Toxie Schlock Syndrome

Photo: Brad Paris for New York Magazine

Lloyd Kaufman, the owner of Hell’s Kitchen–based Troma Entertainment and director of such low-budget adolescent-boy films as Tromeo and Juliet and Class of Nuke ’Em High—Takashi Miike meets South Park—has written a novel. It tells the story of Toxie, an abused janitor from Tromaville, New Jersey, who’s transformed by a vat of toxic waste into a tutu-wearing, pustule-covered, evildoer-dismembering babe magnet who was the star of Kaufman’s 1985 cult hit, The Toxic Avenger (and three sequels). Kaufman spoke to Brian Kennedy.

Why’d you write this book?
A lot of people think Tromaville exists! I do interviews at the Cannes Film Festival, and a lot of people actually think that we’re located in Tromaville. So I said, “Let’s write a full-blown novel.”

Where did you get the idea for Toxie?
Like all the films I’ve done, they come out of the newspapers. I would read about toxic-waste dumps ticking away like time bombs, and I would think, So here we are eating vitamins and vegetarian food, and meanwhile despoiling the planet. So that was kind of a theme that came up. I majored in Chinese studies at Yale, and Taoism was a big thing for me, the yin and the yang. And then Frankenstein. I always liked Frankenstein and always wanted the monster to live.

Do you have another novel in you?
Well, we’ve got a proposal out that nobody wants regarding [the upcoming zombie chicken film] Poultrygeist. My agent doesn’t even want it, so he won’t give it to anybody. We want to do kind of a Rashomon about Poultrygeist. It’ll tell the story, but it’ll also be a behind-the-scenes novel … Have you read The Poisonwood Bible? It’s marvelous, and it’s a wonderful novel told from four or five points of view. So it’d be kind of a Rashomoron. Next: iPod Party Pirates

Toxie Schlock Syndrome