LLOYD KAUFMAN: AMERICAN AUTEUR

There are so many filmmakers who credit you as their inspiration or their beginnings when you ask them, like Eli Roth (Cabin Fever) for instance, or Chris Seaver (Low Budget Pictures). How cool is that?
Or Trey Parker and Matt Stone…Quentin Tarantino, he talks about Troma now, so does Michael Moore. They all want us to survive. And it’s very had to stay in business because of the thoroughly integrated international conglomerates.

The way that Troma works, you guys do low budget, you guys have always been low budget. Do you at all have an interest in making higher-budgeted films?
NO! (Hates the idea)

Is that because of the amount of control you have over the projects, and you don’t have to take orders from people who maybe have no idea what they’re talking about?
There are 353 Million people starving to death on this planet. Spending 150 Million dollars on a movie: that’s an obscenity. They think our movies are obscene! What’s Obscene is spending 100 Million dollars of the Earth’s resources to make shit with Jean-Claude Van Damme in it! So that’s the point. If we had 100 Million bucks we would give out 98 Million dollars to 98 other filmmakers so they could make their movies, and I would make two movies at 1 Million apiece, or at 500,000 dollars apiece. You’d have a shitload better quality movies than you have now.

You make a lot of cameos, like in The Janitor
Yeah, “The Janitor” is some of my finest work.

That was a great movie. And you’re in Chris Seaver’s films, too. I’m a big Chris Seaver fan.
Chris Seaver; he’s the real item. He’s got something to say.

His movies, if it’s possible, may be the most disgusting films I’ve ever seen (in a good way).
He’s got a point of view. There are so many people making digital films and they have nothing to say. This is actually got a message. He’s got a point of view. He’s the real item; I think he’s going to go places. I wanted to act in his movies. And I will continue to do so. You know, I don’t charge. I do it for free. I pay my own transportation.

What do you have to say about Troma’s bad reputation for tasteless, artless films??
Troma owns one thousand movies, and I’ve only been involved in about 100 of them. Of those I’ve only directed 20 some odd, and the majority of the ones I directed I co-directed with my partner of 30 years. So, the movies I’ve written and directed, those are products of my soul and I believe in them and stand by them. The other movies. Those guys are talented, I mean, that director is really talented. I think Troma looks for movies people believe in. Look at Pericles Lewnes. He believes in what he’s doing. “Redneck Zombies”, he worked with us for three years. He learned a lot. I don’t think its disgusting at all, I think its great stuff. “Bloodsucking Freaks” and “Abbot and Costello in Africa Screams” are the two most disgusting movies we have.

What’s your favorite Troma film?
“Troma’s War”! It’s much neglected. It’s a really good movie. For some reason people haven’t discovered it. Made in 1986. First movie that shoved AIDS right in your face.

How do you feel about Debbie Rochon?
Debbie Rochon has got her own career. She has got about 50 movies under her belt. I’d say maybe two or three of her best performances have been for Troma. I saw her in a movie called Nowhere Man. She is really a talented actress. She likes being with the independent world. She is as good or better than most of the Hollywood people.

How does the rest of the film world see Troma? And do you feel taken seriously?
You know, I think people like Quentin Tarantino, Takashi Miike…Miike wrote two huge articles in Tokyo about “The Toxic Avenger”, about Citizen Toxie, saying that I am one of the few American auteur directors. So, I mean, the people who count, Kevin Smith, Michael Moore… they’re very complimentary about Troma. John Landis. He searched us out and found us. But the people running the system hate us. Billy Bob Thornton, at Cannes, sent us over a signed poster.

What’s cpming up next, Lloyd”
We put out 8 movies a month, rereleases on DVD. We’ve got “Parst of the Family”, “Tales from the Crapper”, I am working on a zombie fast food chicken movie called “Poultrygeist”. Inspired by Happiness of the Katakuris by Takashi Miike. There is going to be singing in the film.

And what about the fans?
There would be no Troma without our fans. WE made the film “Cannes” with a handheld, and it’s all about the 40 people who volunteered and flew down and came out to help promote us and keep us alive.

Lloyd gave me a copy of “All the Love you Cannes!” He said, “You’ve gotta watch this. Promise me you’ll watch this. Cause its expensive…”




Posted on August 10, 2004 in Interviews by

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