As a long-time fan of genre films, it's rare for one to blow my mind with outrageousness. After a while, you kind of become immune to blood, gore, and gross-out material. I tell you this because the latest Troma production, #ShakespearesShitstorm, blew my mind. The film, which screened at the 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival, is filled with sex, violence, and feces. OMG, the feces. To say one “enjoys” this movie is probably not the point. Troma movies are designed to be insane, so one is meant to enjoy the experience of being shocked more than anything.
In this scatological take on The Tempest, Troma boss Lloyd Kaufman plays dual roles: the deranged professor Prospero and his sister Antionette. Prospero and his blind daughter Miranda (Kate McGarrigle) have fled to Tromaville after Antionette and her evil pharmaceutical exec cohorts ruined his career. He's got quite a plan for revenge, though. With the assistance of a wheelchair-bound crack-whore named Ariel (Amanda Flowers), he pumps a gigantic amount of laxatives into the water right where he knows his enemies – and many of their hangers-on – are partying aboard a yacht. Several whales absorb the laxatives, then release a flood of diarrhea that overtakes the boat. Like the title says, it's a literal shitstorm. Kaufman, who also directed, provides closeups of the whales' anuses as they evacuate their bowels, plus several straight minutes of party-goers getting drenched in fecal matter.
The 2020 Oscar race is officially over.
From there, the boat washes ashore in Tromaville. Prospero carries out the remainder of his plan, which I won't spoil, as Antionette and the rest of the filthy group wander around looking for him. In the process, we're treated to violence, wild sex scenes, vomiting, copious nudity, and occasional bloody mayhem. If you have to ask yourself why anyone in their right mind would want to see this movie, then #ShakespearesShitstorm is most assuredly not for you. Troma exists specifically to push boundaries. From The Toxic Avenger to Surf Nazis Must Die to this, the company takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to taboo subjects.
The joke, in this case, is: “What if Shakespeare, but with a shit-ton of shit?” In a twisted way, there's something admirable about even thinking to ask that question. #ShakespearesShitstorm is cheerfully, unapologetically vulgar. Interpreting The Tempest this way admittedly made me laugh – not necessarily because the material itself is funny but because the chutzpah the film displays is funny. Not knowing what would come my way next ensured that I was never bored. Here's one of those movies that would be fun to watch in a group, so that everybody could enjoy everyone else's horrified reactions. Alcohol would help.
Lloyd Kaufman wouldn't want a traditional good review, so I'll sum up by saying that #ShakespearesShitstorm is disgusting, offensive, nauseating, and repulsive. Since it aims to be all those things, we'd have to consider it a rousing success.
#ShakespearesShitstorm is unrated, because there is no rating suitable for the anarchy within. It contains adult language, sexuality/nudity, violence, and more feces than you've ever seen in your life. The running time is 1 hour and 34 minutes.