Lloyd Kaufman is the Rodney Dangerfield of low-budget, B-level horror movies. He gets no respect. Even Roger Corman, who is notorious for cranking out genre films for profit since the 1950s, has respect of his Hollywood peers. But in Corman’s shadow is Kaufman’s exploitation studio Troma, which has been generating marginal and low-quality entertainment for years…almost 40 years, to be exact.
Troma began in 1974 as a joint venture between Kaufman and his buddy from Yale, Michael Hertz. Over the years, the studio has pulled their own fair share of Cormans by featuring would-be stars in their earliest roles, including Kevin Costner in Sizzle Beach U.S.A., Billy Bob Thornton in Chopper Chicks in Zombietown, and the comedy team of Trey Parker and Matt Stone with Cannibal: The Musical. In 1985, Troma broke out with their tongue-in-cheek success The Toxic Avenger, a low-budget hit that spawned three sequels and gave Troma its poster boy for its studio. Soon, Troma became a staple in the direct-to-video market with additional hits like Class of Nuke‘Em High, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell, and Surf Nazis Must Die!