Following in the footsteps of Mosfilm, who put a hundreds of films from their Soviet back catalog onto YouTube for free (you can read our guide to them here), the American studio Troma has spent the past two weeks uploading 96 free videos. Whereas Mosfilm provides you with international cinema treasures like Alexander Nevsky and The Battleship Potemkin, Troma, who both make their own films and distribute otherwise undistributable low-budget sleaze and curios made by others, brings us lesser known classics: movies with titles like Meat Weed Madness, Seduction of a Nerd and COONS: Night of the Bandits of the Night. Also unlike Mosfilm, Troma is offering most of these movies commercial free (!) The giveaway is in celebration of the studio’s 40th anniversary; although the Troma team didn’t announce an expiration date, we can’t imagine that a deal this good will last forever. Watch what you want while you can. To navigate this bewildering maze of titles we brought in Troma fan C. Corvo, who offered up this list of some of the choicer movies available for your viewing pleasure. If you mention other titles in the comments section, we may add them to this list. You can find all the free Troma movies on their Tromamovies channel.
The Chosen One: Legend of the Raven (1998) – This film is presented for free by Troma with a commentary by the director attached (at least for the first couple scenes). As a fan of commentaries, I prefer tales of low budget filmmaking to the stories of Hollywood filmmaking, and for that reason alone this title comes “Highly Recommended.” Also, Carmen Electra looks amazing in an early (and substantial) appearance. Watch The Chosen One: Legend of the Raven free on YouTube.
Class of Nuke’Em High 2: Subhumanoid Meltdown (1991) – The first film isn’t up yet but for now we have the two sequels to the original Class of Nuke’Em High. In this entry toxic waste causes yet more havoc in Tromaville. Keep an eye out for the Toxic Avenger, giant mutant squirrels and constant fourth wall breaks. Watch Class of Nuke’Em High 2: Subhumanoid Meltdown free on YouTube.
Frostbiter: Legend of the Wendigo (1995) – An amateurish portrayal of what happens when you unleash the curse of the mythological Wendigo! This movie goes for laughs and is mostly successful, in my opinion. This one also goes by the title Frostbiter, Wrath of the Wendigo. Watch Frostbiter: Legend of the Wendigo free on YouTube.
Lollilove (2004) – Mockumentary about a delusional rich couple’s mission to help the homeless by distributing lollipops with positive sentiments written on them. A very funny film, this is also notable for being the directorial debut of Jenna Fischer (Pam from “The Office”), who also stars. Watch Lollilove free on YouTube.
Mad Dog Morgan (1976) – Dennis Hopper does a terrific job of portraying the real life 1800’s outlaw in this striking Ozploitation picture. Fast paced and skillfully directed by a young Philippe Mora (The Howling 2, The Howling 3, and Communion), this is essential for any Hopper fan. Watch Mad Dog Morgan free on YouTube.
New Gladiators (1984) - Upon an initial viewing I was ready to label this a rip off of The Running Man, but in fact this 80s Lucio Fulci effort predates the Schwarzenegger hit by a couple of years. Visually, this is Fulci in top form, displaying some of his best work. Not a great film by any means but this is still a must for fans of Italian genre cinema, and it’s one of Troma’s more interesting titles. Watch New Gladiators free on YouTube.
Pigs (1972) – Utterly bizarre seventies horror film follows a young girl’s escape from an insane asylum. Imprisoned for killing her abusive father, she finds yet more trouble when she becomes employed by a creepy farmer who might have a few secrets of his own. Watch Pigs free on YouTube.
Poultry in Motion (2008) – This documentary about the making of Troma’s Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead ends up being more entertaining than the actual movie. One of the more intriguing looks at low budget filmmaking that I have seen. Especially interesting is the plentiful footage of Lloyd Kaufman yelling at his volunteer crew. Watch Poultry in Motion free on YouTube.
Redneck Zombies (1989) – If you ever wondered what would happen if rednecks mistook toxic waste for moonshine, this is the film for you! Z-grade nonsense that is good for a laugh if you’re appropriately intoxicated. Watch Redneck Zombies free on YouTube.
Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. (1990) – One of Troma’s most beloved heroes comes to the screen in this excellent action/comedy. Possessed by the spirit of a Kabuki master, our hero fights evil in one of Troma’s most popular and entertaining films. Watch Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. free on YouTube.
Skeleton Coast (1988) – This title drew me in with its prestigious cast, including Ernest Borgnine, Oliver Reed, and Robert Vaughn. Unfortunately this is a bland no-budget action flick worth viewing only for Oliver Reed’s inspired, over-the-top performance. Watch Skeleton Coast free on YouTube.
Splendor and Wisdom (2008) – Troma Founder Lloyd Kaufman documents the 35th reunion of the Yale class of 1968 in this documentary. This is primarily a recording of activist William Sloane Coffin’s final speech before his death. Topics covered include war and civil rights, and there is a large focus on fellow Yale Alumni George Bush Jr. Obviously deeply personal to Kaufman, this explores some of the political ideas that would form the basis of Troma’s films. Watch Splendor and Wisdom free on YouTube.
The Toxic Avenger (1984) – This is Troma’s most famous movie and serves as the best introduction to their style. If you don’t like this one then you probably won’t be into the others, so it’s a good place to start. (We have a review of The Toxic Avenger here – ed.). Watch The Toxic Avenger free on YouTube.
Troma’s War (1988) - The studio’s biggest budget effort is one of their most disappointing. In terms of cinematography and music it ranks among their highest achievements. Unfortunately, the jokes don’t really work and the endless action loses its luster soon into its running time. Watch Troma’s War free on YouTube.
Tromeo and Juliet (1996) - James Gunn, the future writer/director of such Hollywood fare as Scooby Doo and Slither, got his start with Troma and co-wrote this nineties effort. This takeoff on Shakespeare’s famous play adds tons of the over-the-top nudity and violence that we expect from Troma. (This is by far our favorite Troma movie thus far: in fact, we certified it weird – ed.) Watch Tromeo and Juliet free on YouTube.
The Wedding Party (1963/1969) – This is one of Brian De Palma’s first films, also notable for featuring the first onscreen appearance of Robert De Niro (this was shot 1963 but not released until 1969). A black and white comedy, this is nothing like the Hitchcockian thrillers De Palma later became famous for, but fans should be interested in seeing the extensive experimentation with film speed and editing that he indulges in here. Watch The Wedding Party free on YouTube.
Selections and synopses by C. Corvo.