• Terror Firmer (Troma) Blu-ray Review + Screenshot Comparison


    Troma brings one of their very best films, Terror Firmer, to blu-ray in time for its 20th (or 21st) anniversary. How does this disc stand up to the nearly 20 year dvd? Well, you'll just have to read on to find out.


    Studio: Troma
    Release Date: June 20th, 1999 (theatrical)
                                    February 11th, 2020 (blu-ray)
    Run Time: 114 mins
    Region Code: FREE
    Picture: 1080p (1.85:1 aspect ratio)
    Sound: English Dolby Digital 2.0
    Subtitles: No
    Slipcover: No
    Digital Copy: No
    Starring: Rachael Robbins, Will Keenan, Lloyd Kaufman, Trent Haaga, Debbie Rochon, and Ron Jeremy
    Written by Patrick Cassidy and Douglas Buck
    Directed by Lloyd Kaufman
    Rating: Unrated (strong horror violence and gore, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, and language)

    THE FILM


    This is the story of a low budget film crew, led by their blind film director, Larry Benjamin (Lloyd Kaufman/co-founder of Troma Inc.), trying to make some art. In addition to the typical trials and travails of a Troma set, the crew finds themselves set upon by a sexually conflicted, bomb bearing serial killer. Production assistant Jennifer (enchanting Alyce LaTourelle) struggles to succeed on set and to decide between the two men in her life - straitlaced Casey (Will Keenan) and over the edge Jerry (Trent Haaga). This threesome heats up as the killer draws even nearer. As the insanity increases and the bodies amass, the crew bands together (both physically and sexually) against the threat in their midst.

    Terror Firmer is one of my favorite Troma films. The film is filled with so much going on that it almost justifies the nearly two hour run time. The film has everything that makes Troma great: the extremely risque humor, the over the top gore, and the things that we only think about in our heads but never say. I also love how Terror Firmer is an homage to giallo films. Giallo, of course, being the Italian precursor to the American slasher film while also being, many times, a mystery film as well. Here, the killer is a woman who always wears black, including black sunglasses to hide her true identity as well as lending lore to the film being produced within Terror Firmer. Lloyd Kaufman is great as the director of the film within a film as he brings his trademark manic energy to the forefront this time. Will Keenan is also great as the Steven Spielberg/big Hollywood obsessed boom operator who is weird for all the wrong (but right for Troma) ways. Alyce LaTourelle is equally fantastic as a production assistant who gets in over her head as she becomes part of a love triangle.

    It wouldn’t be a Troma film without the gore and nudity and there is an abundant amount found here. We see a woman get her unborn child ripped from her womb, a man horribly murdered with his own bong and Troma’s own Joe Fleishaker get eaten by an escalator. On the nudity front, there is a ton of it from both male and female with the standout scene being when a PA goes to get his head cast done and winds up running through Time Square completely nude. Needless to say but there doesn’t seem like anything is too much for Troma.

    Terror Firmer has been described as the “ultimate Troma film” and I would say that fits pretty well. The film contains the most of anything Troma has done: the most gore, the most nudity, the most un-PC jokes per minute. This film has everything that a Troma fan could ever want and the film, along with Troma, is better for it.

    THE PICTURE AND THE SOUND


    Making its blu-ray debut, and presented in the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, Terror Firmer looks good, but has its problems as well. First, the film looks a bit bright in some scenes. I think that Troma remastered the film without some of the color timing done. We have seen it before with some of their other catalog titles. While the colors seem to be off, I did not find any issues with DNR or any other detail killing crap that has plagued many a film from every company. There is also no macroblocking that found its way into the Troma’s War blu-ray from a few years back. Still, Terror Firmer looks good and shouldn’t be discounted because of the few problems I had with the transfer.

    The sound, in the form of a Dolby Digital track, is Troma as usual. Everything sounds fine and the effects, songs, and dialogue don’t affect each other too much.

    THE PACKAGING




    Both discs are REGION FREE

    THE SCREENSHOT COMPARISONS

    Top = 2001 DVD
    Bottom = 2020 blu-ray












    THE FEATURES




    DISC 1: The Film (1h 54m 20s, HD)


    Introduction by Lloyd Kaufman, Debbie Rochon, and Trent Haaga


    Terror Firmer: A Look Behind the Scenes 20 Years Later (14m 13s, HD)
                    Here is a collection of interviews from Debbie Rochon, Trent Haaga, Joe Lynch, Barry
                    Brisco, Aaron Conte, Ilenna Romero, and Greg Siebel “G Spot” all recounting the
                    making of the film as well as showing their appreciation to Troma for the chance to
                    make a real movie. This is the only new special feature (outside of the introduction
                    and Troma Now! advert) and I wish that it were longer. I really liked this.

                    Audio Commentary(s)

                     -Director Lloyd Kaufman
                     -Stars Will Keenan, Debbie Rochon, and Trent Haaga
                     -Editor Gabriel Friedman

                   Theatrical Trailer (2m 12s, SD)




    DISC 2: Special Features


                   The Farts of Darkness: The Making of Terror Firmer (1h 39m, SD, 1.33:1) This
                   is the first feature length documentary that Troma would do for one of their films
                   and while there are some spots where the doc wavers a bit, it is still immensely
                   entertaining. This was the first time that us Troma fans would get a very detailed
                   look at what its like to be on a Troma set and it isn’t all that appealing, but we
                   all still want to be in a Troma film. There are multiple problems that pop up
                   like the NYPD revoking Troma’s very legit shooting permits for no reason,
                   people working on the film being complete assholes (not the main Troma
                   people but the ones that came to the shoot because they wanted to be a part
                   of Troma by not doing any work), and some really terrible stunts that could
                   have been so much better had Troma hired people who had some talent.
                   Farts of Darkness is a wonderful companion piece to Terror Firmer and
                   should be viewed by anyone who wants the film.


                   Deleted Scenes (16m 14s, SD, 1.85:1 windowboxed) There are 19 scenes
                   here and every one of them was rightfully deleted, although none of them are bad.


                   Auditions (6m 17s, SD, 1.33:1) This is a scene between Alyce LaTourelle
                   and Trent Haaga.


                   Bloopers (6m 14s, SD, 1.85:1 windowboxed)


                   What’s Under the Escalator?  This is a comparison between the comic book
                   and the escalator death scene.


                   Interview with Charlotte Kaufman (2m 42s, SD, 1.33:1) Lloyd Kaufman
                   interviews his daughter, who plays his daughter in the film, about her experiences
                   on the set.

                   #ShakesSpearsShitstorm Trailer (1m 23s, HD)


                   Gyno Talk with Alyce LaTourelle (2m 56s, SD, 1.33:1) A very short interview
                   with the female lead of Terror Firmer.


                   Subscribe to Troma Now! (2m 22s, HD)

           Music Videos:


              -Entombed “Seeing Red” (3m 34s, SD, 1.85:1, 4x3)
           
     
                              -DJ Polo “Freak of the Week” ft Ron Jeremy (3m 37s, SD, 1.33:1)
             

                              -Lunachicks “Say What You Mean” (2m 30s, SD, 1.33:1)

    EDITIONS COMPARISONS

    It should be of note that not everything has made it over to this blu-ray from the nearly 20 year old dvd. The following remains exclusive to the dvd:

    -Original Intro
    -Alternate Footage
    -Commentary for the deleted scenes
    -Option to watch the film with some of the deleted scenes edited back in
    -Original theatrical teaser
    -Terror Firmer soundtrack ad
    -Celebrate Tromadance
    -Play Terror Firmer the Game
            -Radiation March (this is on EVERY Troma release so it feels weird that
              it isn’t on this blu-ray
            -Trailers for Citizen Toxie, Cannibal! the Musical, Unspeakable, and Parts of the Family
            -All Easter Eggs
            -R-rated version (made for Blockbuster Video and Hollywood Video)

    THE CONCLUSION


    THE FILM9
    THE PICTURE7.5
    THE SOUND6
    THE PACKAGING7
    THE FEATURES9

    Summary

    Terror Firmer is one of the best Troma films to date as it pays homage to itself in a way that only Troma can. The film is funny, disgusting, and true Troma. The blu-ray is also very Troma, in all the good and the bad that comes with it. Most of the special features from the dvd have been ported over with the main one missing being the alternate scenes. It is also a shame that Troma did not include the edited version of the film released to Blockbuster Video and Hollywood Video back in the day. That version was also very funny because it made fun of all the changes that Troma had to make just to get the film into the two biggest video store chains at the time. Outside of the omissions, the rest of the features are just fantastic. This is a must have for Troma fans and anyone who wants to try something COMPLETELY different from what they normally watch.
    8.5
    Overall Score


    THE SCREENSHOTS













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