Inexplicably escaping the confines of DTV hell, this latest venture from Troma - the epitome of cheesy slap-dash schlock horror - reinvents the Bard as bloodbath, replete with kitsch ketchup FX, dismemberments galore and some car chases thrown in for good measure. Sadly, the line between enjoyably trashy and utter garbage is notoriously thin and this should-have-stayed-on-video effort falls squarely on this side of juvenile junk.
All the familiar elements from Shakespeare's doomed romance - feuding families, star-crossed lovers, revenge murders, etc. - remain intact. However, the details - Tromeo (Keenan) reciting love poetry on the toilet mid bowel movement; Juliet (Jensen) giving a caesarean birth to live rats - are unlikely to be found on any A-level syllabus. Other additions include swearing rants in rhyming couplets, close-up body piercing, countless fart gags and soft core lesbianism all accompanied by ever present heavy metal - indeed the recurring Shakespearean "chorus" comes courtesy of Motorhead's Lemmy.
It would be ridiculous to carp that the acting, writing and directing are risible - such ineptitude is part of Troma's "appeal." Yet what is missing is any real sense of subversive fun or anarchic energy that often comes from working outside the mainstream. In the right mood, there are some guilty pleasures to be found - sexy Shakespeare inspired CD-ROM spoofs (As You Lick It) or the Airplane-style end credits - but eventually it all wears thin, creating an overall effect that is unpleasant and dull.