How we sold a film, acted in Return to Nuke’ Em High Volume 2 and were featured in a Sci-Fi Channel pilot in the span of an hour and a half.
Lloyd stands surrounded by various people from crossdressers to bombshells to punk rockers. Many folks don’t know Lloyd Kaufman is a genius…an actually genius. No, I mean his IQ is genius level. I happen to think he is a creative genius as well, perhaps more on the level of Sam Raimi then Stanley Kubrick but still that’s pretty amazing. Lloyd’s daughter calls out directions from behind the camera no doubt raised in the filmmaking family. She knows her stuff. A sort of B-movie version of the Coppola family no doubt. Keep in mind Troma Studios is the longest running Independent American Film Studio in history. This doesn’t mean that much to some but for me, staying independent for this long and keeping your doors open is a miracle. And I wanted to be a part of that in anyway possible and offer my film up to the Troma Gods that helped define my childhood.
Ken Powell and I arrive to Troma Studios to drop off VHS Massacre, our documentary about the cult film and the decline of physical media. This is my 9th feature film and I’ve sold films to places like Maverick Entertainment, York, MVD, SRS and other distribution companies. The bottom line is that I love Troma, I watched the Toxic Avenger when I was a kid then made my first Super 8 film, entitled The Nuclear Warrior, I think I was twelve. The Toxic Avenger was a film that was, as a friend said recently, “Way better than it needed to be.” A story a teenager that becomes super powerful, but becomes a monster in the process. Stan Lee even compared the plight of “Toxie” to Spiderman. He still had practical problems, all of the while fighting the corruption and pollution that created him in the first place.
I’m feeling like hell getting over this fever, sinus, cough, thing that seemed to be going around. We walk right into Troma Studios. We sit down for a minute and then wander into the office area. Josafat is this cool bearded guy with a cool accent that makes him sound a bit like Guillermo Del Toro. We start going over the contract and then John, a super nice, gigantic, red bearded Troma employee asks us if we want to be in a scene from Return to Nuke’ Em High Volume 2. To which we reply “Um yes, hell yeah.”
As we walk over to where they are set up, a small corner in an office area, Lloyd jokes, “I though they were supposed to be high school students. These guys look 80!” We of course laughed but then put on blazers as to look like teachers. “Oh that’s great he says, perfect.” We were told our part consists of running around in chaos screaming as a large creature with huge teeth attack a few high school students.
We do a few takes, Lloyd jokes that “there’s too many 40 years olds in the shot.” Which is pretty accurate I’m about to turn 39. But It felt great! Yes I’m essential an extra playing a frantic teacher running in circles, not all that different from my real life. It was the best! Someone asked me “Is this your first Lloyd Kaufman film?” I thought to myself well Lloyd had been in three of my films Monster, Kill, Bikini Bloodbath 3 and VHS Massacre but then I realized. Holy crap, “No, I’VE never been in a film Directed by Lloyd! This is Awesome!”
Then this happened
We had been told they were shooting some documentary footage but Ken and I had no idea that the Sci-fi Channel was working on a pilot. So in between takes we’d talk to Lloyd about our contract and ended up signing on camera. “I hope you guys don’t want to make any money!” Lloyd kids. To which I reply “That’s why we came to Troma!”. In hindsight my response didn’t really make much sense. I was always a terrible improv guy.
We were just happy to be a part of Troma with giants like James Gun, Matt Stone Trey Park Eli Roth and dozens of others. I thanked Lloyd for letting me be a part of this. He said “Of course!” because in a single night in the span of a few hours, I sold a film, acted in a soon-to-be great film and was part of a Sci-fi channel Pilot. This really was a great night and I give thanks to Lloyd and the Troma gang one and all!
About VHS Massacre!
In 2012 Co-director Ken Powell and I started on an adventure of sorts. We wanted to make a documentary on the decline of physical media. I was gearing up to release my 8th feature film Mark of the Beast that I made with my friend Jon Gorman. We started out by exploring the remaining video stores around New York. Video Express, Kim’s Video and the last remaining Blockbuster Videos stores. Over the course of those two years they all went under but then we discovered there is a vibrant community of people who worship the physical format from Super 8 to VHS to Bluray, including folks from the Found Footage Film Festival, Josh Schafer creator of Lunch Meat Magazine or the guys at Vultra Video still creating new VHS film releases. What we though may have been a documentary that was a bit of a downer, turned into a wonderful realization that even if something falls out of the mainstream, the fans that remain are the most passionate.