxieMEANWHILE ACROSS TOWN: the mom and pops had a huge problem too: namingly they were running out of movies for people to rent! Turns out people didn’t want to watch Total Recall 4000,000 times. And E.T. that loveable little rubber penis just wasn’t cutting it for most Americans. Troma had the solution. Troma did the unthinkable. THEY MADE MORE MOVIES! Not only that but they bought up the rights of hundreds (probably more like thousands) of movies no one would otherwise see and they sold them to the stores at the smallest possible profit region!

INSANITY!!!! A MOVIE COMPANY THAT CARES ABOUT MOVIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And not just any movies either, gaudy, flashy, trashy titles, like CRY UNCLE (which tells the story of a very oversexed very overweight and repulsive crime detective) and REDNECK ZOMBIES (which showcases idiotic rednecks {one of which is a homosexual in daisy dukes who thinks he’s the chick from Beverly Hillbillies} mistaking a toxic waste barrel for a moonshine keg and making moonshine with it, transforming their entire redneck town into flesh hungry, postulating zombies) These movies wern’t artsy or fancy, they didn’t pretend to be better then you or even as good as you, they only aimed to do one thing ENTERTAIN! and god damn it they do the job!

For what they lacked in “quality” they make up for in heart, and if Troma has anything it’s heart! Big maggot infested radioactive heart (and tits of course) To an outsider Troma isĀ  now seen as trash, it’s hard for people to imagine that these movies were once at the top of the pinticle in any way but to the mom and pops and the people who loved them Troma was (and is) the bees knees (or the mutant’s tits whichever you prefer) Throughout the 80’s and 90’s Troma did the unthinkable for a low budget underground film company THEY FLURISHED!!!!!!! But just like anything else good and pure the evil corporate scoundrels got wind of all the fun and had to put a stop to it. First they created their own monoliths. Stores like BLOCKBUSTER and HOLLYWOOD VIDEO. BLOCKBUSTER, first banned troma from their shelves altogether and then followed suite with what HOLLYWOOD VIDEO was doing, releasing (and often illegally i might add) eviserated, castrated R-rated versions of Troma’s beautiful masterpieces of cinematic shluck.

Toxic Avenger and the 3 sequels that followed suffered the most, losing up to an hour of their play time! Terror Firmer and countless others suffered the same fate. Meanwhile films like Titanic which has an almost minute long scene focusing on a woman’s breasts and pubic region and playfully encourages adultery,(and still gets a PG13 rating!!!) and Pretty Woman which teaches young girls that the life of a prostitute is ok because one day a prince will come save them, go unmolested and uncut. They made these edits not to make the films more appropriate for general audiences (which in and of itself would be the move of fascists and censors, both of which are evil) but to destroy the plot lines making the films nonessential and less appealing to audiences.

The few copies of troma films these stores carried were completely buried by the mindless violence and nonsense bubblegum romances that dominate the hollywood spectrum. The purpose of these new huge corporations was clear, to snuff out and destroy the small businesses and in turn destroy the last of the independent film studios, and slowly but surely the plan worked. Mom and Pop video stores, one by one dropped like flies leaving behind empty store fronts and jobless Americans and the monoliths, having fulfilled their purpose also closed shop. Nowadays they’re all but gone. i mean sure we have netflix, youtube, alluc and countless other streaming sites but the quality is complete shit and the fun is gone the magic just isn’t there.

Troma, somehow, through magic or grace or maybe just love and dedication has chugged along and is still around today, but in comparison to what they once were. it is almost sad to look at. Not that good movies do not still come from them (Poultrygiest:night of the chicken dead was in my opinion their best since Toxic Avenger) they just don’t have the resources to get their movies out there the way they once did, instead relying mostly on the internet, word of mouth and the Tromadance film festival (free to enter your movie, free to go see everyone else’s movie. Proof that Troma still gives a shit) And now with the devastating news of an upcoming mega million dollar Hollywood-shitfest remake of the toxic avenger on it’s way, many of us Tromaites are very concerned that this may indeed be the last of Troma, these may be Toxie’s death rattles. So if it is the end, if this is truly the death of troma, then what would be left? Full Moon? Brain damage? the list is dwindling and to be honest not a single one shines a light to Troma’s awesomeness. But if this is the end then i want to say thank you Lloyd, thank you for sacrificing so much for us nerds, for dedicating every waking moment of your life to idiocy and madness for us, for being there for us and giving us a place to call home, our sweet, sweet Tromaville. LONG LIVE TROMAVILLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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