Lloyd Kaufman, co-founder of 41-year-old Troma Entertainment, directed many of their feature films, including The Toxic Avenger, The Class of Nuke ‘Em High, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, Tromeo & Juliet and Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. Kaufman has written six books and presented his “Make Your Own Damn Movie” masterclasses globally. His latest film, Return to Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 1, produced in association with Starz, premiered in 2014 and screened in The Contenders series at MoMA. He is currently working on Return to Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 2 and The Toxic Avenger Part V.
A Generational Dispute Erupts Between Troma President Lloyd Kaufman and Troma Student Enterprise Observer Jaime Meyers Due to Bobcat Goldthwait’s Willow Creek
In 2013, Bobcat Goldthwait (God Bless America, World’s Greatest Dad) took a stab at genre filmmaking with Willow Creek, his found-footage film – about a found-footage film. The movie follows Jim and his skeptical yet willing girlfriend Kelly in pursuit of the legendary Bigfoot. Armed with a camera and –
Jaime: Lloyd, this is a good place to start, but I think anyone already reading this review can just IMDb the synopsis of this film. Or, you know, if you’ve heard of Blair Witch, just sprinkle in a little Sasquatch and you get the gist.
Lloyd: Blair Witch? This film does much more than that! Goldthwait has a history of capturing character development; each recording session unfolding layer upon layer of our heroes’ relationship dynamic, building up a bulletproof sense of empathy within the audience.
Jaime: You mean the first 40 minutes of cliché, dialogue-heavy film just to set up a “little did they know…” moment? Oh, brother. I thought it’d never end! It’s essentially your basic formula for a found-footage setup – we meet our cute, unassuming couple. After nearly an hour of simplistic and mediocre jabbering, we finally get to the good stuff: the stinging suspicion that maybe these yokels don’t dig these city slickers snooping around in their town history. Cue the harbinger.
Lloyd: You know, you young people have no sense of patience. You want it fast, and you want it big. And you don’t care about quality; you want it as many times as you can take it. You want it messy and cheap and found waiting for you on Tonnelle Avenue smoking a lipstick and cum-stained Pall Mall with a –
Jaime: Willow Creek, Lloyd! We were talking about uhh… the scene in the tent – that amazing 20-minute shot. (Jesus, your senility’s starting to set in… what’s to become of Troma?)
Lloyd: Ah, yes! The epitome of the astounding importance of the theatre experience – sitting in a dark room staring at Jim and Kelly’s reaction for 20 minutes will put any audience member directly in the tent with them, teeth clenched and knuckles white. Brilliant and daring filmmaking!
Jaime: That I can get behind.
Lloyd: Twenty minutes of just two people in a tent – one shot? Bobcat, here, is on par with Hitchcock. Have you ever seen Rope, Miley Cyrus?
Jaime: I have seen it, pothead, three times – as well as Preminger’s famous long-running Cinemascope “two-shots” in Bonjour Tristesse.
Lloyd: The viewer is constantly teased by silence for just enough time to retain a normal pulse and let their guard down, only to crescendo even more the next time. Goldthwait provides us with an edge-of-your-seat experience utilizing the barest of resources, and I tell you it did not feel a second too long.
Jaime: Your prose is almost poetic when the Iron Maiden LSD flashbacks aren’t hitting you. You kind of make sense! I will say, though, sometimes it was hard to tell if Bryce Johnson’s acting was intentionally bad for “realism” purposes or if he truly can’t act. I grew up watching Popular and he really hasn’t progressed since, it seems…
Lloyd: Bryce Johnson?
Jaime: Uh… yeah. The guy who played Jim.
Lloyd: What’re you talking about? No one “played” anyone! I found this film in the documentary section at Best Buy. It is REAL!
Jaime: Okay, wait. So you’re telling me after watching this film you genuinely bought into its content? You know, the whole Bigfoot thing and all?
Lloyd: Bought in? I wasn’t sold on anything, Jaime. Bigfoot is real. I know Bigfoot personally!
Jaime: Where on earth is this going…?
Lloyd: Back in my Yale days, we used to hang out in the woods together. Big, hairy fella – just like in the Patterson-Gimlin footage! He was a real ace at botany too, that’s for sure. He always knew what mushrooms were safe to eat, and what plants were the best to smoke… Little-known fact, that guy knew the lyrics to every Grateful Dead song, it was truly remarkable! It got a little weird the last few times we were together, though… I’ll just say what they tell you about guys who have big feet holds true with Sasquatch as well…
Jaime: Jesus Christ, Lloyd. We can’t submit a review to the Talkhouse like this. Also I don’t know who the hell you were hanging out with, but it definitely was not Bigfoot. … George Michael maybe, but not Bigfoot! I’m kind of concerned actually… Anyways, if this so-called documentary is real, how do you explain the GAPING plot hole where there is no resolution whatsoever to the recovery of the footage?
Lloyd: What! Why am I taking this naysaying from a lowly Troma Enterprise Observer anyways? Shouldn’t you be massaging Toxie’s feet right now? Those bunions aren’t going to work themselves out, ya know… or are you gonna claim The Toxic Avenger is also made up?
Jaime: Sigh… yes, sir. I’ll get right on that.