When Lloyd Kaufman invites you to Troma Studios to conduct an interview, you go to Troma Studios to conduct an interview. What I expected was more of the same – walking in, waiting patiently, rocking through a short one on one session, and going about my merry way. Another day, another dollar.
What I got was more than I ever could have asked for from the fabled company, as I was first greeted with a complimentary tour around the building, showing off props and old film reels from some of Troma’s very first productions – a bit of Z-movie history if you will. Then, as I was waiting, Lloyd was kind enough to let me watch how the magic happens, granting me access to the editing room while Return To Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 2 was being worked on. Finally, my interview with Lloyd ran a rich 40 minutes, mano y legendary filmmaker, never once rushing me out the door – even though he was leaving for Singapore the very next day. While it was an experience of a lifetime for a die-hard horror/schlock fan, do you know how long it takes to transcribe 40 straight minutes of interview? Neither do I, but I do know it takes about 3/4ths a bottle of whiskey (it’s like my version of a sundial).
While we talked about a bevy of topics, I was really visiting Troma so Lloyd could promote his new film Return To Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 1, which I caught at this year’s New York City Horror Film Festival. If you’re a Troma fan, you’re going to love Lloyd’s return back to Tromaville High, which you can read about in my review, with the only downside being you’ll have to wait for Return To Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 2. While patience is a virtue, I’m one antsy film fan and I’m not sure if I can wait until next Fall for some more gratuitous nudity, toxic ducks, and giant phallic prop-work like only Troma can imagine!
Anyways, without wasting any more of your time, let’s get to the actual interview. Enjoy my conversation with the one and only Lloyd Kaufman as we discuss Return To Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, the status of another Troma produced Toxic Avenger movie, a big update on Steve Pink’s remake of The Toxic Avenger, and some serious chatter about the current state of low-budget and mainstream filmmaking. When Lloyd talks, you listen – and boy was it an honor to listen this long.
WGTC: At this year’s New York City Horror Film Festival, you won the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award, and rightfully so. What does such an award mean for you at this stage, and what does an award like this mean to Troma as a studio as well?
Lloyd Kaufman: Everybody wants to be validated, everyone wants to be appreciated. Personally for me, what’s really nice is that Joshua Turi, who made that award, I worked with him how many years ago – 1990? 1989? It was nice that he respected Troma enough to put hours of work in, that’s the real award. The fact that here’s someone we’ve known for twenty five years – how many people would spend all that time making an award for Leonardo DiCaprio? That meant a lot to me, but we’re not here to win awards – we’re here to make movies. We make movies so our fans can appreciate the movies.
WGTC: Did you ever think you’d be receiving awards for the types of films you make?
Lloyd Kaufman: I think they’re great! I think in a fair world they’re better than most of the stuff that’s in the mainstream, but of course that’s my personal opinion. I really don’t have any interest in awards. I have interest in the people seeing my movies, and doing something that’s meaningful to both our fans and me.
WGTC: Your newest film, Return To Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 1, is a sequel to one of your most classic Troma films (which has seen earlier sequels as well). How long have you wanted to return to Nuke ‘Em High for another Tomaville story?
Lloyd Kaufman: Well, there are lots of remakes these days as I’m sure you know. The Toxic Avenger is being remade by Akiva Goldsman, this Oscar winning writer, and Brett Ratner’s company remade Mother’s Day, and somebody wants to remake Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead. There are people who grew up with our movies who are now bigshots in the industry. One of the guys at Starz, who I guess is the boss, he suggested we remake Class Of Nuke ‘Em High, so it wasn’t really my idea, it was the guy at Starz, but since it gave us total freedom, we decided to do it.