The Toxic Author

Troma Studios' Lloyd Kaufman imparts the secrets of his success in a new book

"After reading my book, I think people can conclude, 'If Lloyd Kaufman can start his own movie studio and, after 26 years, still be around directing movies, if a guy like that with no education, no money and no talent can do it, anyone can.'"

Kaufman, head honcho and director at New York's Troma Studios, creator of unforgettable B-movies like The Toxic Avenger, Surf Nazis Must Die and The Class of Nuke 'Em High, is being modest. The accomplished auteur of works that specialize in random gore, toplessness and sick humor has written a how-to book for those who would blaze their own maverick paths, All I Need to Know About Filmmaking I Learned from the Toxic Avenger.

The primer for independent filmmakers, Kaufman says, "talks about casting, it talks about the problems with getting people naked, it talks about violence, it talks about special effects, about how you can do a head-crushing scene for 39 cents using a simple everyday cantaloupe found around the house."

The handy volume, co-written with St. Louis author/director/actor James Gunn, also inspired a movie, the recently released Terror Firmer.

While America yearns impatiently for each new cinematic tidbit from Troma, networks in the Netherlands and England have both aired a series of made-for-TV sketches called Troma's Edge T.V. Will these ever be shown domestically? Kaufman says probably not. "We're like Jerry Lewis. We're like Mickey Rourke -- very popular in Europe, but here he is shit," he explains.

"We're blacklisted, basically, because we are not part of the cartel of international devil-worshiping conglomerates that control the movie theaters, the TV, the newspapers -- except for your newspaper, of course; your newspaper is a warm and loving newspaper fighting for the rights of independent artists like me."

Let us all heed the words of this insightful and spiritual man.