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Crossing Over: “KABUKIMAN’S COCKTAIL CORNER”

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Welcome, FANGORIA Readers, to CROSSING OVER, our newest column that highlights the films, series and content out there outside of horror that is fashioned towards or pays tribute to our beloved genre. By shining a light onto these projects, FANGORIA hopes to open a world of entertainment perfect for fright fans that lies just beyond the borders of the horror community. So without further ado…

The term “top shelf exploitation cinema” sounds like an oxymoron, probably because it is, but it is also the perfect description for the unique brand of gonzo output genre fans have come to expect from Troma Entertainment. With its roster of infamous characters and titles that include the TOXIC AVENGER and NUKE ‘EM HIGH series, and well as other lesser known feature films such as TROMEO AND JULIET and CANNIBAL: THE MUSICAL (releases which showcased the budding talents of James Gunn and Trey Parker & Matt Stone, respectively), Troma has established a reputation for creating and promoting true independent art with a fraction of the budget and other resources of major media conglomerates.

For horror hounds and splatterpunks the world over, the low-budget yet over-the-top aesthetics of Troma are a kind of second cinematic language; we’re familiar with the buckets of blood, the projectile vomiting of green slime, the slow-motion shots of flailing bodies tossed through windows, and of course, that one car explosion that Kaufman manages to fit into countless Troma titles, continuity be damned. But Troma can be somewhat of an acquired taste, to put it mildly. How exactly would one go about introducing a newcomer to the bevy of insanity and bodily fluids that come with Troma fare?

This writer’s introduction to the Tromaverse came in the form of a super cool high school video teacher who showed him the trailer to the original CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH, which used Rye Neck High School in Mamaroneck, New York for all of its exterior shots. To this day, I consider myself a proud member of the 2010 Class of Nuke ‘em High. From there, a whirlwind romance with all things toxic and sludge-covered began. But what could be a perfect vehicle for Troma fandom in this day of memes and YouTube celebrities? Why, nothing other than a Troma webseries. Enter: KABUKIMAN’S COCKTAIL CORNER.

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One of Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz’s most iconic characters, besides ol’ Toxie himself of course, is SGT. KABUKIMAN, NYPD. The 1990 action-comedy film of the same name tells the tale of a slovenly detective who is possessed by the spirit of Kabuki master, and must do battle with all the criminals of the New York underworld, as well as face off with the mythic “evil one.” Since his debut, Kabukiman has become one of Troma’s top mascots, making appearances in numerous films, home video release intros, and promo spots. This made him was a natural fit as the host Troma’s most recent foray into the wild wild west of internet-based entertainment.

KABUKIMAN’S COCKTAIL CORNER is a frantic free-form talk show, wherein the aforementioned makeup-caked lawman samples all sorts of interesting drinks concocted by Super-Tromette Shabu Shabu, including, but not limited to: “The Bloodspit.” “The Banana Motherfucker” and of course, “Absinthe!” which causes the whole show to have a green, warped tint to it.  The remainder of the show is filled with performances from underground music acts like Unicorn Smack, Supermonkey DeathGrip (whose hard rock sound had this writer headbanging at his keyboard, much to detriemtn of hhis spellling) and Twelve AM Flowers, all of whom have wildly unique sounds that perfectly gel with the madcap energy of a DIY webshow with a “throw it all against the wall and see what sticks” approach. Later episodes have also included appearances from the Toxic Avenger and Lloyd Kaufman himself, and have incorporated cameos from RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH cast members and interviews with other notable persons, such as author Frank Cassese, comedian Brian Quinn, and famous tattoo artist Paul Booth.

What makes this show perfect for Troma newbies, millennials in particular, is the show’s charming low budget look and wacky editing, complete with randomly inserted close-up shots, jump cuts in dialogue, and other visual quirks that will appeal to fans of bizarre, [adult swim]-styled humor. The show is only six episodes into its first season, with episodes ranging from six to twelve minutes, making them a nice bit of Troma weirdness to digest along with your usual diet of podcasts, think pieces, and Netflix binges.

So if you’re looking to submerge yourself into the delightfully deviant world of grindhouse film and Troma Entertainment, stop KABUKIMAN’S COCKTAIL CORNER for a drink. Tell ‘em FANGORIA sent ya.

Kabukiman’s Cocktail Corner can be streamed in its entirety via the Tromamovies Youtube page. After you watch the show, be sure to check out all of the full-length feature films Troma regularly posts from their library, including the original SGT KABUKIMAN NYPD!

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About the author
Christopher La Vigna
Christopher La Vigna is a writer, filmmaker, and the newest batch of blood to be welcomed into the haunted halls of FANGORIA. He’s a graduate of Hunter College*, and can be found lurking around any movie theater or comic shop near his person. You can argue about movies with him on Twitter: @Chris_LaVigna
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