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Tromeo and Juliet

USA 1996
produced by
Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman, James Gunn (executive) for Troma
directed by Lloyd Kaufman
starring Jane Jensen, Will Keenan, Valentine Miele, Maximillian Shaun (as William Beckwith), Steve Gibbons, Sean Gunn, Debbie Rochon, Stephen Blackehart, Flip Brown, Earl McKoy, Gene Terinoni, Wendy Adams, Tamara Craig Thomas, Antonia Lurie, Jacqueline Tavarez, Steve Loniewski, John Fiske, Garon Peterson, Tiffany Shepis, Joe Fleishaker, Peter James Kelsch, Manon Kelley, Joseph Anthony, Caroline Smith, Steve Roberts, Liz Ip, James Gunn, Kathleen Warner, Brian Stefanovic, Marko Stefanovic, Lloyd Kaufman, Craig Adams, Charis Michelsen, Merle Allin, Neil Ruddy, Lauren Danielle Gold, Karl Unger jr, Ralph Villela, Lisbeth Kaufman, Charlotte Kaufman, Evan Roberts, Giovanni Giaconi, Brian McCarey, David Bertolino, Brian Fox
screenplay by Jason Green, James Gunn, Lloyd Kaufman, based on the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, music by Willie Wisely, special effects by Louie Zakarian

Romeo and Juliet

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Decdades ago, Cappy Capulet (Maximillian Shaun) and Monty Que (Earl McKoy) have set up a porn production company, but then Cappy managed to somehow trick Que out of his shares in the business, and now their two families are bitter enemies.

Juliet Capulet (Jane Jensen) is being forced by her father Cappy to marry London Arbuckle (Steve Gibbons), who's big in the meat business, even though she hates his guts and is a vegetarian. Then at a party, she meets Tromeo (Will Keenan), son of Monty, and without knowing who the respective other is, the two kids fall in love - and they remain in love once they find out, primarily because Tromeo has never cared much about the family feud, and Juliet just wants to break free from her family, especially her abusive father and her disgusting husband-to-be. Of course, their romance only fuels the feud, but that doesn't affect them in the least, on the contrary, they secretly marry just to make it impossible for Arbuckle to marry her.

Then though, daddy Cappy gets his hands on Juliet again, and he literally tortures her into submission, so much so that she agrees to do his bidding and eat meat ... but she, Tromeo and their only friend, a pedophilic priest (Flip Brown) make up a plan - a plan that involves turning Juliet into a monster on the day of her wedding.

With the wedding only minutes away, Arbuckle gets to face his monster bride - and in shock he throws himself out of the next window to his death. Enter daddy, who is shocked that her monster daughter has destroyed his chance to become part of the meat business, and he violently starts beating her up - which is when Tromeo arrives, and he helps Juliet kill Cappy in the most violent of ways.

Happy ending?

Not yet. With Cappy gone, Tromeo and Juliet learn that they are actually brother and sister, something that has long been kept a two-family secret - but now they know they figure they have already gone too far to turn back now ... and a few years later are blessed with a bunch of deformed kids.

Later indie horror icon Debbie Rochon plays Juliet's cook and part-time lesbian lover, Lemmy of Motörhead fame does the narration.

 

As you would expect from Lloyd Kaufman and Troma, he treats Shakespeare's play only with minimal respect, moving it from sunny Verona to the seedy underbelly of NYC, the world of punks, drunkards, porn producers and general lowlives, equips the whole thing with enough gross-out humour to last a lifetime, and adds a twist happy ending to the proceedings. Yet in my opinion, to state Shakespeare would rotate in his grave because of this bastardization would be an exaggeration, because in essence, Shakespeare had a sense of humour and would probably have preferred Tromeo and Juliet to Baz Luhrman's rather forced forced gangster adaptation Romeo + Juliet, also from 1996.

In all, Tromeo and Juliet is far from a perfect movie, its humour is rather moronic, its special effects are crude, and its direction is very basic and functional - but there is something very honest about this film in a low budget movie way: Basically, it's completely unpretentious, it doesn't take itself or the play it's based on too seriously, always goes for the cheap joke or the gore scene should need arise, doesn't give a ratfart about political correctness, throws in a few naked tits to keep the (mostly male) audiences happy, and it moves the story along at a swift enough pace to keep everybody entertained.

Now all of this doesn't exaclty make a great film - but an entertaining one at least.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
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starring
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out now on DVD