Reviews | Written by Martin Unsworth 31/08/2020

#SHAKESPEARES SHITSTORM [Fantasia 2020]

CERT: TBC / RELEASE DATE: TBC

We all know Troma Films are the cinematic equivalent of Marmite. With #ShakespearesShitstorm, Lloyd Kaufman and the residents of Tromaville have broken all the boundaries they have leapt over before and created the perfect blend of the Bard and social commentary.

Using the template of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, we have a classic tale of revenge. Prospero (Kaufman) has been humiliated and pushed out of his pharmaceutical company for daring to reveal the fact that they merely exist to make money from the sick. His wife commits suicide, leaving their daughter Miranda (Kate McGarrigle) traumatised into blindness. Maddened into plotting revenge, he creates mutant animals (ahem… an Armadildo and a male chicken called Dicke…) rather than cure his offspring. To be fair, he finds her struggle amusing. However, his real plot is about to take shape. The victims are his former partners, the coke-fuelled Big Al (Abraham Sparrow) and Antoinette (Kaufman in drag), the latter being his sister, who are celebrating the launch of Safespacia, a pill that will keep its users safe from all the things in the real world that might upset them. Also coming under attack are social media ‘influencers’ and the growing army of offended-at-anything people who are ready to crash their party.

Although all the Troma tropes are here - whether it’s the copious nudity, irreverent musical numbers, or the titular shitstorm that takes place at the start of the film thanks to some whales that have been fed laxative - but when it comes to the satire, it doesn’t pull punches. It’s straight-talking, but doesn’t take too many cheap shots. While big pharma deserves all that’s thrown at it, the ‘woke’ are not presented as cheap caricatures. It’s not their principles that are spoofed - it’s the ones that only resent those opinions when streaming to social media or looking for approval. They are too busy looking to be offended that they overlook things that should offend them. Only by becoming literally diverse can Prospero be accepted by them.

Fans of Troma need not worry, though. This isn’t preaching to them, they are already ‘in the know’ when it comes to acceptance of differences and the like. If you’re looking for gross-out humour and over the top action (that car crash makes a welcome appearance, of course), you won’t be disappointed. There’s even a sequence that almost out-does Brian Yunza’s Society for body horror.

This is probably Troma’s pièce de résistance, a film in which all the elements come together to create one marvellous magnum opus. The satire, gross-out humour, use of Shakespeare and complete irreverence work perfectly. It’s even better than Derek Jarman’s version of the story. It’s never going to be for everyone’s taste, but that doesn’t matter. Lloyd speaks from his heart and it’s important to hear. Look beyond the poo and boobs to find a message that can save the world. Or at least Tromaville. Independent cinema needs people like Kaufman, and free speech needs independent cinema.

Please note delivery times may be affected by the current global situation. Dismiss