In 1985, a Herculean tale of a janitor of unimpressive stature being transformed into a hideous yet brawny mutant by a vat of toxic waste and then turning vigilante was unleashed in theaters. The Toxic Avenger, directed by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz, established Troma Entertainment, the studio it was published by, as a reliable source of camp, splatter, comedy, and more splatter.
Image via We Are Movie Geeks
This September, Dynamite Entertainment released The Art of Troma, a showcase of the studio’s work. The Art of Troma tells the history of the studio accompanied by photos of behind-the-scenes moments, film posters, reference photos for original Troma art, and more.
Troma was founded by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz in 1974. These two are responsible for the studio’s legacy of unabashedly shocking movies, which have propelled Troma into becoming the world’s longest running independent film studio. While the studio was founded in 1974, it takes inspiration from the great B-movies of the 1950s. With Troma, Kaufman and Herz have established a safe haven for films targeted by censorship. They have openly defied MPAA restrictions, and challenged the ratings system that demands “objectionable” material be cut from movies by distributing all their films with their original content untouched. To honor their rejection of censorship, the company adopted the slogan, “40 years of Disrupting Media” in 2014.
Every Troma film has garnered some sort of reaction, but the crown jewel of their oeuvre is the Toxic Avenger franchise, which has been spun into several sequels, an animated series, a musical, and a remake of the original movie, which is currently in development.
Image via Love Interest Wiki
After forty-four years in filmmaking, The Art of Troma will finally recognize the achievements of the studio and demonstrate the visual character of their work. The images included in the book are rendered beautifully, almost ironically so, given that many/most of these images display some sort of dismemberment or other gruesome scene.
Images via Dynamite
The Art of Troma is currently available in stores, and Bookstr is also holding a giveawaycontest which will give five lucky fans a copy of the deluxe edition of The Art of Troma.
Check out more about Troma and The Art of Troma in our Facebook Live interview with Lloyd Kaufman below!
Featured Image Via Indiewire, Wikipedia, and PREVIEWSworld.
This weekend shook up movie goers with two highly anticipated hits: Venom and A Star Is Born. Although Venom raked in plenty of dough at the box office, it was A Star Is Born that stole the show with its beautiful and heart-wrenching story.
The film is the fourth remake so many questioned what it could really bring to the table, but fans have been left stunned. The romantic musical hit has an essence all its own. The story follows a once successful singer who stumbles across a struggling songstress. What happens next is a whirlwind journey through the beauty and hardships of love and life. If you’ve seen it, then I’m sure you could still get emotional at the passing mention of it. It was that powerful. However, if you want to stick with the book realm and get into your feelings, here are four reads if you loved A Star Is Born.
They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
At thirty-six, Hope McKenna-Smith is no stranger to bad news. She lost her mother to cancer, her husband left her for a twenty-two year old, and her bank account is nearly depleted. Her own dreams of becoming a lawyer long gone, she’s running a failing family bakery on Cape Cod and raising a troubled preteen.
Now, Hope’s beloved French-born grandmother Mamie, who wowed the Cape with her fabulous pastries for more than fifty years, is drifting away into a haze of Alzheimer’s. But in a rare moment of clarity, Mamie realizes that unless she tells Hope about the past, the secrets she has held on to for so many years will soon be lost forever. Tantalizingly, she reveals mysterious snippets of a tragic history in Paris. And then, arming her with a scrawled list of names, she sends Hope to France to uncover a seventy-year-old mystery.
Hope’s emotional journey takes her through the bakeries of Paris and three religious traditions, all guided by Mamie’s fairy tales and the sweet tastes of home. As Hope pieces together her family’s history, she finds horrific Holocaust stories mixed with powerful testimonies of her family’s will to survive in a world gone mad. And to reunite two lovers torn apart by terror, all she’ll need is a dash of courage, and the belief that God exists everywhere, even in cake…
In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family. Now a major motion picture starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Mia’s story will stay with you for a long, long time.
Sydney’s handsome, charismatic older brother, Peyton, has always dominated the family, demanding and receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention. And when Peyton’s involvement in a drunk driving episode sends him to jail, Sydney feels increasingly rootless and invisible, worried that her parents are unconcerned about the real victim: the boy Peyton hit and seriously injured. Meanwhile, Sydney becomes friends with the Chathams, a warm, close-knit, eccentric family, and their friendship helps her understand that she is not responsible for Peyton’s mistakes. Once again, the hugely popular Sarah Dessen tells an engrossing story of a girl discovering friendship, love, and herself.
It always seems that some of the best books are released at the end of summer and beginning of fall. I love having something to look forward to, but sometimes a lot of options can stress me out. Hopefully some of y’all agree, so I’ve decided to narrow it down to a select few.
This August and September there are quite a few books being adapted into movies and TV shows. Here are the ones you ought to read first before watching them on the screen. You are welcome bookworm.
The last time I saw this classic Tom Clancy adaptation, it starred Sean Connery in the Hunt for Red October. Now we need to refresh a little because John Krasinski is coming back as Jack Ryan for a new Amazon Prime series coming out August 31st. Begin the series over again with the first book!
This magical and mystical tale of a boy discovering some serious magic is hitting the big screen. The story is wonderful, but if it’s not enough, Cate Blanchett and Jack Black are starring in the adaptation premiering September 21st.
This adaptation isn’t just one book, it’s a movie mashup of all of the chilling horror stories by Stine for children. A little laughter and lots of scares plus Jack Black will surely make for a hit on September 21st.
The first time I read Holes by Louis Sachar it blew my tiny sixth-grade mind. My librarian had told me that the ending was incredible, but I was simply not prepared. The way all the little threads wove together, all the loose ends tied up so perfectly?? I was shook. Beyond shook. I was a new person. I was reborn. I was a phoenix, rising from the ashes of my former self. The ‘S’ shelf of my elementary school library was now a sacred space, where Sachar leaned against Jerry Spinelli, where Holes and Stargirl, the two most influential books I read as a child, stood side by side. I even fantasized that I would one day sneak my own book between theirs— Sachar, Spinabelli, Spinelli. The Holy Trinity. The Three Musketeers. Name a more iconic trio, I’ll wait.
Of course, that hasn’t happened yet, and I’ve moved on to more realistic fantasies, like faking my own death to get out of paying my student loans. But the other day on the train I was reminded of my sixth-grade dream. There was a kid reading Holes by Louis Sachar. The cover art was different from the version I’d read back in the day, but the nostalgia bit me like a yellow-spotted lizard, nonetheless. That lucky little punk! She was reading Holes for (presumably) the first time! I was insanely jealous, realizing that I would never get to read Holes for the first time again— barring some sort of conveniently specific amnesia. So I went home and revisited Camp Green Lake, flipping through my own paperback copy. And, though it wasn’t the same as reading it for the first time, it was weirdly eye-opening to read as an adult. I realized how many terrible grown-ups exist in Stanley Yelnats’ world. There’s something Roald Dahl-ish about it.
So, here we go. In my opinion, there are six solid villains in Holes, and after careful thought and research, I have ranked them from least to most evil. Enjoy.
6. Derrick Dunne
Okay, if you haven’t read the book in a while but you’ve seen the movie recently, you probably don’t remember Derrick Dunne. He doesn’t make it into the final cut of the movie, which is a shame because he is the whole reason for the season! He sets everything in motion! He’s the reason Stanley Yelnats gets sent to Camp Green Lake, and, get this, he’s the reason Stanley Yelnats is released from Camp Green Lake! Yes! Derrick Dunne! Amateur villain and elementary school bully!
So basically, Derrick Dunne takes Stanley’s notebook one day and plays keep-away with it for a bit, tormenting our young hero. Dunne eventually throws the notebook in the school toilet, and Stanley has to fish it out, consequently missing his bus home. So he walks home, and Clyde Livingston’s sneakers fall from the sky and hit him, and the rest is history. We don’t hear from Derrick Dunne again until the end of the book, when his testimony proves Stanley’s innocence— Stanley couldn’t have stolen Clyde Livingston’s shoes, he was too busy getting bullied! For these reasons, Derrick Dunne earns the title of villain, but just barely. He kind of redeems himself in the end, and he’s just a kid, after all. It’s the adults who are really to blame.
5. Mrs. Bell
Again, a character that only appears in the book:
“On his last day of school, his math teacher, Mrs. Bell, taught ratios. As an example, she chose the heaviest kid in the class and the lightest kid in the class, and had them weigh themselves. Stanley weighed three times as much as the other boy. Mrs. Bell wrote the ratio on the board, 3:1, unaware of how much embarrassment she had caused both of them.”
So aside from the obvious humiliation and body-shaming going on here, I have another bone to pick with this Mrs. Bell character. Why is she teaching a new lesson on the last day of school? What’s the goal here, Mrs. Bell? What kind of sadistic witch just plunges forward with the math curriculum on the literal last day of class? The last day of school is for signing yearbooks and cleaning out your locker and watching movies in the dark AC of your classroom and noticing how eerie and empty the room looks without all the bulletin board decorations, and realizing that time changes everything and everything will eventually come to an end. It’s not a day for learning new concepts! It’s not a day for teaching lessons! What the actual cuss, Mrs. Bell. You’re a villain. You’re barely mentioned in the book, but you’re a villain forever in my mind.
4. Mr. Sir
Image Via Holes Wiki
At last, we arrive at Camp Green Lake. Mr. Sir is easily the tamest villain at Camp Green Lake. He’s more like a grumpy, sexist uncle than an actual villain. He’s always eating sunflower seeds and saying stuff like “this isn’t a Girl Scout camp.” Like, okay? No one ever said it was? His villainy mostly just stems from his position at Camp Green Lake, which is essentially a child labor camp masquerading as some sort of juvenile rehabilitation.
But also, there’s the bit where he brings Stanley to The Warden for stealing his sunflower seeds, and The Warden scratches him (Mr. Sir) across the face with her wet rattlesnake venom nails (iconic) for bothering her about something so petty. Mr. Sir is completely emasculated and humiliated in front of Stanley, and in an act of Toxic Masculinity™ decides to take it out on poor, helpless Stanley by depriving him of water. This is pretty much the only instance of Mr. Sir actually hatching his own act of villainy, because for the most part he’s just a dumb pawn in The Warden’s master plan.
3. The Warden
The Warden runs the show. The Warden owns the shade. The Warden has badass rattlesnake venom nail polish (seriously, so iconic!) and villainy is pretty much in her DNA. She can’t help it, she’s Trout Walker’s granddaughter. She earns the spot as third-worst villain because she is basically the mastermind behind this ridiculous camp scheme, which is honestly pretty genius.
Kissin’ Kate Barlow’s fortune is buried somewhere in this vast desert, and instead of trying to find it and dig it up herself, as she was forced to as a kid, The Warden opens up a camp. She somehow convinces people that digging holes all day has a sort of rehabilitative quality for delinquent boys, and boom. Camp Green Lake. Not exactly a get-rich-quick scheme, but The Warden is patient. She’ll wait for some pimply teenager to dig up her fortune. She’ll wait as long as she has to.
2. Mr. Pendanski
At last, the villain who’s ranking I am the most passionate about: Stanley’s camp counselor, Mr. Pendanski. This dude is messed up. He comes off as so nice, he earns the campers’ trust, they nickname him Mom, but don’t be fooled. He is no one’s mom. He is a literal pile of hot garbage. First of all, he insists on calling all of his campers by their real names, not their nicknames, with one exception. He calls Hector Zeroni by his nickname, Zero, claiming “there’s nothing inside his head.” As a former camp counselor, this disturbs me to my core. You can’t just single out a camper like that! How un-kumbaya of you, Mr. Pendanski. He picks on Zero throughout the book, taunting him and calling him stupid and telling him digging holes is all he’ll ever be good for. It’s textbook emotionally abusive behavior.
But wait, it gets worse. In the final scene at Camp Green Lake, Zero and Stanley are trapped in a hole with a bunch of deadly yellow-spotted lizards and Kissin’ Kate Barlow’s fortune. The camp staff hovers on the ground above them, essentially waiting for the boys to get bitten and die so they can retrieve the treasure. Obviously this is super messed up and villainous of all of them, but Pendanski manages to make some pretty dark comments that push his villain-status over the edge. “At least we’ll have a body to give that woman,” he says, referring to the social worker who came looking for Stanley a few days prior. He then says, “maybe we should just shoot them,” and when another staff member asks if he means the lizards or the kids, he laughs (!) and replies, “the kids are going to die anyway.” He then laughs AGAIN, and says “at least we got plenty of graves to chose from.” WHAT. THE. CUSS. In conclusion, Mr. Pendanski is a sick, twisted man with no empathy and no soul and no business being a camp counselor. He is a second-place villain only because our first-place villain is a literal murderer.
1. Trout Walker
Image Via Villains Wiki
Charles “Trout” Walker is the villain of all villains in Holes. He’s got it all: the Toxic Masculinity™ of Mr. Sir, the evil master planning of The Warden, the dark, twisted nature of Mr. Pendanski, and, as an added bonus, he’s a racist murderer! Let’s dig in, shall we? I’ve waited this whole article to make that joke. I’m so very tired.
To start, Trout Walker is gross. Literally, because of this foot fungus that makes his feet smell like fish, and also because he’s sleazy AF. He takes an adult night class to learn how to read, but he’s disruptive and is mostly just interested in getting with the teacher, Katherine Barlow. After class one night, he asks to go out on his motor boat with him. The motor boat is described as making a loud noise and spewing “ugly black smoke over the beautiful lake.” She turns him down, because air pollution, and he says, “No one ever says ‘No’ to Charles Walker!” So, he’s spoiled and also needs to grasp the concept of consent.
Later on, after it’s been revealed that Katherine has kissed Sam, a black man, Walker leads a mob of people to the school house, destroying Katherine’s classroom, calling her “The Devil Woman,” and eventually burning down the entire school. And of course, solidifying his rank as top villain, Trout Walker crashes his motor boat into Sam’s rowboat and shoots him in the water. Hence, racist murderer. I shouldn’t have to explain why this makes him the most evil, so I won’t.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go reread Stargirl.
In the entire Harry Potter franchise, there is one particular character, aside from Mr. Potter, that people both love and love to hate. And you most likely said “Mr. Potter” in his notable deep voice. Professor Snape is the professor of the year every year. However, the late and great Alan Rickman didn’t always feel the way we did.
According to Deadline, in a recent auction a series of personal letters written belonging to Rickman went up for sale. They span his forty-year career, discussing all sorts of personal notes and stories. However, one in particular surprised many Potter people.
Image Via HelloGiggles
After Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the producer wrote to Rickman: “Thank you for making HP2 a success. I know, at times, you are frustrated but please know that you are an integral part of the films. And you are brilliant.” Sounds so nice right? But we get the idea that Rickman had a hard time playing the part perhaps. Titled “Inside Snape’s Head” was the actor’s letter that was written while filming Half Blood Prince. He writes: “It’s as if David Yates has decided that this is not important in the scheme of things i.e. teen audience appeal.”
Ouch. That does sound a little tense and understandably so. Perhaps Rickman wanted more opportunity to delve into the mind of his dark yet hurting character. I mean, we always want more. However, there were many other heartfelt letters about his close relationships with Rowling and Radcliffe along with other actors he’s worked with in the past.
We’re happy to become more familiar with the life of Mr. Rickman, however maybe Snape did need a little more time.