Mark Torgl [Interview]

 

Welcome to Day 30 of Trainwreck’d Society’s Annual Month of Horror Showcase! We have a fully loaded month of all things horror for you fine folks! October is our favorite month for this very reason, and we are so excited to share 31 full days of film showcases and interviews with some of the finest folks from the world of horror, just as we have been doing for the last 6 years. What started as a simple 5 day showcase, has now blossomed into a full blown month long event. You’re going to love this! Enjoy!

 

Happy Halloween Eve, Folks! We are reaching the end of our 2019 edition of our Month of Horror. And if there is one aspect of the world of horror that we simply can not stress enough to be absolutely wonderful and exhilarating, it has to be the world of Troma! Over the years we have featured dozens of key players who have done some absolutely amazing work in within the proverbial love child of Lloyd Kaufman. Therefore it seemed only fitting that when we were handed the opportunity to talk with one of the most legendary figures from the world of Troma, it would have to be during the grand finale of this whole event. We have showcased Troma figures in and out of the Month of Horror for years now, but this one is HUGE! It’s the motherfucking Toxic Avenger himself, Mark Torgl!

Mark is a delightful human being who portrayed the ultimate nerd turned superhero(?) just 35 short years ago in what could arguably be Troma’s best film, The Toxic Avenger. The cult following behind The Toxic Avenger and Troma in general is hands down one of the most fanatical groups of people the world will ever know. Loners and shut-ins, gore porn junkies, and comedy horror aficionados all know and love this film and production company for obvious reasons. It is a masterpiece of a B-Horror film. When one wants to even begin to have a conversation about the best B-Horror films of all time, it is practically a crime to not talk about this masterpiece of indie horror cinema. And Mark Torgl is a key figure behind it all. And what an absolutely fascinating figure he is in and out of the world of horror. By weekday Mark is an award winning television editor who has worked on some damn fine programs. And then comes the weekend where you can catch him at any given Con anywhere in the country keeping the spirit of The Toxic Avenger with very personal and forthright appearances.

Mark is a truly incredible person, and we are so excited to have him grace our digital pages on the second to last day of this year’s Month of Horror series. Also, I would implore you to check out the incredible documentary Mark has put out recently entitled The Toxic Tutu, which he will discuss below. It is actually available on Amazon Prime, so if you are up on that, it’s free! You have to see this incredibly unique and so much fun documentary that is detailed and again, just so much fun.

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Mark Torgl!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment and filmmaking? Was it an early aspiration you can always remember having since your youth, or did you just find yourself in this world one day?

I was a completely normal kid, I liked to capture flies and tie a string around their necks and fly them around as my pets. I had a large mayonnaise jar where I kept my collection of toenails like all kids have. I was inspired by Surreal filmmakers like Bunuel and Dali and Lynch while attending Michigan State University. I loved the way they stretched the normalcy of life into fantastical ideas. Bunuel’s “Un Chien Andalou” especially made me want to pursue film in some way.

 

 

 

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any kind of lessons learned from this project that still affect your work today?

I worked with Troma on their film The First Turn On the previous year before Toxic Avenger. I was going to New York University Film School and Troma put a notice on our Job board to come work on a real feature film, it also said there was no pay, just good experience.  I met with Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz and they asked me what I wanted to do on the film?  I said I wanted to be the Script Supervisor so I could work with the director. Lloyd said ok you can be the Script Supervisor, what else do you want to do? I said, “I like writing”, Lloyd said, “Ok you can write some additional scenes, what else do you want to do?”  I said, “Can I direct?” Lloyd turned around pulled down his pants and said, “Only if you tickle my ass with a feather”. So I just did script super and additional writing. I didn’t sign on as an actor, but typically everyone on the crew of a Troma film ends up in the movie somewhere.  When the actor who was hired to play a major role, Dwayne a socially awkward super nerd, didn’t show up, Lloyd said, “Mark you go in and do the part”. The rest is history.

Dwayne was the obnoxious boyfriend of the sexy sleep away camp counselor. I had a famous scene where I met her parents and spread mashed potatoes and gravy through my hair, and fellated a corn of cob at dinner. I learned later that they had auditioned Madonna to play the camp counselor before she hit it big and they rejected her. It would have been epic to act with Madonna, oh well. The next year when they were auditioning for Toxic Avenger, after auditioning, they said hundreds of kids; Lloyd and Michael said what they were looking for  was the super geek nerd character like what I did in The First Turn On. They called me up and said, “If I want the part of Melvin, it’s mine.” I accepted and also did the script supervising. I still couldn’t bring myself to tickle Lloyd’s ass with a feather.

Working for Troma on my first gig has definitely affected my work in entertainment today, I now like to get paid.

 

 

In your own personal opinion, what do you believe it is that makes the horror genre special? What sets it apart from other genres you have worked in?

That sounds like an essay question worth 50% of my grade. Horror is the ultimate thrill escape! The same way people like roller coasters, they like to be scared and then to survive. I think that is what makes horror so repulsively appealing.

 

 

 

We are huge fans of the world that TROMA films has assembled over its time. You have appeared in several TROMA projects, including possibly the most renowned one of them all, The Toxic Avenger. So how do you enjoy working in the TROMA world? What makes it unique in your opinion?

 

Working on the set of Toxic Avenger was about as surreal as it gets! The sheep I had to kiss in the humiliation scene in the gym was full of jumping gnats and fleas and other unsightly bugs and worm like things.  After the transformation scene, the makeup I was in would not come off, after the makeup department tried unsuccessfully to remove it, they took me to a nearby YMCA where I went to scrubbing at the makeup in the shower they used for the swimmers. When a group of young boys went to the showers after their swim lesson, they came upon me, a naked 20 year old man violently scouring what looked like melting skin. I’m sure they were tromatized for life after seeing me. 

Troma movies are shot on a shoestring budget so there’s always some problem to overcome. When we shot the scene in Shinbone Alley where Toxic beats up Cigar Face, we disrupted a street person’s living area and he started waving a gun at us. The car in the chase scene when it flipped on it’s top, the roll bar protecting the stunt driver collapsed. We all ran to the car and saw only the passenger side collapsed, the driver was ok. Lloyd said if the driver died it would have been the end of Troma.  As far as I know no one has ever died on a Troma set. But stuff like this happened all the time; I could go on for pages.

 

 

 

What is your favorite scary movie?

The Toxic Avenger of course.  I’m also a huge Stanley Kubrick fan.

 #1 A ClockWork Orange A life changing journey.

#2 2001 A Space Odyssey An inspirational journey of evolution.

#3 The Shining. Redrum.  Are some of my favorites.

 

 

 

Do you have any plans for this coming Halloween? And fun traditions that you try to stick to every year? 

I might be doing a convention in New Jersey. I used to enjoy the parade in NYC, I now attend the West Hollywood parade or have a party at my house. I hear they are trying to make Halloween a holiday that always falls on the last Saturday in October, I think that is a great idea. 

 

 

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers? 

I’ve been working on an homage to Toxic Avenger called Toxic Tutu.

It’s the almost true story ff whatever happened to Melvin The Mop Boy, Mark Torgl of Toxic Avenger. I made this film with director Joe Nardelli. Joe and I went to film school together. So I’ve known Joe for over 30 years. 5 years ago I was contacted by the Mad Monster Party Convention to make a guest appearance. I called Joe and told him about it.  Joe said, “ I’ll come and bring my camera and we’ll document it”. So Toxic Tutu evolved from a 3-day convention documentary to a 5-year feature length narrative film production. Toxic Tutu is now available world wide, streaming on Amazon Prime, GooglePlay, Vudu, Apple I Tunes, and available on DVD at Amazon, and other outlets.

 

 

 What was the last thing that scared the hell out of you?

I was making a guest appearance at Comic Con sitting in with the Troma Group when a dude showed up and pulled up his pant leg. He had a tattoo of my face on his leg, scared the shit out of me.

 

 

 What was the last thing that made you smile?

My day job as a TV editor. I enjoy working in dark stale rooms with producers looking over my shoulder as I create magic. I love the fact that I have never had to pound the pavement as an actor looking for work. It’s inevitable though that every once in a while I get that call, “Could you do this part for us in our new movie?  We loved you in Toxic Avenger”. I’ve recently done a role in a new movie, The Monkeys Paw and a Mercedes The Muse production of Mopboy I was also in Greetings From Tromaville! And Troma’s new movie Return To Return To Nuke Em High, I have a very disturbing self-pleasuring scene in this movie! Lloyd’s wife the Comish, objected to the scene, and it stops the movie into a freeze frame while she complains. Ha ha ha.

 

 

And a few more photos for you all, courtesy of Mark himself:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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