If there’s any company whose love of gory makeup and unique props could possibly rival ours, it’s Troma Entertainment. Established in 1974, the indie film company rose to prominence through the most gory, graphic, violent, sexy, and surreal means possible. Troma’s repertoire of low budget, highly exploitative horror-comedy films made them nearly synonymous with the genre itself… so obviously, we’re big fans. Who doesn’t love the Toxic Avenger classic? You can even buy an official Toxic Avenger Mask right here.
After a member of Troma’s team came into Abracadabra looking for props, we were graciously invited to get a look inside their headquarters, otherwise known as Tromaville…
We pull up to a little building in Queens, which is mostly nondescript apart from Troma’s unmistakable presence. A promo for their TromaDance film festival is being shot with one of the actresses as we step inside; we’re careful not to interrupt. Although, it’s hard to contain our giddiness at the eclectic scenery of the inner workings. A smorgasbord of unframed movie posters, Troma flyers, and tongue-in-cheek signage decorates the walls, along with Troma’s Rules of Production:
- Safety to humans
- Safety to property
- Make a good movie!
It’s sage advice.
Behind The Screams
Guided by Lloyd Kaufman’s assistant, Garrett Sullivan, our team travels to the archives. It’s a vast array of lighting equipment, set scenery, and custom props unlike anything we’ve seen, which is obviously saying something. We peer behind a green screen to find a wall of boxes, filled with final cuts of just about the entire Troma catalog. A large phallic chicken monster sits atop the prop pile, and our manager gleefully exclaims the exact thing you’re thinking- “Is that a cock?”
There’s no shortage of disturbing creations to see, as made evident by a butt-faced pig sculpture proudly displayed in the stairwell. Even in this atypical office setting, certain items stick out prominently from the rest of the memorabilia. Passing a cluttered shelf, our eyes go right to the furry little figure perched on top of it. It’s like a Monchhichi doll, but the face and body is a 3:1 scale human vagina.
Eventually we are led to another room, where a collection of disfigured aquatic creatures and mutilated human heads sits front and center. There are also a few board games and greeting cards strewn about. “This one is from Cuck Island”, Garrett says of the gruesome prop in front of us. It’s a pale corpse with a sickly yellow puddle of guts and goop in lieu of a torso. Visceral, and pretty awesome.
At one point, Lloyd Kaufman kindly invites us into his office, which is also covered with various posters and props. He autographs our Toxic Avenger mask, and hands us a copy of Poultrygeist on Blu-Ray. It provides much needed context for the veiny rooster-penis-thing from earlier.
Movies Of The Future
The crew at Troma couldn’t have given us a warmer welcome, but what really floored us was seeing how they operated as a team. These folks weren’t just friendly towards us, they were just friendly– they clearly enjoyed what they were doing, and who they were doing it with. It may not sound all that surprising, but the camaraderie and creative freedom we have here at Abracadabra really is a rare and beautiful thing that you don’t see every day, and we saw it.
Their ethos of authenticity and ingenuity is palpable. There’s nothing precious or pretentious about what Troma strives for. They love the process, the end result, and they don’t care if it’s too graphic for the masses. What do they care about? Safety to humans, safety to property… making a good movie.