Admit it, guys… we all love the Monster Hero! Bloody Disgusting does, I do and I’m pretty sure that each and every one of our dear readers do as well! Needless to say, I was psyched as all hell when the news about a first teaser trailer for Toxic Twins – the Atomic Hero’s fifth cinematic adventure – had surfaced from the rotten gutters of Tromaville.
I didn’t hesitate for a second and immediately sent out a couple of interview questions to the lovely Suzi Lorraine, who is not only a welcome Tromaville regular, but also one of the lead actresses of the fifth Toxic Avenger that’s currently in pre-production. And for Bloody Disgusting, the NY-based Scream Queen exclusively talked about all things Toxie… and then some!
Enjoy the read, fellow Tromites!
SUZI LORRAINE: “That’s right. I shot a few DVD intros and promos for Troma in the past, and I’ve run into Lloyd at a few conventions over the years. I initially met Lloyd through my good friend Isabelle Stephen. I’ve been a fan of Troma ever since I saw THE TOXIC AVENGER. I love the way they mix horror and humor. The “too much is never enough” mantra definitely applies to Troma! And it’s really cool that Troma Studios are now about 5 miles from where I live. Very convenient. I also did a promo recently for Troma for Lloyd’s book, ALL I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FILMMAKING I LEARNED FROM THE TOXIC AVENGER.”
BD: Cool. That’s the only book of Lloyd’s that I haven’t read yet. Does it mean they’re doing a re-print of it soon?
SL: “Yes, I think it might be a reprint. He coauthored with James Gunn. You must check out this great opus!”
BD: Awesome! With the new TOXIC AVENGER being filmed soon, it might be just about the right time to make that book available again. And speaking of the new TOXIE, do you still remember what went through your head the moment Lloyd told you he wanted to you for his next movie? I mean, throughout their career, Troma have come up with a whole bunch of more or less iconic characters such as Sgt. Kabukiman, Tromie the Giant Squirrel, the Tromasaurus or the Chicken Zombies of POULTRYGEIST. But there’s no denying, I think, that Toxie is and always will be their most popular and well-received character of all…
SL: “I believe the TOXIC AVENGER 5 is still in pre-production, heavy on the “pre”. The script is in progress and not yet completed. I haven’t officially been cast in TOXIE 5. Troma called me to be a part of the teaser trailer. I’m hopeful they will cast me in the film as well.”
BD: Fingers crossed. Can you already let us know a bit about said trailer? Where has it been shot, what part did you play in it and, most important, what does it already reveal about everybody’s favorite monster hero’s fifth adventure?
SL: “I’m totally psyched for this film. The “Toxie Babies” that I worked with on the teaser trailer were great. They were so excited to be in their young Toxie masks! It was shot in Long Island City, close to Troma headquarters. It was freezing that day, and all of the scenes were filmed outdoors. For one of the scenes, bodies of “victims” were mutilated, bloodied, and piled high atop one another on the snowy ground. My character is walking along with a friend, and just happen to come upon this grisly scene. First we notice the bodies, and start screaming. Screaming excessively, as it is a Troma film. Then we glance to the right, and see Toxie, the hideously deformed superhero himself, and then we start screaming again. After a few seconds, I grab my friend and we take off in the other direction, running, arms flailing, still screaming of course. Very subtle. We were wearing skimpy clothing (of course), and would wait till the last second before removing our coats. Toward the end, my feet began to freeze and I realized I couldn’t feel my toes. I was just hoping I wouldn’t trip as I was running. Although if I did, they’d probably leave it in, as it would fit in well with Troma humor. I can’t tell you how many times I tripped while running in a horror movie, and the editor’s just like “Hey, that kinda works. Let’s leave it in”. I used to show horses when I was younger, and my trainer nicknamed me “Grace”. Yup.”
BD: Sounds pretty awesome so far! I mean, mutilated bodies and lightly clad girls alone should be enough to make any Troma fan more than happy… and now Lloyd’s even thrown in some toxic babies as well.
SL: “You can’t go wrong with Toxic babies! The more the merrier! And these kids were so cute and such troopers.”
BD: Did Lloyd already tell you anything about the babies’ role in the film? Since the title is “Toxic Twins,” I suppose they won’t just have bit parts, will they?
SL: “He didn’t tell me anything about their roles. I’m hoping they have featured roles, but I’m just not sure yet. It may still be up in the air, if the script is still as work in progress as I believe it to be. May there be 856 Toxie babies running amok!”
BD: Ah, ok… so what expectations do you have for TOXIE V not only as a Troma fan but also as an actress? Would you e.g. prefer the movie to be as gritty as the first part, as over-the-top as the second part or as fucked-up as the fourth part? Or probably even a mixture of all this and more?
SL: “I think a combo of all of those elements would be ideal! There is definitely a “Troma formula” that the fans really dig, and this includes equal parts of horror, gross out humor, copious gore, over-acting, and a heartwarming and un- PC “anti-hero” such as Toxie.”
BD: Speaking of political correctness (or rather the lack of it), I think I’m not exaggerating when I say that especially the fourth TOXIE movie is one of the most un-PC films ever made. Personally, I gotta say I absolutely love Lloyd’s ballsy and taboo breakin’ attitude but I can also understand if people just shake their heads in disbelief at the fucked-up happenings they’re just following on their TV screen. Do you think that Troma sometimes goes a little bit too much beyond the boundaries of good taste? Or do you think that it’s rather healthy and necessary to have guys like ’em around who’re not willing to stop at anything? And could you imagine that Lloyd would ever come up with an idea that’s so sick and twisted that you’d rather not do it? Or do you trust and understand him enough to go along with just about anything he puts into his scripts and flicks?
SL: “Well, what I like about Lloyd’s style is that it is equal opportunity exploitation, meaning no one is left out of the equation or immune to the jokes and ribbing. He doesn’t just mock one group of people–he makes sure to mock all of them with his twisted satirical humor. I like the fact that he pushes boundaries, and takes risks. One of the things that irritates me about Hollywood/studio films is that they often tend to play it “safe”. With independent film, you have much more leeway to do something really crazy or out of left field, and you don’t have studio execs to answer to. And people have to realize exactly how tongue in cheek Troma films tend to be. You gotta have a sense of humor, and take it with a grain of salt. And as a Troma actor, I think you have to be able to poke fun at yourself and be self-deprecating. Life is so difficult, so serious and so hard. Troma films provide an excellent escape from the “real world”. So you gotta suspend disbelief, and just enjoy the ride. And I really think comedy is the most noble film genre. Laughter is so healing and cathartic–it’s a natural high! To make people laugh, now that’s a noble thing! Whether it’s making them laugh via crack head jokes, deformed monsters, or brain dead damsels in distress. I think if people are offended, they need to ligthen up and pull the stick out of their asses!”
BD: Absolutely. And, as you’ve said earlier, there’s also always something really heartwarming underneath all the filth ‘n gore ‘n mayhem… I like that a lot too. Troma films are never really mean or nasty, but they’re always good fun and no matter how much blood Lloyd spills on screen, in the end he always lifts you up with his movies rather than drags you down.
SL: “I think you hit the nail on the head. Troma films are nothing like the “torture porn” films of late. There is nearly consistent levity amidst the horror. And the horror and gore is always so plentiful, that it lends itself to comedy. Blood spurting for minutes on end, pounds and pounds and pounds of intestines that in no way could have come from only one human… it is dark and twisted, but yet there’s still something playfully refreshing about it.”
BD: Earlier during our conversation, you mentioned that you’re not the biggest fan of Hollywood’s “play it safe” approach to movies. So I wonder what your personal opinion is about the rumors of Tinseltown having bought the rights for a PG-13 remake of THE TOXIC AVENGER? As far as I know, the director of HOT TUB TIME MACHINE has already been hired for this project. Do you have any hope that this might actually turn out fine against all odds? Or do you think that the big studios should rather have left Toxie alone and announced a 27th part of SAW instead?
SL: “I mean, it’s possible they could turn out a gem, but I worry that once a big studio glosses it over, “PG-13- ifies” it, homogenizes it, and shines it like a brand new penny, that it could lose some of the charm and grit and rawness of the classic. I just saw SCREAM 4, and it’s just so, well, formulaic. And shiny. And predictable. Just not my cup of tea. However, for the record, I did really enjoy the first SAW.”
BD: Generally speaking, what do you think is the secret of Toxie’s success? I mean, let’s face it, he’s neither the hottest guy in town nor the sharpest tool in the shed and still he’s been the star of four feature films, one animated TV series and countless promo clips so far and he also has his own t-shirts, theme song, fan club and God knows what else! Why does everybody love the Monster Hero?
SL: “I think Toxie just has that certain je ne sais quoi. He’s full of personality, and bigger than life. He is endearing because he is humble and fallible. People can relate to him, and even more, sympathize with him. And of course root for him, whether he’s killing bad guys or chasing strange tail…”
BD: When you’re not busy babysitting toxic infants or fleeing from monster heroes, you’re also writing all kinds of articles for several international horror mags and producing films of your own. So what can you tell us about these professions of yours? If I’m not mistaken, you’ve not only got a new gig as a columnist lately but also signed a distribution deal for your movie WON TON BABY…
SL: “Yes, devil babies abound! They never cease to amuse! Speaking of which, WON TON BABY, the movie that I co-produced with James Morgart, recently obtained international distribution thru R Squared Films. We are anticipating a DVD release the last quarter of 2011. Stay tuned! We are also in pre-production on the sequel. It will be just as politically incorrect and riotous as the first! Expect a lot of “No, they didn’t!” moments… combined with heartwarming tales of parasitic twin family bonding.
In terms of my writing, I was a staff writer for the UK’s “Gorezone” Magazine for over 5 years, from issue # 5 until their demise a few months ago. Prior to that, I wrote for the Italian “Horror Mania” Magazine for 2 years. “Horror Mania” was where my horror writing career spawned. I’ve just recently signed on as a monthly columnist for “Virus” Magazine in Germany. I’m thrilled to be writing for this outstanding genre magazine! I am also a columnist for “Shock Horror” Magazine, based in the UK. Additionally, I contribute to “Blood Ceremony” Magazine in Finland, and “BioGamer Girl” Magazine in the US. While all are horror related, each of these magazines are really diverse and have their own individual style and slant. I write totally different columns for each. “Blood Ceremony”, for example, tends toward underground cinema, focusing on the dark and disturbing. They really like to push the envelope when it comes to things cutting edge and macabre! “Shock Horror”, on the other hand, has a great love of classic horror and monster movies. It is more traditional in this sense. It is also lovingly fine tuned to the “dark comedy” elements of horror…”
BD: Thanks a lot for the interview, Suzi, and good luck with the next TOXIE movie and all your other upcoming projects! As always, I leave the famous last words to you.
SL: “Keep supporting independent horror! Attend local film festivals, conventions, indie film screenings, and support cutting edge indie movies that aren’t studio driven. This is the only way to escape the groundhog day that is Hollywood Re-Make city! Oh, and if you see a baby Toxie or a baby Won Ton Baby, tell them I said hello. And don’t pet them, for God’s sake… I’m pretty sure they bite.”