If you’re a fan of cult movies and B-movies from the late 70s to the present, then you’re probably familiar with the name Troma. For over 40 years, Troma Entertainment has been producing low-budget, outrageous, and often controversial films that have become cult classics. In this blog post, we’ll take a trip through time to explore the incredible history of Troma and its impact on the film industry.
Introduction to Troma
Troma Entertainment, founded in 1974 by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz, is an American independent film production and distribution company known for producing low-budget exploitation films. As the oldest continuously-running independent movie studio in the world, Troma has become a cult classic, especially among horror movie fans. Not only has Troma produced hundreds of films, but it has also released countless books, comics, and video games.
Early Years of Troma: From the 1970s to the 1980s
Troma’s early years were filled with outrageous, low-budget films that pushed the boundaries of taste and decency. In 1975, Kaufman and Herz released their first film, the horror comedy The Battle of Love’s Return, which was followed by their cult classic The Toxic Avenger in 1984. While these films didn’t necessarily receive critical acclaim, they garnered a cult following that has endured to this day.
The 1980s saw the release of some of Troma’s most memorable films, such as Class of Nuke ‘Em High (1986), Surf Nazis Must Die (1987), and Troma’s War (1988). These films were filled with over-the-top violence, sex, and gore, and were often seen as offensive by critics. Despite this, Troma movies were immensely popular among fans of B-movies and cult films.
The Golden Age of Troma: From the 1990s to the 2000s
The 1990s and 2000s were considered the golden age of Troma. During this period, the company released some of its most beloved films, such as Terror Firmer (1999), Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV (2000), and Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006). These films were filled with over-the-top violence, sex, and gore, but also featured a strong emphasis on social satire and dark comedy.
During this time, Troma also released a number of successful video games, such as The Toxic Crusaders (1992) and Tromaville Zombies (2006). These games further cemented Troma’s place in the annals of cult movie history.
The Modern Era of Troma: From the 2010s to the Present
The modern era of Troma has seen the company continuing to produce low-budget cult films that push the boundaries of taste and decency. In recent years, the company has released such films as Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 and Volume 2 (2013-2014), Father’s Day (2011), and Sharknado 5: Global Swarming (2017).
Troma has also released a number of successful video games, such as The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie (2016) and Toxie’s Toxic Tale (2018). These games further solidify Troma’s place in the annals of cult movie history.
The Most Iconic Troma Movies
Throughout its history, Troma has produced a number of iconic films that have become cult classics. Here are some of the most iconic Troma movies:
- The Toxic Avenger (1984): The film that started it all. The Toxic Avenger tells the story of Melvin, a nerdy janitor who is transformed into a monstrous superhero after being dumped into a vat of toxic waste.
- Class of Nuke ‘Em High (1986): This outrageous comedy follows a group of high school students who are exposed to toxic waste, resulting in them developing superpowers.
- Tromeo and Juliet (1996): This modern retelling of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy is set in the world of Troma and features an all-star cast, including Jane Jensen, Lemmy from Motörhead, and Debbie Rochon.
- Terror Firmer (1999): This outrageous comedy follows a film crew as they attempt to make a horror movie, only to find themselves in a real-life horror situation.
Troma’s Unforgettable Characters
Troma movies are known for their outrageous characters, and over the years, the company has produced some unforgettable ones. Here are some of the most iconic characters in Troma history:
- The Toxic Avenger (Melvin): He may be the most iconic Troma character of all time. The Toxic Avenger is a nerdy janitor who is mutated into a monstrous superhero after being dumped into a vat of toxic waste.
- Kabukiman NYPD (Harry Griswald): This outrageous character is a New York City police officer who is granted supernatural powers after being possessed by an ancient Japanese spirit.
- Toxie: The Toxic Avenger’s loyal sidekick, Toxie is a mutant creature who helps his master in his fight against evil.
- Tromeo Que: The star of Tromeo and Juliet, Tromeo is a young punk rocker who finds himself in a star-crossed love affair with Juliet Capulet.
- The Surf Nazis: This gang of surfers are the main antagonists of the 1987 cult classic Surf Nazis Must Die.
Troma’s Impact on the Film Industry
Troma has had an undeniable impact on the film industry, particularly when it comes to low-budget B-movies. With its outrageous and often controversial films, Troma has helped to redefine the boundaries of taste and decency.
In addition, Troma has also been a major influence on the horror genre. The company’s films often mix horror and comedy in ways that few other filmmakers have been able to do. Horror directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, and Eli Roth have all cited Troma as an influence on their work.
Troma’s Legacy and its Impact on Future Filmmakers
Troma’s legacy will live on for years to come. The company’s films have inspired generations of filmmakers to push the boundaries of taste and decency and to explore the possibilities of low-budget filmmaking. In addition, Troma’s influence on the horror genre has been undeniable, and its influence can be seen in the work of modern horror directors such as James Wan, Jordan Peele, and J.J. Abrams.
Troma has also had a major influence on the world of pop culture. Its characters and films have been referenced in such shows as South Park, The Simpsons, and Family Guy. In addition, Troma’s influence can be seen in the work of such popular musicians as GWAR, Rob Zombie, and Marilyn Manson.
Troma Entertainment has been producing outrageous, low-budget cult films for over 40 years, and its influence on the film industry is undeniable. From its early days in the late 70s to its modern era, Troma has pushed the boundaries of taste and decency and has had a major impact on the horror genre. Troma’s legacy will live on for years to come, and its influence can be seen in the work of modern filmmakers and pop culture icons. So, the next time you watch a low-budget cult film or listen to a song by GWAR or Rob Zombie, take a moment to appreciate the incredible history of Troma.