Entertainment

In the New York home of legendary cult director Lloyd Kaufman

The king of micro-budget shlock horror has surprisingly noble digs.

In stark contrast to his career as a proponent of wacky exploitation films, Lloyd Kaufman has spent the last 33 years calling a subduedly decorated Upper East Side townhouse his home.

The 76-year-old is best known for producing and distributing over 1,000 sex and gory films for small change through his film company Troma Entertainment. But at the end of the workday, he goes home to the Yorkville townhouse where he and his wife Pat raised their three adult daughters.

The four-story brownstone is filled with antique 19th-century wood furniture and millwork, accented by fine artworks acquired on the couple’s travels — rich digs for the sovereign saint of comedic limb loss and pernicious waste.

Kaufman’s credits include directing the 1984 cult-classic The Toxic Avenger (one of Marisa Tomei’s first acting credits) and bringing Trey Parker and Matt Stone to prominence by directing their 1993 comedy Cannibal! The Musical” and set the record for most squibs ever used in a single film (1988’s “Troma’s War”).

Though inexplicable to many, Troma’s brand of excessive violence, political incorrectness, giant breasts and slapstick superheroes has proven enduring, and today the company claims to be the longest continuously running independent film company in the world.

“The fans are our secret sauce,” Kaufman told the Post, noting that despite years of notoriety, this is the first time he’s shown his home in the press. “They are very active.”

lloyd kaufman home profile
Lloyd and one of countless Toxie fan art pieces he’s received as gifts over the years.
Stephen Yang

The interior is filled with foreign pottery, family photos, and tasteful wallpaper, but there are signs of his hysterical professional identity everywhere: paintings, portraits, props, and stickers of Toxie (left), the frail, Jersey-native janitor turned deformed mop . swinging strongman and protagonist of Toxic Avenger, are never far from sight.

“He has so much fan art that we have to cycle it,” said Pat, Kaufman’s wife of 48 and the longtime former chief of the Governor’s Office of Film and Television Development. “He must be very picky.”

lloyd kaufman home profile
Lloyd has so much fan art that the pair have to erase it.
Stephen Yang
lloyd kaufman home profile
Movie posters, each showing one of her three daughters, line the hallway on the top floor of the house.
Stephen Yang

In the backyard, a rusted outline of Toxie is affixed to a wall and watches from the patio over the brick-paved garden where Lloyd wrote the screenplay for the sequel, Citizen Toxie. On the first floor, someone placed a silicone toxie head with an “I ‘heart’ TROMAVILLE” bumper sticker over the post. And what’s oddest to the uninitiated pedestrian is a carving of Toxie’s gargoyle-like head above the brownstone’s porch.

“When Uncle Lloydie called me about it, he told me it would be over the door of his house forever,” said Josh Turi, Troma’s fabricator and former makeup artist, to Kaufman, who called to make the figurehead.

“And of course it had to be Toxie. Toxie is Lloyd’s Mickey Mouse.” (“Who do you think this character is? It’s Lloyd!” Pat once told the wrestler. “Lloyd was the 90-pound weakling. Lloyd is like the superhero, the one for the rights little people fights.”)

Neither Kaufman nor Turi — who, like many others, credit the prolific director with helping him get his foot in Hollywood’s door — can remember when Toxie was cast in Brownstone, and since there wasn’t an account, they are themselves not sure how to confirm that. but their best guess is that it was added to the facade a decade ago.

lloyd kaufman home profile
An individual brownstone cast of Toxie, the protagonist of Troma’s most famous film, The Toxic Avenger.
Stephen Yang
lloyd kaufman home profile
The mounted Toxie head is surprisingly subtle.
Stephen Yang
lloyd kaufman home profile
The townhouse is located on a block of flats in the Yorkville neighborhood of Upper Manhattan.
Stephen Yang
lloyd kaufman home profile
Lloyd grew up not far from where he currently lives and has lived most of his life on the Upper East Side. For decades, Pat was one of the most powerful professionals in the film industry in upstate New York. The couple met at a part on a friend’s boat in Long Island Sound.
Stephen Yang

“It was my way of repaying him for helping me when I was young – I don’t think I charged him anything,” Turi said of his gift. “I have known this man for many years. Either you love him or you don’t understand him. Lloyd means a lot to a lot of us out here.”

The Toxie Head has been ringing a number of doorbells over the past 10 years. One person asked if it was Charles Laughton, another if it was Hillary Clinton, and once a priest crossed the street just to ask.

“I told him it was the satanic cult, but don’t worry, we live for world peace and climate control,” Kaufman laughed, admitting he later revealed what it actually is.

Although the doorbell doesn’t ring often, he says he gets recognized about twice a week, sometimes by people who mistake him for Mel Brooks. That suits him just fine. “We’re private people,” Pat said.

Inside, the secular decor includes both fine artwork and more eccentric accoutrements, such as the elephant jaw that Lloyd acquired while volunteering in Chad and brought back to the United States with State Department approval, as well as masks from West Africa, framed Mola textiles from Panama, and a pair special horse trophies with the faces of the couples, presented to them by the Mongolian President. Sometimes a Toxie action figure rides Lloyd’s horse and sometimes disappears into other pastures around the house.

lloyd kaufman home profile
Lloyd brushes the teeth of an elephant’s mandible that he acquired in Chad.
Stephen Yang
lloyd kaufman home profile
A Toxie action figure rides one of two custom horse statues gifted to the Kaufmans by the President of Mongolia.
Stephen Yang
lloyd kaufman home profile
It’s not uncommon for shelves to contain items ranging from family heirlooms to movie props.
Stephen Yang

The Art of Travels was mainly chosen by Pat, who also gives credit for having “assembled” the house. Most of the family relics are from Lloyd.

“Most of everything is straight out of his mother’s house,” Pat said, pointing to a Civil War-era dresser. Lloyd’s parents’ former home is just a few blocks away – aside from his travels and studies at Yale, the splatter film expert has lived most of his life on the Upper East Side.

Upstairs is her grandchildren’s playroom and her daughters’ old rooms, full of unused children’s stuff, Zabar’s bags and Troma jewellery.

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop is what Lloyd’s sister calls home, it’s so packed with quirky keepsakes and curiosities.

Two movies have been filmed there over the years, as well as countless trailers, interviews and short clips Lloyd has shot for social media.

lloyd kaufman home profile
The Kaufmans, pictured here in Pat’s office, have been married for 48 years.
Stephen Yang
lloyd kaufman home profile
Japanese art, family photos, a cozy couch and behind it – casually stacked with another – a hat given to Lloyd by the late English musician and Motörhead founder Ian Fraser Kilmister, better known as Lemmy.
Stephen Yang
lloyd kaufman home profile
The formal dining room at the rear of the first floor.
Stephen Yang
lloyd kaufman home profile
A deck leads down to a paved backyard.
Stephen Yang

Downstairs they have a rental unit currently occupied by a Troma fan.

Before moving into the home in 1987 when Pat was pregnant with their third daughter, they lived on Lexington Avenue in a one-bedroom apartment for which they paid $350 a month.

Kaufman still rides the Q train to Troma’s studio in Long Island City, where the company relocated from Hell’s Kitchen about 14 years ago.

Tromaville Lloyd Kaufman Long Island City
A Toxie mural on the roller door at the Troma film production studio in Long Island City.

Most recently, the studio produced Shakespeare’s S-tstorm.

The 2020 flick will “probably” be his last, says Kaufman.

A contemporary spoof of The Tempest, the 94-minute film is as gory, dirty and slime-heavy as any of his earlier works, but it’s also packed with high-profile literary themes.

“That’s what I think makes his films so wonderful – they’re packed with references,” Pat said, beaming at her partner as he trotted down the hallway with a large sword.

And just as his films wrap lessons learned at Yale in mud and ridicule, his house injects green-skinned vigilantes, unlikely heroes, and lewd jokes into a defining environment.

“If the [Toxie carving above my front door] fell and killed me, that would be a great way. A just ending,” Kaufman joked before quoting Shakespeare. “‘And our little life is rounded off with a sleep,’ as Prospero says.”

https://nypost.com/2022/06/23/inside-legendary-cult-director-lloyd-kaufmans-nyc-home/ In the New York home of legendary cult director Lloyd Kaufman

Emma Bowman

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