I grew up with Troma; back in the 80s and 90s, it was kind of hard not to.
I remember the first time I ever rented The Toxic Avenger at the local video store, and watching it with my friends later that night. Soon, I found that I had become obsessed Tromaville and all of its inhabitants. When I began my Troma internship at the age of 19, I witnessed first hand the insanity, dedication, and passion that goes into running one of the oldest independent film companies in the country. While there, I began to fall in love with another Troma classic, Terror Firmer. I had already seen the movie, but it wasn’t until I started working in the industry that I started to really appreciate it. The movie is about a Troma movie production, and portrays it in a satirical yet sincere fashion. Of course, once production begins, murders begin to occur on the set. Trent Haaga is the lead and portrays a Troma fanboy who’s always wanted to work in film. I really see myself in this character, so it should go without saying that I get absorbed into his performance. Will Keenan (Tromeo in Tromeo and Juliet) stars as the villain and gives a genuinely creepy performance, to the point where even hardened fans will cringe. Lloyd Kaufman steals the show as Larry Benjamin, the director. He’s also a blind and, as you may have guessed, this leads to plenty of hilarious scenes. Kaufman has to be one of the funniest people I have ever known, and while he definitely strives to be goofy in the film, he also comes off very sincere when the scene calls for it. You can tell he is passionate about what he does, but tries not to take it so seriously. Terror Firmer also has plenty of violence to appease a gore-hound like myself. Those scenes are mostly played for laughs though, and that also takes a lot of talent. Every time I watch this movie, I am reminded of my time there. I have to say that Terror Firmer is not only my favorite Troma movie, but one of my all time favorite films.
Troma gave me a foot in the door of the industry, and I will always be grateful for my experiences there. So, if you want to see a weird, fun film about a bunch of people trying to make a movie, Terror Firmer is currently available on DVD and for free on Troma’s YouTube channel.