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Famous Like Me > Actor > K > Lloyd Kaufman

Profile of Lloyd Kaufman on Famous Like Me

Name: Lloyd Kaufman  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 30th December 1945
Place of Birth: New York, New York, USA
Profession: Actor
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Troma co-founder and president; Lloyd Kaufman

Lloyd Kaufman is an American film director and producer. With Michael Herz, he is the co-founder of Troma Entertainment. He is also the co-director, with Herz, of several of Troma's feature films. His early Troma films are credited to Samuel Weil, a pseudonym (actually the name of Kaufman's maternal grandfather) which Kaufman used to skirt Directors Guild of America rules.

Books written by Kaufman include All I Needed To Know About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger (with James Gunn) and Make Your Own Damn Movie (with Adam Jahnke and Trent Haaga).

Born Stanley Lloyd Kaufman Jr., he pronounces his name KOFF-man.

Lloyd began his post-secondary education at Yale University in 1964, where he attended a class with George W. Bush Jr. Majoring in Chinese Studies, and intending to become a social worker, he became friends with Robert Edelstein and Eric Sherman (son of filmmaker Vincent Sherman) who introduced him to cinema, which began his lifelong obsession with film (some of Lloyd's favorite filmmakers include John Ford, Kenji Mizoguchi, Ernst Lubitsch, and experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage, who also taught Troma luminaries Trey Parker and Matt Stone at Colorado University and acted in the Troma film Cannibal! The Musical).

In 1966, Lloyd went on hiatus from his studies, and joined the American Peace Corps, who sent him to Chad. Living there for a year, he contracted dengue fever, equatorial pneumonia, no less than twenty different varieties of diarrhea, and a litany of sexually-transmitted-diseases. He also jump-started his filmmaking career by filming Chad natives slaughtering a pig. The film infuriated many of his friends and colleagues upon it's first screening in the United States. This particular work laid out the groundwork for his iconoclastic style of filmmaking; extreme violence and base, vile subject matter used primarily to offend closed-minded people.

A few years later, he produced Robert Edelstein's low-budget film Rappaccini, using the money he made from investment returns on this film to fund his own first feature, The Girl Who Returned. After graduating from Yale, he went on to work for Cannon Pictures, where he met John G. Avildsen, director of Rocky and The Karate Kid. The two collaborated for several years, making low-budget films including Joe and Cry Uncle. During this period, he also directed his second feature film, The Battle of Love's Return, in 1970, and then produced trashy low-budget films Sugar Cookies (with Oliver Stone), and Big Gus, What's the Fuss?

After meeting his life-long business partner Michael Herz, the two formed Troma Studios, using a janitor's closet as the base of operations with only $300 in the bank. In order to pay the bills, Lloyd did freelance work for various Hollywood productions including Rocky, Saturday Night Fever, and The Final Countdown. Working on these films, he became disgusted with the crewmembers' cynicism and poor attitudes, leaving him to remain a staunch independent ever since.

In the early 1980's, Lloyd and Michael Herz began making and distributing trite sex comedies such as The First-Turn On and Squeeze Play, none of which were well-recieved (though a large portion of his autobiography is dedicated to this). In 1984, Variety ran an article entitled "The Horror Film is Dead" (at a time when cheap, sleazy slashers and horror films were being cranked out ceaselessly), which inspiried the two to make their own low-budget horror flick, the chrysalis of which became "The Toxic Avenger." Originally titled "Health Club Horror," The Toxic Avenger is an inspiring story about a nebbish mop-boy named Melvin (no doubt based on Kaufman himself), who falls into a vat of toxic waste, only to emerge as a crime-fighting superhero.

This film contains the earliest examples of themes prevalent in Kaufman's work, such as anti-authoritarianism and an obsessive fixation on the female anatomy. It also contains the unrelenting violence and gore Troma is known for today; examples include an old lady who is beaten to death with her own cane, a seeing-eye dog which is blown apart with a shotgun, and a young child being decapitated by way of moving car. Though the film was not successful initially, mainly due to a lousy marketing campaign, it eventually went on to become Troma's most well-known film, inspiring an entire franchise including three sequels and a children's television program. It's no coincidence that Toxie is Troma's official mascot.

Lloyd's next feature-film was Class of Nuke 'em High, co-directed with Richard W. Haines. The film was not nearly as successful as The Toxic Avenger, but went on to inspire two more sequels, and remains a seminal favorite in the Troma Team library.

Soon after Class of Nuke 'em High was completed and distributed, Kaufman directed Troma's War. Intended as a criticism of Ronald Reagan's attempt to glamorize war, the story concerns a group of ordinary people who crash-land on a remote island, only to find it populated by an isolationist militia that intends to overthrow the U.S. government. The film has since been released unrated and uncut on DVD, and Lloyd claims that it's his personal favorite out of all his own films. Kaufman and Herz then went on to direct two much-malinged sequels to the Toxic Avenger, and Sgt. Kabukiman, NYPD.

From 1996 to 2000, Kaufman directed three critically-acclaimed feature films: Tromeo and Juliet, an adaptation of Shakespeare's play as only someone like Lloyd Kaufman could imagine (much in the way Shakespeare originally intended, the film contains plenty of violence, gore, and vulgarities); Terror Firmer, an extremely iconoclastic and visceral horror film about a transsexual serial killer picking off the crewmembers on a Troma movie (the film was inspiried by Kaufman's autobiography, All I Need to Know About Filmmaking I Learned from the Toxic Avenger), and Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger Pt. IV, the fourth sequel to the infamous franchise in which Toxie fights his alter-ego, The Noxious Offender, from a parallel universe. The film was controversial for a scene involving a black man being dragged by a truck by white supremacists, even though it was based on an actual event, and a similar scene occurred on the television show Oz without any backlash.

Troma then went on to fund a low-budget film called Tales from the Crapper, which cost $250,000 despite most of the footage being completely unusable. India Allen, one of the producers, backed out of the film halfway through, and sued Troma. Lloyd personally supervised the reshoot, where the crew paid little attention to their work, and instead spent most of the time drinking and partying, which Lloyd attributes to the film's failure.

In the last few years, Troma Films have distributed many critically-acclaimed blockbuster films including Cannibal! The Musical, Killer Condom, and Combat Shock. Lloyd himself encourages independent filmmaking, which he feels is a dying art form thanks to Hollywood and various conglomerates completely dominating the market, and makes cameo appearances in many low-budget horror films for free. He is currently working on his latest film, Poultrygeist, and continues to support independent filmmaking around the world.

Select Filmography

as director

All films from Squeeze Play to Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. were co-directed with college buddy and Troma Vice President Michael Herz

  • The Girl Who Returned (1969)
  • The Battle Of Love's Return (1971)
  • Big Gus, What's the Fuss (1973)
  • Squeeze Play (1980) (as Samuel Weil)
  • Waitress (1981)(as Samuel Weil)
  • The First Turn On!! (1983)(as Samuel Weil)
  • Stuck On You (1984)(as Samuel Weil)
  • The Toxic Avenger (1985)(as Samuel Weil)
  • Class of Nuke 'Em High (1986)(as Samuel Weil) (co-directed with Richard W. Haines)
  • Troma's War (1988)(as Samuel Weil)
  • The Toxic Avenger Part II and The Toxic Avenger Part III: The last Temptation of Toxie (1989)
  • Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. (1991)
  • Tromeo and Juliet (1996)
  • Terror Firmer (1999) (based on his book All I Needed To Know About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger)
  • Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV (2000)
  • All The Love You Cannes (2002)
  • Tales From The Crapper (2004)
  • Poultrygeist: Attack of the Chicken Zombies! (2005)


  • All I Need to Know About Filmmaking I Learned from the Toxic Avenger (1998)
  • Make Your Own Damn Movie: Secrets of a Renegade Director (2003)

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Lloyd Kaufman