Your new movie Dolphinman
Battles the Sex Lobsters - in a few words, what is it about?
Love! Explosions! Tromaville! Heroics! Ireland!
How did you actually come up with that ingenious title itself, and what was
there first, the story or the title?
obsessed with the heroes of Tromaville. My idea was to create a team-up
picture featuring Dolphinman
Kabukiman NYPD (Toxie is always
conveniently on a Hawaiian vacation in my Dolphinman
shorts). The story
came when I resurrected an old sketch I had about an extreme STD called
‘lobsters’. You thought crabs were bad?! Lobsters are worse! Kabukiman
spreading lobsters around Tromaville’s orgy spots seemed funny to me,
and Dolphinman stepping up to find a cure sealed the plot.
short was originally titled “Dolphinman vs The Sex Lobsters”, but I
had already made Dolphinman vs Turkeyman for Thanksgiving 2015, and
Kabukiman vs Dracula for April Fool’s Day 2016, so I needed to get
away from the ‘versus’ moniker. ‘Battles’ it was!
Battles the Sex Lobsters being firmly rooted in Troma
mythology (besides being produced by the company and featuring Lloyd
Kaufman in a guest spot) - are Troma
movies something you've got a soft spot for privately, and some of your
was a young boy when Troma
came into my life, probably nine years old. One
of the first times I stayed up past midnight watching TV in my basement,
Class of Nuke ‘Em High Part 2 came on cable. I was transfixed. I
couldn’t believe it was a real movie. There was so much going on --
comedy, horror, gore, nudity, a mutant squirrel. It was surreal,
confusing, hilarious… all the adjectives! I found Lisa Rowland’s
Subhumanoid character both attractive and repulsive. A mouth where her
belly button should be? It was a major mind fuck for a kid to witness!
Definitely a life changing cinematic experience. The next weekend I went
to the video store and rented The Toxic Avenger 2 and 3. I’ve been a fan
dig a lot of Troma
movies. Some major favorites, besides the ones already
mentioned: Tromeo and Juliet,
Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, Redneck
Zombies, The Toxic Avenger,
Mother's Day, Father’s
Day, and Cannibal! The Musical.
Other sources of inspiration when writing Dolphinman
Battles the Sex Lobsters - and how much of the movie was actually
based on the script, how much just improvised on set?
wrote a story outline first, then a ten-page script. The script was just a
jumping off point, but I was precious about the story. As long as we were
pushing the plot forward, anything was admissible. There was plenty of
improvisation during the shoot. Every actor contributed!
original impetus for Sex Lobsters, unrelated to Dolphinman, came years ago
during a sketch class at the Upright Citizens Brigade in NYC. It was my
first attempt at what they call a “blackout sketch”. The scene was
about a girl admitting to her new boyfriend that she had been living with
a horrible STD, worse than crabs. What could be worse than crabs?
Lobsters! The scene ended with a couple of big guys dressed in full-body
lobster suits running on stage and beating the shit out of the boyfriend.
Blackout! The teacher hated it. I kept the idea in my back pocket and
eventually grafted it onto the Dolphinman/Kabukiman
Battles the Sex Lobsters has an irresistible "anything
goes"-mentality to it - so did you ever fear you'd cross some line or
love all kinds of movies. I have favorites in every genre. Most recently,
I’ve become a fan of extreme cinema, stuff like Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust
[Ruggero Deodato bio - click here].
One day I hope to make a truly fucked movie.
Battles the Sex Lobsters
is almost G-rated in
terms of where I could see pushing myself as a filmmaker and I think
it’s pretty tame in the grand scheme of Troma!
Do talk about Dolphinman
Battles the Sex Lobsters' brand of humour for a bit!
could be a good way to describe the humor. This is an absurd piece of
work, an insane comic book where anything can happen. I like that
Dolphinman’s head is obviously a cheap rubber mask. There were times
when I was editing and I’d land on a Dolphinman freeze frame and it
would make me burst out laughing. His face is frozen in this permanent
idiotic smile. I find it enjoyable when he just nods along in dialogue
scenes. So stupid. I love it. Dumb fun.
can you tell us about your cast, and why exactly these people?
little over a year ago, I was editing footage for Troma’s upcoming
documentary Occupy Cannes. Consistently, my favorite scenes were of
Doug Sakmann in his Kabukiman
costume interacting with people on the
Croisette. He’s a natural as the character. This was before I met him in
person, but I knew I had to work with him, so I developed a psychedelic
online talk show called Kabukiman’s Cocktail Corner. I asked for
permission from Lloyd Kaufman and he gave me the OK to make it. I
contacted Sakmann and asked if he’d do it. He loved the idea. I brought
on Kevin McGinnis as my producer and talent booker and Charlotte Kaufman
as my co-director and DP. We now have a complete first season, four
mid-season specials, and a faux theatrical trailer. We’re currently in
production on season two and planning Season Pi, which could go on
forever. When Dolphinman
Battles the Sex Lobsters was gearing up,
Doug was my only choice for Kabukiman (though I’d eventually like to
have Sakmann and original Kabuki-actor Rick Gianasi team up for a
Tromaville time travel epic,Sgt. Kabukiman and the Trysexual Time
far as the rest of the cast, Gibson Merrick signed on next. He worked at Troma
for a while as PR and head of sales. One day he told me his dream
was to play Dolphinman. Thank Christ! Most people hate being in the mask
and think it’s not a real role because their face is hidden. Not so with
Gibsion. He’s totally committed and brings a great physicality and
personality to the role. When it was time to book the villain,
international superstar Zac Amico was my choice. He really impressed me
with his role in Return to Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 1 and the upcoming Return to Return to Nuke ‘Em High aka Vol. 2”. He’s an endless
well of brilliant suggestions and inspiration. Super Tromette Double
Dementia is the greatest Tromette since the heyday of Troma’s Edge
so casting her was a no brainer. I met Amanda Flowers through producer
Dylan Greenberg [Dylan
Greenberg interview - click here] and her natural charisma added so much to the movie. She
made me believe the love scenes! Brendan O’Cunter asked that I not
mention him, so my lips are sealed.
also like to add that Dylan Greenberg’s Dolphinman Theme, which
plays during the end credits of
Battles the Sex Lobsters,
is a brilliant addition to the short. It’s one of the catchiest songs
I’ve ever heard and harkens back to the great movie themes of the 80s,
like Cyndi Lauper’s Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough or“Ghostbusters by Ray Parker
jr. It’s available here on Bandcamp: https://tromarecords.bandcamp.com/album/dolphinman-soundtrack.
talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
filmed the bulk of this short, and the Kabukiman vs Dracula trailer,
on a Sunday in early March 2016, then shot a couple of pickups a week
later. We utilized the Troma
building and the surrounding areas in
beautiful downtown Long Island City. Our neighbors are used to the Troma
madness, so when they see Dolphins, Lobsters, and Doctors participating in
karate fights and laser battles in the street, it’s just a normal day in
atmosphere was very loose on set. Everyone in the cast and crew
contributed ideas. We had a blast making this thing. I will work with them
all again, 100%.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of your movie yet?
too early to gauge the audience and critical reaction for this short, but
I will say that Troma
fans have been very welcoming and surprisingly
pleasant with their comments on social media and on YouTube. Last year,
right before we released the first episodes of Kabukiman’s Cocktail
Corner, I was prepared for the worst. I thought there would be a
contingency of commenters who would rip the show apart, call us hacks,
wish death upon us, etc. That never happened. Troma
overwhelmingly positive and supportive.
we ever see the Dolphinman
in more adventures, and/or other future projects you'd like to share?
definitely have more Dolphinman
adventures in mind. Next up, I want to do
a short called Dolphinman Duels The She-Sharks, in which Dolphinman
returns to his childhood home just off the coast of Tromaville in the
Atlantic Ocean. My ultimate dream is to write and direct a Dolphinman
feature film called Dolphinman: Escape from Tromatraz. I’ve been
working on the script. Fingers crossed for that!
Battles the Sex Lobsters isn't the first movie featuring Dolphinman
- so what can you tell us about the character's creation and evolution?
John Rieber just put out a piece about the origins of
Dolphinman. Read the
James Gunn (screenwriter of Tromeo and Juliet
and writer/director of Guardians of the Galaxy) and Alex Duda (producer for
E! Entertainment) created Dolphinman
at the Cannes Film Festival in the 90s.
After that, Dolphinman
made an appearance in Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger Part IV.
character stayed dormant until 2015 when I made a promo called The
Return of Dolphinman for the 16th Annual Tromadance Film
Festival. It can be viewed here:
came Dolphinman vs Turkeyman, a 2015 Thanksgiving special:
Battles the Sex Lobsters
is on Troma Now:
a great character!
got you into making movies in the first place, and did you receive any
formal training on the subject?
wanted to make movies since I was a little kid. My family has home videos
of me at five years old where I’m already directing, setting up song and
dance numbers, feeding people jokes to tell, etc.
a teenager, my friends and I created hundreds of hours of skits,
performance art pieces, class projects, documentaries, and a full-length
feature on Hi8 video cameras. Then I made a bunch of student films while
studying filmmaking at C.W. Post.
I’m very excited to be building a body of creative work with Troma
Entertainment, a company I’ve respected and followed for more than two
thirds of my life. Me gusta!
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Dolphinman vs Turkeyman
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Kaufman and Michael Herz, and not just because I currently work for them!
These guys created an independent movie studio that has survived for over
forty-two years, and they’re still going strong. Troma
is a brand name
with brilliant characters and an extensive library of films. Their
in-house movies always contain some sort of political or social statement,
so it’s not just all gore and nudity, though there’s plenty of that to
entertain! I consider Lloyd and Michael filmmaking mentors and I’m
grateful for the opportunities they have given me.
a list of movies I think are infinitely rewatchable. Weird Science,
Goodfellas, Sunset Boulevard, The Naked Gun, The Lost
Boys, Dazed and Confused, Pulp Fiction, Crimes and
Man, West Side Story, Boogie Nights,
Sense, Predator, King Kong (1933),
Raiders of the Lost
Ark, Aliens, Network, Sorcerer, The Thing.
... and of course, films you really
no me gusta!
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
- Watch Dolphinman
Battles the Sex Lobsters
exclusively on the Troma Now
streaming service: http://watch.troma.com/
my previous Dolphinman
shorts and my web series Kabukiman’s Cocktail
Corner on the Troma Movies YouTube Channel:
me on Twitter @badtechno
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
tuned for Lloyd Kaufman’s newest masterpiece Return to Return to Nuke
‘Em High aka Vol. 2 which I co-produced. It will be released by the
end of the summer.
also producing this year’s Tromadance Film Festival, taking place July
29th and 30th at The Paperbox in Brooklyn:
completely free to attend! Come celebrate independent art with us:
for your time!
Thanks for the interview!