Our Ten Best- Episode Four: Ode To Troma: A Top Ten List of the Best Troma Films
One company has been able to thrive in the savage waters of the independent movie scene for nearly 40 years now…
With unconventional storytelling and weird creatures galore, they have managed to create a huge following of dedicated and loyal fans.
Here are the Ten Best Troma Films in their colorful history.
1- “Sgt Kabukiman N.Y.P.D” (1991): New York Officer, Harry Griswold (Rick Gianasi, “Bad Girls Dormitory”) is turning Japanese, (literally). The movie is so politically incorrect, that Griswold’s weapons include Fatal sushi and lethal chopsticks. The focal point of the feature and most of the comedy comes from watching Griswold learn to use his new superhero powers and save the world. The feature also is the easiest introduction to Troma because of its lack of gory dismemberment. It is however still a Troma flick so it is filled with cheesy humor and that is all you need for the authentic B-movie experience.
2- “Def by Temptation” (1990): This was the first all black horror film that was not from the exploitation genre. Up until this film, black horror movies conjured up images of “Blackenstein” or “Blacula.” On top of that historical point, the film also has the amazing cinematography of Ernest Dickerson (“Malcolm X”). He left the film towards the end when he received a call from Spike Lee to start the photography for “Do the Right Thing.”
The ’80s-esque trailer from Troma would lead you to believe it was another throwaway horror flick, especially when it bills Kadeem Hardison as TV’s Dwayne Wayne. But, director and star, James Bond III managed to successfully blend horror with characters you actually care about, a feat not often accomplished in low budget horror films.
The supporting cast includes the hysterical Bill Nunn, (“Do the Right Thing”) Samuel L. Jackson (“Pulp Fiction”) and recording stars, Melba Moore and Freddie Jackson.
3- “The Toxic Avenger” (1984): This is the movie that put Troma on the map. Melvin the mop boy is extremely nerdy and that causes the jerks at the gym to ridicule him. He falls into a vat of Toxic waste and is soon after transformed into a superhuman creature. (Naturally) Those powers go to good use as Melvin finds love and saves Tromaville.
The feature is more of a horror film then the later sequels. But, a majority of the film’s humor comes from an extreme darkness. The film’s villains enjoy running down kids in their car and then backing up to squish their heads. Truly great and daring fun.
4- “Combat Shock” (1986): This is a nihilistic, ugly, uncompromising, bleak and brilliant experience. A Vietnam Vet with a mutant baby tries to find work on the slime ridden streets. Budget constraints should be ignored in favor of the storytelling.
5- “Tromeo and Juliet” (1996): Oddly, this is a pretty strong interpretation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Of course it is filled with Troma touches of kinky sex, gore, a penis monster and Lemmy from Motorhead.
6- “Squeeze Play” (1979): A Pre-Toxie hit for Troma, this helped pay for one of their offices. It is a light soft core comedy about a female team of softball players. The film is pure goofy fun based on sex related jokes. It also makes a valid statement on the sexism of that era.
7- “Class of Nuke’ Em High” (1986): Tromaville High has a small problem with radiation. Chrissy and Warren are the good students that try radioactive weed, due to peer pressure at a party. The results lead to some far out effects and kooky storytelling, as they try and fight the evil cretins that run Tromaville.
8- “The First Turn-On” (1983): This early Troma flick is the tale of a group of campers and their female counselor that get trapped in a cave. They decide to pass the time by exchanging stories of their first sexual encounters. The film bounces from slapstick to musical segments with no notice but that is the film’s appeal. It never allows you to know what will happen next.
9- “The Story of a Junkie” (1987): This is an interesting change of pace for Troma. This is an extremely well-done documentary on the street life of a junkie. The film is real and the director was on the streets with these people. The main focus is Gringo and we follow him from one roach infested crackhouse to another. Powerful film making.
10- “The Toxic Avenger Part 2″ (1989): This film is a drastic change from the original and becomes more of a slapstick comedy. Toxie travels all the way to Japan to find his father. The film is a stockpile of jokes, some better than others. Nevertheless, a Tromatastic time is had.