Terror Firmer (1998)

DVD Cover (Troma Entertainment)
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Overall Rating 60%
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Ranked #4,745
...out of 14,101 movies
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This is the story of a low budget film crew, led by their blind film director Larry Benjamin, trying to make some art. In addition to the typical trials and travails of a Troma set, the crew finds themselves set upon by a sexually conflicted, bomb bearing serial killer. Production assistant Jennifer struggles to succeed on set and to decide between the two men in her life - straitlaced Casey and over the edge Jerry. This threesome heats up as the killer draws even nearer. As the insanity increases and the bodies amass, the crew bands together (both physically and sexually) against the threat in their midst. --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: December 23, 2007
So, what have I learned from tonight's film, Terror Firmer? Could it be that independent filmmakers are an eclectic bunch who go through great pains for their art? Well, that's true, but that's not what I took away from the film. How about the fact that those guys over at Troma really know how to please their fans while offending just about everyone in the process? Again, that's a true statement, but that wasn't the high point of the film. No, what I learned from watching what has been called one of Troma's shining moments is that Steven Spielberg's biggest fans are usually confused hermaphrodites who played a little too much "Hide the Salami" with Ron Jeremy as children.

Based extremely loosely on Lloyd Kaufman's All I Need to Know About Filmmaking I Learned from The Toxic Avenger (read: the similarities are pretty much limited to the fact that they're both about independent filmmaking), Terror Firmer takes place on the set of the newest Toxic Avenger sequel. This particular sequel is being directed by a blind director (Lloyd Kaufman, appropriately enough) who feels that there's no such thing as too much gore, explosions, or gratuitous nudity, but the real story is taking place behind the cameras.

You see, there's a bizarre little love triangle forming, as production assistant Jennifer (Alyce LaTourelle) has fallen for Casey (Will Keenan), the boom operator, but at the same time, special effects guy Jerry (Trent Haaga) is trying to win Jennifer's heart. Oh, and there's also that little thing about a psychopath knocking off the cast and crew in extremely grisly ways, in what appears to be an attempt to shut down the entire production. Hilarity ensues, and the normal Troma alumni - Debbie Rochon, Ron Jeremy, Lemmy, Joe Franklin, Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Joe Fleishaker, and Lloyd's daughter Charlotte Kaufman - show up in roles that range from minor to mere cameos.

Before I get down to business, I should say that Terror Firmer is a film made exclusively for the Troma fans out there, even more so than their usual fare. You see, the entire thing almost plays as one big inside joke regarding the company's history and productions; most of their biggest stars (in terms of both actors and characters) show up in one way or another, and there's a lot of jokes that would easily go over your head if you're not experienced in the ways of Troma Entertainment. Hell, I consider myself to be a decently big fan of the company, and there were things in here that even I didn't quite get; needless to say, the casual fan doesn't stand much of a chance with this one and should probably start elsewhere when popping their Troma cherry.

Now, with that said, let me repeat myself: Terror Firmer is a film made exclusively for the Troma fans. Those of you who know what you're getting into when you pick up a Troma release will be in for a treat here, as they've taken everything that put them on the map and cranked it up to eleven. Gratuitous nudity, over-the-top violence, gallons of gore, fart jokes, offensiveness, and yes, even a montage of an obese man streaking through New York with his penis flapping in the wind is all on display here, and personally, I couldn't have been happier with the final product.

Really, my only true complaint with the film is that it takes a while to get going. The first thirty minutes (give or take) are pretty slow, and although there was some humorous moments to be found in there, a large number of the jokes simply fell flat. However, once things start to pick up, they really start to pick up, and from there, it's one hell of a ride. Where else can you see a man have his leg ripped off, at which point, the ripper picks up the limb and beats the man to death with it? Oh, and that twist ending? Pure fucking genius.

Troma fans should already have this one on their shelves, but if not, shame on you - it really does live up to the hype for the most part. Everyone else should start somewhere else in the Troma catalog, but if you like what you see there, definitely give this one some love. 8/10.
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