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The Toxic Avenger

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In 1975, Troma co-founder Lloyd Kaufman first got the idea to shoot a horror film involving a health club, while serving as pre-production Supervisor on "ROCKY". After a string of fairly successful "sexy" comedies, in 1982 Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz decide to make the first Troma horror film; setting it in a health club. (Working title: Health Club Horror). Whilst attending the Cannes Film Festival, Lloyd Kaufman decides to make the horror film a comedy. Kaufman begins writing, with the assistance of Joe Ritter. In 1984 The Toxic Avenger premieres in New York City. Screenings are few and far between. And that would of been that, were it not for The Bleecker Street Cinema in New York, which in 1986 takes the film to play midnights, and makes it an overnight cult smash for Troma. The Toxic Avenger played in New York for over a year, to sell-out crowds enabling Lloyd Kaufman to pre-sell the rights to a Toxic avenger Part II film, even though such a film was not actually yet in production. Lorimar purchased the U.S. video rights for $1,000,000. Pre-production on Part II began...



More Trivia from The Toxic Avenger
If you're reading this, and you're familiar with Troma films, then this film is undoubtedly the reason why.

If you're unfamiliar with the independent gore-comedy powerhouse that is Troma, then it may be difficult to conceptualize such a film as the Toxic Avenger.

The plot is simple, if ridiculous. Melvin Junko is a nerdy, frail janitor at the Tromaville Health Spa who loves his mother very much and is therefore teased incessantly by the patrons.

Especially rough on Melvin are a quartet of violence-obsessed, nymphomaniacal young adults oddly named Julie, Wanda, Bozo, and Slug, who get their kicks by creating a point system for running down animals and people in their car and photographing the gory aftermath.

Melvin is constantly cramping the style of the aforementioned four young adults and so they plot a prank to avenge this travesty. Using the gals' sex appeal, they trick Melvin into putting on a tutu and kissing a lamb, but sadly Melvin's humiliation does not end here. Melvin is ostracized ad nauseam by the entire club at this point, leading him to jump out a window into a suspiciously placed barrel of toxic waste.

Goodbye wimpy Melvin, hello "monster hero" aka Toxic Avenger. The toxic waste causes a magnificent transformation into a hideously deformed, but superhumanly strong mop toting mutant who just happens to possess a "spider-sense" for crime.

This sense leads an unwitting Toxie to thwart several crimes, including an attempted police murder and a horrific restaurant robbery. It is in the latter that Toxie meets the love of his life, the blind beauty Sara (think Laura Dern and a deformed Eric Stoltz in Mask).

Everything seems to be going Toxie's way, his lovely girlfriend has no idea he's hideous, he's become a hero to all Tromaville residents, and he's got a beautiful makeshift shack at the town dump (sort of like a radioactive Hooverville).

However, the corrupt Mayor Belgoody does not approve of someone cleaning up his town and thwarting his plan for the town reservoir.

Thus, Belgoody hatches a scheme to ruin Toxie's reputation by taking advantage of the criminal sixth sense which he is forced to obey. This leads Toxie to kill a seemingly innocent old lady and news quickly spreads of his violent side.

The plan works and the town's once beloved "monster hero" is now alienated and in hiding from the law...

However, Toxie is not about to give up his fight for a cleaner Tromaville and it all winds down to a dramatic climax that pits Toxie not only against the mayor, but against what appears to be a great deal of the US Armed Forces.

Naturally, throughout it all insanity and gore reigns supreme as in any Troma production. The acting is usually either poor or intentionally over the top, the effects are very cheap looking, the story is silly; these things and more make it a nearly perfect cult classic.

Verdict?

Always a favorite from my childhood when the trilogy (which now has a 4th) was frequently shown in succession late at night, the Toxic Avenger was a groundbreaking film in several arenas.

It pushed the limits of gore and political incorrectness to the extreme and paved the way for many more films (mostly bad films) of its kind.

A landmark film for Troma and for fans of... well... bad movies!

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Non-stop violence and laughs, a must for fans of the gore-comedy genre.

Weaknesses? Not for the weak of stomach.

Our rating: 9.2 out of 10


Review Written by Carl:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Carl
The Toxic Avenger