Tromeo & Juliet (1996)
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“See Shakespeare the way he was meant to be seen: the Troma way! Directed by Lloyd Kaufman (The Toxic Avenger) and written by James Gunn (Dawn of the Dead), Tromeo & Juliet moves the classic tale of star-crossed lovers from 16th century Verona to a crumbling mid-nineties New York, where young Tromeo (Will Keenan) and Juliet (Jane Jensen) must defy their families’ endless feud in order to be together for eternity. Set to a kick-ass soundtrack featuring Motorhead, Sublime and The Wesley Willis Fiasco, Tromeo & Juliet is the most over-the-top erotic-action-comedy since Romeo & Juliet debuted on the stage in 1596!”
Director: Lloyd Kaufman
Starring: Jane Jensen, Will Keenan, Lemmy
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In the spirit of Valentine’s Day we watched the greatest love story the world has ever known, Tromeo & Juliet. Belonging to a tradition of tragic romance stretching back to antiquity, no love story is as timeless and no romance more emblematic of young love. Poet Laureate James Gunn, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s preeminent dramatist, brings his immortal tale of doomed love to life in cinematic beauty with the help of visionary director and internationally treasured auteur, Lloyd Kaufman. These master craftsmen come together to create a viewing experience so emotionally charged with heart-wrenching romance that you and your loved one will be licking the salty tears from each others cheeks.
We’re finally reviewing a Troma movie! Hopefully you’re as excited as we are. For the uninitiated, Troma is an independent film company that reached its height of popularity in the 1980’s and whose name is synonymous with over-the-top representations of excessive sexuality, violence, and gore. Their films, referred to as “shock exploitation”, are often satirical and usually offer some sort of social commentary. The man behind Troma Entertainment is producer, director, writer, actor, and all around hilarious guy Lloyd Kaufman. In addition to Tromeo and Juliet, Kaufman has directed countless Troma classics (though sometimes under the name Samuel Weil) including Class of Nuke’em High and all of the Toxic Avenger movies. Troma films have launched the careers of a fair amount of stars, including Tromeo & Juliet’s writer, James Gunn, whose name you may recognize as the writer and director of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. You horror buffs may know him as writer of the Dawn of the Dead remake and writer / director of his gross-out debut feature Slither.
Here’s where we normally give you readers a quick synopsis of the film but. . . do you really need one? It’s based on the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, if you haven’t already guessed. Raise your hand if a bunch of girls from your middle school dragged you to that awful Leonardo DiCaprio Romeo + Juliet movie. Yeah, us too. Well, imagine that but fun to watch and narrated by Lemmy from Motorhead. It’s a drugged out, batshit crazy version filled with the kind of sex, violence, and gore that not even Tarantino could talk DiCaprio into.
It seems customary when reviewing an adapted classic such as this to address its source material and discuss where the film failed or succeeded. Well, we’re not gonna do that. We don’t know shit about Shakespeare. What we do know about is Troma movies and the 90’s. Tromeo & Juliet is so 90’s that it feels like it’s not just set in Manhattan, but set in the movie Hackers’ Manhattan—from the polyester button-ups and ringer tees to a character who has clearly spent too much time in Matthew Lillard’s closet. But it wouldn’t be a Troma movie without some of those Troma tropes, and this movie’s got ‘em. Comically gory fight scenes, heads being smashed like potato bugs, lesbian sex, and even that shot of a car flipping through the air from Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D..
So, this Valentine’s Day, turn down the lights, cuddle up with that special someone, and feel the romance blossom in the air as you watch a guy wolf down popcorn bursting out of a woman’s pregnant stomach. Feel your loved one’s warm embrace as an oiled up beefcake whips out his giant, erect, demon-eyed penis with fangs. Gently caress each other as a cow-bride reveals her long, grey bull dick to her unsuspecting fiancee. It’ll make you fall in love all over again, Happy VDay everyone!