Give independent film back to the people!
Just what is TromaDance? It's a film festival run by writer/director/actor/Troma honcho Lloyd Kaufman (The Toxic Avenger, Terror Firmer), a man whose sole purpose is to bring independent film back to its true audience: the people! Kaufman thinks that movies and art don't belong to corporations (i.e., the big wig film studios) but to the general public (his thinking is flawed, but noble). At TromaDance, Kaufman believes that submission of the films and tickets should be free, unlike other film festivals (Sundance, Cannes, et cetera) who charge to both submit a film and watch it. In TromaDance Film Festival: Volume 1, fans get a collection of various short films made from the sweat, blood, and tears (and other body fluids) of filmmakers who want nothing more than to have their films seen. Included on this disc are over three hours of short films, including:
What can be said about short films distributed by Troma? Plenty! As expected, each of these shorts feature deranged characters, weird stories, and gross, cheaply rendered special effects. What I didn't expect to find was a batch of movies that both made me think about my place in humanity and what we're all really here on earth to do in this short life God has given us. NOT! Hey, how much meaning can you find in movies about guys with giant mutant zits on the faces ("Zitlover") and dinner parties ("Family Dinner Party") that go horribly awry? These are just a few of the strange tales to be found on TromaDance Film Festival: Volume 1, a collection of films by brave souls who have absolutely no taste. Of the nine included flicks the best is "Please Kill Mr. Kinski," an hysterical documentary (of sorts) by director David Schmoeller chronicling his horrible experiences working with the difficult German actor Klaus Kinski on the 1986 horror film Crawlspace (as the title says, Schmoeller really did want to kill Kinski day after day). Watching Kinski's explosive reactions and Schmoeller's frustrations make for some of the best reality TV that isn't even on television. Other films of note include the disgusting "Zitlover," the story of one boy's obsession with feeding his zits (and the grossest movie on the disc), a spoof of a certain children's TV show that will remain nameless ("H.R. Pukenshite") featuring a puppet made of gooey vomit, and the bizarre "Family Dinner Party," which includes a dinner host going deliriously batty when his guests arrive. And for wrestling fans there's a special treat in "Deadbeats" as superstar Mick Foley plays a bill collector who is dressed for success (though that horrible spinach chin goatee needs to go). Though there are a few duds among this group (including the silly "Harry Kunckles"), overall this isn't a bad way to spend a night at the movies. And boy, it sure says something when most of these little cheapies are better than half of the stuff coming out of Hollywood today.
Each of these short films are presented in 1.33:1 full frame. The quality…not so good. Then again, these are cheaply made movies from all walks of life, so a certain amount of shoddiness is to be expected. There is grain, dirt, video compression and other instances of imperfection in each of the transfers. However, what these films lack in sharpness they make up for in…umm, poop and vomit gags. The soundtracks are all presented in Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, or at least that's what my guess is (no mention is made on the package). The sound is what you'd expect—not very good. Some films sound better than others, though generally they're all fairly lackluster. Then again, it's independent film from Troma, the makers of T&A gore movies—it's supposed to be lackluster! No alternate soundtracks or subtitles have been included on this disc.
The extra features are fairly light considering this is a Troma disc (they're usually overflowing with crap). This time around fans get a snippet from the Edge TV show ("Superstars of TromaDance"), a list of the film festival's sponsors (blah), a few coming distractions (trailers), and a short bit of info about TromaDance itself. All of these features are presented in full frame and are, fittingly, expertly tacky.
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