Originally created 12/01/05

Fans find campy exploitation films engaging and endearing



Despite their best intentions, some filmmakers never seem quite capable of making a quality motion picture. They strive for How Green Was My Valley, but end up with Valley of the Dolls. Lloyd Kaufman and the crew at Troma Entertainment never had high aspirations. Success for them is measured in fake blood and low humor, in imaginative concepts and a unique brand of tongue-in-cheek self-depreciation that makes their low-budget exploitation flicks interesting, engaging and, yes, endearing. Here are a few favorites:

SGT. KABUKIMAN NYPD (1991): New York cop Harry Griswald becomes a superhuman crimefighter when he is possessed by the spirit of a dead kabuki master. Now, I'm not sure what a mastery of ornate Japanese theater has to do with stomping out evil, but this movie works.

Tromeo & Juliet (1996): A violent rock retelling of the Shakespeare classic, this pierced-and-punk tale of young loves is narrated by Motorhead frontman Lemmy. It makes sense, because if young love has a theme song, it's bound to be Ace of Spades.

CLASS OF NUKE 'EM HIGH (1986): The trials and tribulations of high school are amplified when radiation from a nuclear power plant infects the students and faculty of Tromaville High. A date for the prom seems insignificant when the bloodthirsty offspring of high school sweethearts roams the halls.

CHOPPER CHICKS IN ZOMBIETOWN (1989): Before Sling Blade legitimized his career, Billy Bob Thornton appeared in this low-budget movie about, well, women on motorcycles in a town full of zombies. What did you expect - War and Peace?

THE TOXIC AVENGER (1985): The crown jewel of Troma, this simple story of a mild-mannered janitor made mighty by a bath of toxic waste is good, gratuitous gross-out fun. The film proved so popular that no fewer than three sequels featuring the character have been produced.

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.