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It's hard to describe "Terror Firmer". Think "Living in Oblivian" with Lucio Fulci style violence, filmed by the "Vienna Aktionists" on the set of "Sweet Movie" directed by Groucho Marx and John Waters. Those unfamiliar with the 60's shock artists the Vienna Aktionists; will be surprised at their similarities to troma. The Vienna Aktionists were a group of anarchist stage performers from the 60's, who would put on live surreal sex shows. They would take food, urine, feces, vomit and semen and create shocking works of art. When I think of Troma, I'm reminded of the Vienna Aktionists. Troma's films are so sick and gross, that they teeter on artistic brilliance. O.K, so "Terror Firmer" defies description. Troma is a company dedicated to gore hound freaks and fans of guilty pleasure b-movies. I am one of those fans. Terror Firmer can definitely be considered a surrealist film. It lacks a traditional narrative, it has grotesque imagery and mocks many institutional standards. It's also one giant middle finger to Hollywood. The plot concerns a psychotic, hermaphrodite serial killer; who is killing people off in the most morbid ways imaginable, on the set of a troma movie. Lloyd Kaufman plays Larry Benjamin, a blind movie director who continues filming even though his cast keeps getting murdered. He wants to get his bizarre artistic vision out there. It seems like "Terror Firmer" tries to outdo "Pink Flamingos", "Cannibal Holocaust" and "Salo" in shock. The first five minutes of the film contain a leg decapitation, an abortion, death by corn flakes and a suicidal shot in the head. This film is almost guaranteed to even make the most jaded viewer cringe. Your either laughing or disgusted with shock. There is ridiculous amounts of sex, full frontal nudity and of course "big breasts". Almost every imaginable bodily function or fluid is present, including crap eating. Also the films obsession with pickles is quite disturbing. After viewing this film, you'll never think of pickles the same way again (guarenteed). As repulsive as the subject matter is, the film is pretty damn funny. Just be prepared to squirm too. I appreciate Troma, because after watching "Terror Firmer"; I searched for other bizarre films. I also became interested in surrealism. So if it wasn't for Lloyd Kaufman, I may of never appreciated Bunuel, Godard, Greenaway, David Lynch, Fellini, Jodorowsky, John Waters, Salvador Dali, Jan Svankmajer, Tekeshi Miike, Dusan Makavejev or David Cronenburg. I love Troma, even if their films are sometimes a bit much. They opened up my mind and imagination to new ideas. I know one thing Otto Muehl and Dali would be proud. Now let's go make some art!
Indy directors schooled in shock had two options when Hollywood stepped
in and stole their thunder with bad taste comedy hits like THERE'S
SOMETHING ABOUT MARY and American PIE.
1. Become like John Waters, lose your edge and deliver much tamer (and much more bland) stabs at the establishment or...
2. Up the ante in terms of nihilistic gore, nudity, amorality, cruelty and cheap toilet gags.
Lloyd Kaufman has, with this film, undoubtedly established himself as the poster boy for the latter. So possessed is this man to disgust, offend, shock and give viewers an alternative to good, decent, Speilbergian entertainment, he has whipped out a film that includes, but it certainly not limited to, dismemberment, decapitation, impalement, castration, breast mutilation, urination, scat, puking, incest, rape, child molestation, drug use, cheesy sound effects, flatulence, deformed sex organs, full nudity (male and female), a fetus ripped from a womb, soft core sex and gore-dripping overkill in any and every other possible department. I must say, that it's a hectic, erratic, messy film, but I was never once bored while watching it.
Since the story takes place around the set of an independent movie (invaded by a hermaphroditic serial killer who hacks his/her way through the cast and crew in an effort to shut down the production) we also get some commentary on how the film industry works (and how it doesn't) and on the comedic virtues found in the lowest of low human behavior.
All four of the leads (Will Keenan, Alyce LaTourelle, Trent Haaga and Debbie Rochon) are great. Kaufman himself also shows considerable on-screen appeal as Larry Benjamin, the aloof director of the film in question, who also happens to be blind, an idea copied by Woody Allen for his acclaimed (but apparently not all that original) film Hollywood ENDING in 2001!
Fair enough to say that not everyone will be able to endure TERROR FIRMER, but be grateful someone has the audacity to slap Tinseltown in the face by beating them at their own game. The video and DVD both contain deleted scenes and outtakes and are available in uncut or R-rated versions. Watch for a cameo by SOUTH PARK creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Motorhead's Lemmy during an amusing end credit sequence.
one of my all-time favorites now, this movie is definitely not something you want to watch with your parents (unless, of course they have a perverse appreciation for the eccentric filmwork that lloyd kaufman is THE master of...) it has an amazing cast (i am always willing to watch debbie rochon) and an equally amazing soundtrack (the lunachicks rock my socks!) its a twisted murder mystery/horror/black comedy that will gross you out and tickle your funny bone all at the same time! try to see if *you* can figure out who is murdering the crew on the movie set... and who IS that mysterious woman?! if you love blood and gore, crazy food sex, fetus-ripping, exploding breasts, cross-dressing, frat parties gone wrong, and pickled unmentionables, you'll love terror firmer... :) 10 outta 10!
Terror Firmer (Quickie Review) This is a Troma gem we've got here. And
we all know what that means, right? It's likely going to be bizarre,
violent, absurd, ridiculous, offensive... whathaveyou. And this film is
all of those things--and then some. It revolves a film crew, led by a
blind director (played by Troma founder, Lloyd Kaufman), making another
Toxic Avenger movie. But the film crew is constantly plagued with
problems, foremost among them is a psychotic killer doing in people
throughout the film in humorous and gory ways. And, in typical Troma
fashion, there's insults and spoofs galore, including repeated verbal
attacks on Spielberg and a mocking of Seinfeld. Lloyd Kaufman really
seems to have a hatred of fellow entertainment business Jews, it would
seem... At any rate, the acting, at times is surprisingly good, the
gore quality is about average--sometimes, however, laughably weak,
entertaining and surprising nudity, and the story is somewhat
ridiculous. Bizarre and shocking ending, to boot! Ron Jeremy has a
small starring role as an abusive father... sort of...
So, who should watch this thing? Well, gorehounds with an interest in crazy movies will enjoy it, Troma fans will enjoy it--that's almost a given. A unique film, however you look at it. Recommended strongly to curiosity seekers with a tolerance (or love) for weirdness, violence, gore, nudity, and independent film fans. 7/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
THIS IS THE MOTHER OF ALL B-MOVIES. It combines the fun and arts of film making with that of complete heresy of what should be seen by the human eye. The film has lovable characters and a message behind the love of twisted b-movies. It is for anyone who thinks outside the standard of what good movie making is and for anyone who appreciates the ridiculousness that can fit into one film all in the name of fun. I haven't seen a movie that satisfied my love for gore and shock value all while making me laugh. It's also a good watch when your drunk. The moral of the story: Don't trust psychotic hermaphroditic Spielburg lovers.
(my comments are based on the 114 min. unrated director's
After the disappointing (but still funny) Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D., Lloyed Kaufman and the gang at Troma regained their footing with 1996's great Tromeo and Juliet.
Well, Terror Firmer takes everything that great about T&J, multiplied it by 100 and added a ton of new gross out gags. This is easily the funniest, goriest, sexually explicit, extremely violent and politically incorrect movie in existance.
If you weren't a Troma fan before, this film isn't likely to convert you. It was made purely for the longtime Troma fans and the heart, honesty and energy put into it are apparent in every frame.
A true cult classic that is hilarious and shocking in equal doses.
"LET'S MAKE SOME ART!!!!!"
I was exposed to this film last night. I feel both like my life is more complete AND like I'll never get back that weird little bit in my soul ever again. I'm not sure I've experienced that phenomena before. This film is gloriously terrible. I'm glad I watched it, despite possibly being scarred for life. "What doesn't kill you makes you stranger". I think they did a fantastic job of doing a terrible job, and the performances were pretty disturbingly well done for the most part, especially the main...guy. I think my favorite part might be the "continuity" bit, which is funny because it was one of the least over-the-top funny moments...for this movie. I was also really disturbed by the number of physically attractive actors in this film considering the bizarre, messed and/or stupid characters they played. It made me uncomfortable in a good/bad/confusing way, which I felt ultimately added to the specatacle.
terror firmer is a great film but i guess you have to have a taste for
to enjoy it. i showed a friend it and he said it was the worst movie he had
ever seen. Lloyd is great as the blind director larry (he is kinda playing
himself in this movie. I also thought that his daughter was good in the
too. there is a lot of very fake gore like legs getting ripped off and
escalators eating fat guys. but overall its a great film and the best troma
have ever made.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The latest offering from Troma offers up much of what they're famous
for; namely gore, violence, politics, bad taste, crude humour, sleaze,
gratuitous nudity, and sex. Except that TERROR FIRMER offers up more of
this than ever before, mixing it in with a clever-clever
self-referential plot revolving around the antics on a Troma movie set
and determined to disgust at every moment. This is a film made for
Troma fans, in that it's packed with recurring characters, in-jokes,
and more. The film is moderately enjoyable in parts, thanks to the fast
pacing and the occasionally amusing broad humour, but I've never been a
fan of crude humour so a lot of this left me cold.
What this film does have in its favour is a ton of incident, some supremely bizarre moments (the naked man running through the streets is one), a winning performance in front of the camera from Lloyd Kaufman as an amusing blind director, and a whole slew of cheap and funny gore effects. When a film opens with a man getting his leg torn off and then being beaten to death with the stump, you know you're in for something special and TERROR FIRMER is just that, a special movie.
Other schlocky "highlights" include a man getting both legs ripped off in a vehicle accident, an overweight guy getting sucked into an elevator and Kaufman himself exploding in a bomb blast. Things become even harder to stomach in the shock ending which oversteps the boundaries of good taste by a wide mark, but this is surprisingly aware and clever in places and also well-made for a no-budget shocker. TERROR FIRMER is a must-see for Troma fans, and needs a healthy 'beware' to all others.
TERROR FIRMER is, by far, the best of the Troma films. The editing
(including Troma's trademark continuity gaffes) and pacing are
excellent, the dark humor and gross-outs are relentless, and there is
even some intellectual fodder for those brave enough to "theorize"
about a Troma movie.
The behind-the-scenes murder mystery theme is funny and surreal. The lead actors are also good and command a strong screen presence. But TERROR FIRMER is also great for having about as much male nudity as female nudity. I think this is because the film's writers appear to be making astute comments about the sometimes-confounding nature of sexual desire. This Troma production seems tailored to shock the jocks by pushing lots more than the usual T&A in their faces! The jokes and visual metaphors about penises fire out like bullets -- and the vulgar lines are akin to John Waters at his raunchy best.
The only problem I have is with some of the DVD commentaries. There are three to choose from; the one from the actors is decent, but the one from the film's editors is disappointing. They make a film that out-shocks all others, is extremely violent and "weird," and is (in some ways) gayer than any Troma film I've seen -- yet they seem to be almost apologizing for it all, making sure the audience knows they are "straight," and coming off as far too "normal" for such a brilliantly twisted movie. What a buzz kill! Then again, maybe their fear of being (or seeming) gay might also speak for the film's subversive power.
Still, the final result -- the movie itself -- is good and worth repeated viewings. Just don't let some of its creators ruin the mystique of their creation.
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