Friday October 29, 1999
"Terror Firmer" marks the 25th anniversary of New York-based Troma Films, famed for its amusing and gory low-budget schlock. For the occasion, Troma has pulled out all the stops, which means there's more entrails, more bare bosoms, more R-rated sex, more flatulence, more mayhem, more brutality and more violence. But it adds up to less and less. After a quarter of a century, the tried and true Troma formula is beginning to wear thin.
Of course all this action is patently fake, but the gross and the savage and the imbecilic aren't as funny as they used to be in Troma productions. The premise of "Terror Firmer," loaded with insider references and self-congratulatory in tone, is so slight that the constant recourse to the above-listed ingredients reveals the film's underlying severe lack of imagination. Troma partner (with Michael Herz) Lloyd Kaufman casts himself as the blind director of a typical Troma outing, featuring a crazed glamour-girl psychiatrist (Debbie Rochon) who wants to slay perennial Troma hero, the Toxic Avenger. But there's a serial killer at loose on the set, which Kaufman's Larry Benjamin won't shut down because he doesn't have a completion bond. The show must go on no matter how high the corpses pile up.
Meanwhile, production assistant Jennifer (Alyce LaTourelle) is drawn to sexy sound man Casey (Will Keenan), and special effects/makeup guy Jerry (Trent Haaga) is attracted to her. Roy David plays Jeff, the actor playing Toxie, and porn veteran Ron Jeremy turns up late in the action. As the director on both sides of the camera, Kaufman does keep "Terror Firmer's" pace up to the fast and furious Troma standard. Kaufman and some of his actors will appear at all shows today at both the Grande 4-Plex and the Sunset 5.
Terror Firmer, 1999. Unrated. A Troma Team release of a Lloyd Kaufman & Michael Herz production in association with Santa Monica Holdings. Director Lloyd Kaufman. Executive producers Kenneth B. Squire, Charles Berry Hill, David Berry Hill. Screenplay by Douglas Buck, Patrick Cassidy and Kaufman; inspired by the book "All I Need to Know About Filmmaking I Learned From the Toxic Avenger" by Kaufman with James Gunn. Cinematographer Brendan Flynt. Editor Gabriel Friedman. Music Nobuhiko Morino, NAPALM FILMS. Costumes Stephenie Imhoff. Production designer Jean Loscalzo. Creature effects Tim Considine. Art director Jim Donahue. Set decorator Rona De Angelo. Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes. Will Keenan as Casey. Alyce LaTourelle as Jennifer. Lloyd Kaufman as Larry Benjamin. Trent Haaga as Jerry.