Reviews | Written by Martin Unsworth 20/09/2018

TOXIC SCHLOCK

What do you get when you throw a naked serial killer, three friends who are attempting to escape some virus outbreak, zombies, a trans father, his child-like adult daughter and gimp son? Well, we’re still not exactly sure ourselves, but it’s a bonkers mishmash that will certainly appeal to lovers of low budget bizarro cinema.

While the Seaside Strangler - who is roaming the coast topping off locals - is making the news (in broadcasts voiced by Troma head honcho Lloyd Kaufman), a cross-dressing guest house owner allows a trio of eco-terrorists to stay (for a price, obviously). They’re on the run after attempting to expose an undead outbreak caused by some radioactive ooze and have clearly picked the wrong place to keep a low profile. As the bodies mount up on the beach, the dead start to rise…

British independent filmmakers often have to do some crazy things to make their way in the business, and sometimes that includes selling your soul to Uncle Lloyd at Troma. Now, don’t get us wrong, we love the Troma ethos and the fact they get things done at any (or no) cost, but they have nurtured an ‘odd for odd’s sake’ mentality that sometimes does little for the talent behind the cameras.

Writer/directors Tony Newton and Sam Mason-Bell are used to getting as much as they can from a zero budget, and they certainly go all-out to ingratiate themselves into the Troma ways, throwing all manner of gloop, weirdness and full-screen cock shots our way. Some of it doesn’t work, but it’s all in keeping with what we’ve come to expect from the studio. There’s an ‘end of the pier panto feel’ to it all, with everything exaggerated to the max. A better sound mix would have helped during the exposition scenes (yep - there is some semblance of plot!) but like the occasional (intentional) bad acting, it’s perfectly in keeping when taken in the context of what the filmmakers were attempting. Surprisingly, there’s some attempt at social commentary along the way too, from the eco-warriors and brexit to the treatment of trans people, which no matter how bizarrely its presented, is not mocked or made a figure of ridicule.

It’s certainly not for everyone, but if you’re seeking out a Troma film, you should know and deserve everything you get.

TOXIC SCHLOCK / CERT: TBC / DIRECTORS & SCREENPLAY: TONY NEWTON, SAM MASON-BELL / STARRING: SUZY WEATHERALL, MARTIN W. PAYNE, SIMON BERRY, CHRIS MILLS, REBECCA ROLPH / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

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