St John Karp

Ramblings of an Ornamental Hermit

“Tromeo and Juliet” (1996)

Encyclopedia of movie night knowledge, page 15:

PHASE ONE

Definition: Phase 1, also known as phase one, is the introductory period of each Wednesday movie night, in which Parker and St John exchange information regarding their personal lives.

A typical movie night involves Parker prattling on about himself for an overlong period, and St John stating that he is “so tired.” Other topics are occasionally introduced.

Daniel Johnston and his backing guitarist.
Daniel Johnston and his backing guitarist from their Tiny Desk Concert.

Me: Am I allowed to talk about how much you look like Daniel Johnston’s backing guitarist?

Parker: He does resemble me.

Me: Resemble? It’s uncanny. You need to have a conversation with your mum, see if you have a secret brother who she sold to the circus for a bottle of Jack Daniels and half a pack of menthols.

Parker: I’m getting a haircut tomorrow.

Me: Will you get that nasty little emo comb-forward? Just go in and ask for the Hitler. And see if you can pick up a pair of those too-cool-for-school glasses too.

Parker: Ugh — I know. I’d hate to have yellow/orange-tinted glasses. Maybe he’s looking at a lot of computer monitors.

Tromeo and Juliet.

Meanwhile, after phase one, it’s time for Tromeo and Juliet (1996). Is this the one with the penis monster? Is this the one with the penis monster?? YES! It is! Hahaa, so whatever else you’re going to see tonight, there’s going to be a penis monster. You just hope that’s not the best bit of the film. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

This is Troma’s take on the Bard, which means we’re in for our usual assortment of pencil-necks, sluts, punks, meatheads, bimbos, and homicidal maniacs — only this time with Shakespeare gags like “The Merchant of Penis”, “As You Lick It”, and “Much Ado About Humping”.

Sammy gets his head stuck in a car window.

Me: Jesus, this guy gets his fingers cut off, now he’s got this fire hydrant-shaped gash in his head.

Parker: He seems to invite infection.

It's the penis monster!

There’s not much to say about the plot of this — it’s Romeo and Juliet, one of the most well-known stories of all time. Which makes me wonder why they spent so much time on it. This movie is 107 minutes long, and it’s not all just Troma antics. About 50% of that actually seems to be a genuine attempt to build romance and intrigue. Which makes me wonder, god why? No-one’s here to watch Romeo and Juliet, we’ve already seen Romeo and Juliet. We just want some Troma antics. Like these ones.

Juliet's pregnant belly full of popcorn, rats, and maggots.

Parker: Juliet’s actually doing proper acting.

Me: What movie does she think she’s in? She’s got popcorn and rats exploding out of her pregnant belly. Put away your degree from Juilliard, this isn’t that kind of movie.

The ghosts haunt Juliet.

Things pick up a little towards the end. Instead of faking her own death, Juliet takes a drug that turns her into a hideous cow-woman so she can scare off her unwanted fiancé. Tromeo barely seems to notice and dives right into making out with that cow face and all the open sores.

Juliet in cow form.
“It’s just acne.”

They drive off into the sunset, even though they’ve just found out they’re brother and sister. They live happily ever after with their deformed mutant children. Aww.

Tromeo and Juliet's mutant kids.

Where’s the Man Candy

This movie has a disturbing preponderance of boobage. Seriously, enough with the tits. I had to see way more lady-nipple than any gay man ought to. I mean honestly, are they supposed to look like that? Can’t anything be done to dress them up a little? Have there been any studies on this?

Tromeo Que.

Still, you can’t say Troma is one-sided. We get a stunning lead in Tromeo. Thanks to this movie there’s probably way more of this guy’s bum floating around the Internet than the actor would like.

Benny Que.

We also get Tromeo’s cousin Benny, who manages to walk around in string vests and tank tops the whole movie and is still pretending to be straight. Oh ducky, give it up, you’re not fooling anyone.

The Skinny

A little girl whose dad's just been hit by a car.

“Well he found a peanut all right, honey. He found a peanut of death.”

This is meant to be one of Troma’s classics, but it’s no Toxic Avenger. To be Francis, I was bored. The Troma bits were good, but this movie takes itself way too seriously with some looooong romance and make-out scenes. According to Wikipedia it went through several iterations entirely in Shakespearean verse before it was rewritten, cut, and funny bits added. And that’s what you’ve got: instead of Troma trashing Shakespeare, it’s Shakespeare with a few Troma bits bolted on. You could easily lose half an hour from this film.