NEW YORK — The schlockmeisters at Troma Entertainment, the team behind cult classics like “The Toxic Avenger” and Shakesploitation romp “Tromeo and Juliet,” have just released over 150 movies from its back catalog on YouTube. You can stream them for free on Troma’s YouTube channel.
For hardcore cultists and exploitation geeks, it’s a treasure trove of hundreds of hours of gore and shoddy filmmaking. For the rest of us, there are still some buried treasures. Among titles like “Killer Condom” and “Horror of the Hungry Humongous Hungan,” you can also find gems like “Cannibal! The Musical,” the first feature from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and an early sign of their penchant for musical satire.
Of course, if you’re looking for quality, you’re missing the point. Since it was founded by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz in 1974, Troma has taken pride in pumping out campy low-budget pictures in the hundreds. Their gleefully tasteless flicks have influenced directors like Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth, James Gunn and Peter Jackson (moreso Jackson’s earlier movies), not to mention the folks at Syfy Original Movies. But not all of them end up as charming as “The Toxic Avenger.” (Instead of being so bad they’re good, many of them are just bad.)
So why is Troma unleashing all these movies now? In the brief (skippable) messages that play before the movies, Kaufman suggests that Troma has fallen on hard times, and is being systematically shut out by media conglomerates. Uploading these movies to YouTube then brings much-needed publicity to all their old films – not to mention upcoming projects. “Toxic Avenger,” for example, has gone from cult film to musical and now will get a glossed-up Hollywood remake. Rumors suggest that it may star John Travolta.