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The Best Offense is to Be Offensive

Posted on the 16 June 2024 by Sjhoneywell
Film: Terror Firmer
Format: Streaming video from Plex on Fire! The Best Offense is to Be Offensive

I’m not necessarily a highbrow guy. Oh, I like an art film now and then, and two of my favorite movies aren’t in English, but this blog has long held the opinion that everyone’s taste in movies is very much their own and not something to ridicule. I’m not a “so bad it’s good” person and I don’t have “guilty pleasures”; the movies I like I like because there’s something about them I enjoy. So when I tell you that Terror Firmer is dangerously offensive, I’m not doing so with my nose in the air.

Terror Firmer is a Troma film, the same film studio that gave us such hits as The Toxic Avenger and Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.. It’s also the place where James Gunn got his start, so I’m not knocking them. Terror Firmer, though, goes places for its comedy to places that are potentially triggering for a number of people. I’ve never put a trigger warning on a discussion of film—I didn’t do it with Salo or Martyrs or L’Interieur, but I’m doing it here. This is not because of the subject matter specifically, but because the film goes to these places in the name of comedy.

Where does it go? Specifically child sexual abuse and rape. Women are told that in a rape situation they should pretend to be into it. And that’s supposed to be funny. Same with the sexual abuse of a child, which is essentially treated as wacky hijinks.

Now that I’ve said that, I think it’s worth looking at the rest of the film, and Terror Firmer, beyond its reprehensible ideas, is painfully and aggressively stupid. Of course, it’s supposed to be. It’s a Troma movie, so characters are defined entirely by extreme positions and quirks. Everyone is an idiot and everything is constantly chaos. The entire thing is completely incoherent because it’s not trying to have a story or a plot—it’s entirely about assuming that people will laugh at idiocy.

The plot, such as it is, involves the creation of a Troma movie involving their flagship character, the Toxic Avenger while there is a murderer loose on the set. To pinpoint the level of humor on this, the director of the film within the film, Larry Benjamin (actual writer/director/Troma boss Lloyd Kaufman), is blind. That’s the joke. He’s a blind movie director.

The humor in the rest of the movie is essentially bodily fluids. Let me present some examples of this. At one point, a character is killed while wearing a costume. The costume is removed and we discover the person is absolutely covered in shit. Another character starts eating said shit, and after several bites, says “I don’t think this is chocolate pudding.” Then that character realizes what he’s been eating and he vomits. Scene.

Here's another. Our ingenue Jennifer (Alyce LaTourelle) decides to have some “quality alone time” while fantasizing about another one of the characters. Just as she’s about to reach her stopping point, her mucus-covered mother has a coughing fit and demands help. What is Jennifer’s response? “I’m coming, mother.” Get it? Because masturbation.

Want one more? Two characters are having sex in a bathroom. The blind director walks in, completely oblivious to the sex (despite both people being very vocal) and turns to talk to someone, spraying everyone, including the couple, with urine. Because blind people don’t know how urine works. A naked fat man runs through the streets with a mask over his face. He has a tiny penis. It’s funny because naked fat man with tiny penis. Eventually, he’s run over by a car. It’s funny because tiny penis. That’s what everyone is looking at. It’s a penis and it’s tiny. Who cares that he got run over by a car?

Stupid movies can be fun. I love Pootie Tang and Kung Pow: Enter the Fist. I’m Gonna Git You Sucka remains a film frequently quoted in my house. I’ve watched films I’ll never sit through again. I hated Salo, but that movie has a point to it. I have flashbacks to Martyrs, but there’s a purpose to it, and a message that it successfully delivers. I won’t watch Irreversible again, but it was worth seeing. Terror Firmer has no message, no point, and is filled with ugly ideas. And the worst part? It’s not funny.

Why to watch Terror Firmer: It’s a Troma movie.
Why not to watch: Even by Troma standards, it’s egregious.


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