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The Cutting Room: Lloyd Kaufman & Dylan Greenberg talk “NUKE ‘EM HIGH”, “AMITYVILLE: VANISHING POINT”

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Welcome to THE CUTTING ROOM, a new column on FANGORIA.com that highlights the stories that most share DNA of our print counterpart. Rather than just feature the articles and interviews that didn’t make the cut, this column is dedicated to providing a greater lifeline between FANGORIA Magazine and FANGORIA.com.

2016 is poised to be an immense year for the legion of Troma fans out there. Besides the likely debut of the second volume of RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH (from which you can check out an exclusive clip below), Troma is also ushering in a pair of two young filmmakers: B.C. BUTCHER’s Kansas Bowling and AMITYVILLE: VANISHING POINT’s Dylan Greenberg. With the latter’s new picture now creeping out audiences in the digital space, FANGORIA caught up with Greenberg as well as Troma head Lloyd Kaufman to talk all thing Troma, from Blu-rays to VOLUME TWO and even Lloyd’s small role in AMITYVILLE: VANISHING POINT…

FANGORIA: How are things in the world of Troma these days?

LLOYD KAUFMAN: Everything is alright! We just had a big red carpet event for Kansas Bowling’s B.C. BUTCHER. Kansas is the only other person in the Troma Institute for Gifted Youth other than Dylan Greenberg. She made her movie in sixteen millimeter, and I guess it’s the first non-male slasher caveman/cavewoman movie. I was on the West Coast for the week to stay for the big red carpet treatment and there were a whole lot of interesting people there like Priscilla Presley, Ron Jeremy and Kato Kaelin.

Not only did I moderate the B.C. BUTCHER Q&A, but the Egyptian Theater, American Cinematheque and Women Underground decided they wanted to show Jenna Fischer’s LOLLILOVE, which she made with James Gunn. Peter Alton, who co-wrote the film, participated in a Q&A and we also showed an interview with Jenna Fischer about directing that had never previously been shown publicly. It’s a pretty interesting interview because she decided she doesn’t want to direct ever again.

But Dylan Greenberg is the other one in the Troma Institute for Gifted Youth camp. She has been, and still is, very much involved in volume two of RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH. Actually, it’s now called RETURN TO RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH, A/K/A VOLUME TWO. She has done a lot for the film; she’s in it, of course, in a wonderful cameo but she has done editing, green screen and C.G.I. She has done some great work in that, but more importantly, she has a film out now called AMITYVILLE: VANISHING POINT and that’s been very exciting for her. I have a cameo in the movie as well.

DYLAN GREENBERG: I’m put it on Amazon myself but we actually world premiered VANISHING POINT on the same day that AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING was supposed to premiere, completely by coincidence. We were pretty upset about that; I think they’re making a mockbuster of my movie. I guess they know Troma was helping it and they laid on their advertising campaign; I hate it.

KAUFMAN: I see it happen! That’s what happened to James Gunn; every day I’m getting calls going to introduce people to James Gunn and Trey Parker and Matt Stone. And it will not be long before I am getting calls for Dylan. I mean, literally every day there’s somebody who wants me to put them in touch. In fact, I had a big reality T.V. producer called me the other day to see if I could get to him or her in touch with James Gunn. But soon, they’ll be calling about Dylan Greenberg, who actually works at Troma, or Kansas Bowling. I even gave [Kansas] some money; I was so impressed with her film that, despite being the cheapest person in the world, I actually have her money to help her make a movie because she was sixteen years old and shooting sixteen millimeter, which I thought was very impressive.

FANGORIA: What can you tell us about your role in AMITYVILLE: VANISHING POINT, Lloyd?

KAUFMAN: Luckily, I didn’t have to do much acting. I just stood still and it was perfect.

GREENBERG: I’d call it less of a cameo and more of a “Special Appearance B,” which is a bigger of a deal. Lloyd plays Elron Randall, an Intellectual who guides, the protagonist (or anti-protagonist since he’s a bit of an anti-hero) Hank Denton who is a detective. He’s sort of the Dale Cooper of our story. He guides him through the process of thought that gets him closer to solving the murder of Margaret East. He does this using very esoteric dancing as a manner of speech in such a way that he’s able to guide Hank’s thoughts so he stops thinking forward and starts thinking cyclical.

I am a big David Lynch fan. A lot of the stuff I made previously has not been super inspired by David Lynch, but he has definitely inspired this project. However, I’m as inspired by Lynch just as much as I’m inspired by Lloyd and many Troma classics. I love the small, independent film.

KAUFMAN: It’s interesting to think that we’re getting into a third generation of Troma fans. You’ll see a lot of Troma references in VANISHING POINT, but Dylan is like the third or fourth generation. These are the fans who will see the Troma influences in DEADPOOL; the guys behind that film are big fans, as I imagine you can tell. But Troma has inspired people and I think the reach is beyond the underground. Just look at James Gunn, Trey Parker and a lot of the actors that Troma brought to Hollywood. There’s a definite footprint to the mainstream if you’re paying attention.

Now, they want Kansas, and I think will more filmmakers will evolve like Kansas, definitely. But I don’t know if she wants to go mainstream, but she absolutely can. She’s on the West Coast, she already knows the game and I’m very excited about B.C. BUTCHER. The only problem is with this stuff of is we don’t have the clout with the theaters so we don’t have the power to put it in two thousand theaters. But little by little, it’ll get to people by one way or the other way.

FANGORIA: Is it important for Troma to teach new talent how to promote themselves?

KAUFMAN: Well after we sort of became successful, Michael Herz and I wanted to dedicated ourselves in large part to try to raise the profile of truly independent artists and to do whatever we can, even though we have very little money. We wanted to do anything we can do to bring them to the forefront. Nobody wanted CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL, nobody! It wasn’t finished, of course, but no one would touch it. We were the last stop for Trey, but we saw the talent and we helped him finish the movie. We put it out via Troma and that’s true for a number of our discoveries.

That’s part of what we feel we’re here to do; we want to be kind of like Warhol. When I was at Yale, I went to The Factory a little bit and I used to some of his superstars in my early early movies. Now, we kind of have that, not to that extent but we have our own kind of superstars.

FANGORIA: You showed the assembly cut of RETURN TO RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH A/K/A VOLUME TWO at Tromadance last summer. Where is the film right now?

KAUFMAN: Well, we’ve decided to put in some celebrities who have volunteered to be in the movie; I don’t want to share ‘who’ right now because I want them to sign a release first. We may have that in a couple of days, but we’re going to shoot a couple a little changes with them. We wanted some satire on the popular media of today. We want to be sharing a searing commentary about popular culture. But we’re still editing and editing and editing, and we’ve had a few screenings with focus groups at different universities. But our last focus group was a few weeks ago, and we’re pretty close to our final cut.

FANGORIA: How would you say the film has changed since Tromadance?

KAUFMAN: It’s a bit leaner. I think it’s a lot funnier. I think the timing is a lot more precise because we used the feedback we got from Tromadance audience to change the pacing of the film. We did a test screening at U.S.C with a couple hundred people, and they all said they loved the monster. So we did a little bit more shooting with the monster, and you can see Dylan’s scene with the monster.

What’s nice about being in the underground is that we don’t need a movie ready by Christmas. That’s Aaron Sorkin’s or James Gunn’s problem. When you’re making movies independent, we can take as long as we fucking want so that it’s going to be really terrific. We’re poor so we’re going to take as much time to make RETURN TO RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH A/K/A VOLUME 2 the best movie it can be.

FANGORIA: Have you set a venue or a date for the film’s premiere? Any potential festival showings?

KAUFMAN: Well, VOLUME ONE was premiered at the Museum of Modern Art so we’ll offer it to the curator there and I imagine they’ll want to have the second half of the movie but you never know. Just out of courtesy and loyalty, they’ll have the option, but we’ve also spoken to the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens. MoMA probably had enough with just VOLUME ONE, but they took a big risk curating that one and it was very successful so we will offer it to them and see what happens from there.  After that, we’ll usually play the show in the Cinema Village, then the Nighthawk.

I will try to get VOLUME TWO to a theater in each borough and then out in L.A, then the Roxy in San Francisco, then for the rest of the country. Mark Cuban also owns a theater chain that’s been very good to us in the past. I know the Alamo tries to play our films, but the screenings will trickle out over the country so if you want to see VOLUME TWO, you’ll probably have the chance. Of course, I try to go out to as many of the screenings as I can; not all of them, but I’ll be there if I can and I’ll do my Willie Loman act. I’ll do a Q&A, sell DVDs and T-shirts and shot glasses.

FANGORIA:  Are there any more plans for future Troma Blu-rays?

KAUFMAN: TERROR FIRMER is certainly in the pipeline. I think they’re working on that now and we’re tracking down people who are in the movie for features. I just don’t have a schedule in front of me but there are other Blu-rays. We’ll be putting out a B.C. BUTCHER Blu-ray but I don’t know when; we’re trying to get people together to record the commentaries, although we already have an interview with Kansa Bowling and one with Kato ready to go.

We also have the Troma NOW! Subscription service, and we just added ELECTRIC APRICOT, the new film from Les Claypool from PRIMUS. The SOUTH PARK guys put us in touch and he’s letting us put that film out. We have EXTREME JUKEBOX, which is a new film from Italy that’s like a Rock ‘n’ Roll giallo film, as well as the DIRECTOR’S CUT of POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD.

As for CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL, we don’t have a Blu-ray planned just yet and that’s because the original material is not with us. It’s shot on film, but the way that the negative was put together is not conducive to making a Blu-ray. So we wrote to the CANNIBAL! Guys and we’re trying to figure out a way to get the right materials so you can all see it on Blu-ray. But at the moment, we’re hoping for the best.

AMITYVILLE: VANISHING POINT is currently on VOD. You can subscribe to Troma NOW! HERE, and stay tuned for more on RETURN TO RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH A/K/A VOLUME TWO here at FANGORIA.com!

About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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