Peacemaker and Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn got his start in the entertainment industry 25 years ago, working for Lloyd Kaufman at Troma Entertainment, the independent production and distribution company responsible for such cult classics as Kaufman’s The Toxic Avenger, and Trey Parker’s Cannibal! The Musical.
On Monday, Gunn celebrated the 25th anniversary of his first film credit, Tromeo & Juliet, a transgressive modern day adaptation of Romeo and Juliet (‘Tromeo,’ after Troma Entertainment, get it?)
James Gunn tweeted, “Happy 25th Anniversary to my first film, Tromeo & Juliet. If you want to see my 1st depiction of a monstrous cow, look no further.”
The film is a very loose adaption of the Shakespeare classic, with extreme B-movie-esque violence, grotesque sex scenes, and narration by the late, lamented Lemmy, singer of Motörhead fame. Despite the grossout nature of the film, Tromeo and Juliet garnered some critical praise; Stephen Holden of The New York Times said of the film, “although many times more explicit than what Hollywood is permitted to show, there is something goofily exhilarating in the spectacle of all the staple images of teen-age sex and slasher movies transformed into farce.”
Kaufman and Gunn have maintained a friendship after all these years, even as Gunn became a household name in the film industry.
The film served as the perfect introduction to Gunn’s career, as he would go on to write Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead, and make his directorial debut with another cult classic, Slither, before landing Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. If you’re in the mood for a fun B-movie romp, you can rent Tromeo and Juliet on Amazon, Apple TV, Youtube, or the Google Play store.