Arm of an unknown fan
How did you first become interested in film?
What are some of your favorite films and who are your favorite filmmakers?
I love Scorsese films, Goodfellas, Mean Streets, Raging Bull, I also love anything from Terrence Malick. Badlands may be my all time favorite. Also anything from Stanley Kubrick. Of course I could go on for a very long time, but I'll leave it at that.
How did you start working with Troma?
While at NYU, I answered an ad from Troma that was placed on the NYU job board looking for crew for The First Turn On! I went for an interview and Lloyd Kaufman, the President of Troma asked me what I wanted to do on the film. I said I like to write, he said "Great, you can help write the script, any thing else?" I said I'd like to be the Script Supervisor, he said done. I should have said "I'd like to direct." Of course it was all unpaid.
|"The First Turn-On!" (1983, Michael Herz & "Samuel Weil")|
As script supervisor on "The First Turn-On!" how would you describe the production?
It was a bunch of kids interested in filmmaking having a lot of fun. No one got paid so everyone was just doing it for the experience.
How did you come to play Georgia Harrell's psycho boyfriend, Dwayne?
On the day we were scheduled to shoot Dwayne's first scene, the actor that was hired to play him was a no show. Lloyd said "Torgl, you play him." the rest is history.
|With Georgia Harrell in "The First Turn-On!"|
What are your memories of shooting your scenes with Georgia Harrell? Did you guys actually expose yourselves to each other in the "playing doctor" scene?
Georgia was great, really sweet and funny, we weren't shy.
|The first bromo-seltzer!|
How soon after "The First Turn On!" were you approached about working on "Health Club Horror," later to become "The Toxic Avenger"?
It was the next summer, again during school break. I got a call from Lloyd, he told me about the film they were casting. For the character of Melvin, "Pre Toxie" they had auditioned hundreds of kids. Then Lloyd said he and partner Michael Herz said "What we really need is the character Torgl played in First Turn On!" Lloyd said if I wanted the part it was mine.
|As Melvin Ferd in "The Toxic Avenger" (1984, Michael Herz & "Samuel Weil")|
What are your memories of shooting the Tromaville Health Club scenes?
It was all a good time, the sheep was the most difficult part as it had lice or little varmints all over it.
|"Oh Julie, Julie, oh, oh Julie, I'm here and you're here and we're together..."|
The makeup took many hours, it was pretty uncomfortable. The bathtub scene was difficult as the bathtub had no hot water. And the makeup did not come off easily. Not my favorite part of the shoot. In the catch-on-fire scene, before the stunt double took over, my arm actually caught on fire accidentally. I still have a little scar from that.
|Melvin's last moments before his "entire being" is changed|
Troma productions are barely professional, we just did what we could to get things shot. Lloyd didn't waste a lot of film, a lot of the scenes were one take. The cast and crew laughed through it all.
|Big things bubbling up|
What came next after parting ways with Troma?
I have been working in Los Angeles in Post Production, making short films, writing scripts. I always kept in touch with Lloyd and would see him when he came to LA.
Were you asked to return as Melvin in "The Toxic Avenger Part II" and "Part III"?
Yes, we were negotiating and since I wasn't paid for part one, or very little, I was trying to make a little something for myself. Also I had moved to Los Angeles and had a job at a post production house, so we never agreed to a price to bring me back. Lloyd jokes in his book "All I Need to Know About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger" that he should have paid me the $50 I was asking for.
|Fake Melvin in "The Toxic Avenger Part III" (1989, Michael Herz & Lloyd Kaufman)|
|Reunited for the first time in "Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger Part IV" (2000, Lloyd Kaufman)|
|Arm of another unknown fan|