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Feb 05

The Toxic Avenger

POSTER - THE TOXIC AVENGER (2)Genre: Comedy / Action
Year: 1984
Country: USA

aka: Atomic Hero, Toxic

Director: Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman
Starring: Andree Maranda, Mitch Cohen, Jennifer Prichard, Cindy Manion, Robert Prichard

 

Not all monsters are scary to people. Not if it’s one fighting crime in the Garden State

 

Melvin is a geeky weak guy working as a janitor at Tromaville’s health club. He is disliked by the visitors of the gym who keeps on tormenting him every time they get the chance. One day the teasing goes to far and poor Melvin is chased through the club and ends up jumping out of the window and into a drum of toxic waste.

The burning chemicals make him disfigured and turns him into a big, muscular green toxic monster. He is now able to sense evil and must destroy everyone who does evil acts. He sets out to clean up the mean streets of Tromaville from the scum thugs and corrupted evil businessmen who is running it into the ground.

The monster film that put Troma on the movie map! After earning their dollars by distributing other films and creating cheap sex comedies on their own, Troma finally made their first real tromatic film experience with The Toxic Avenger. Toxic Avenger became the blueprint for what would be known as a Troma film. It mixes genres such as action, comedy and horror and fills it with over the top stupidity, gross jokes, nudity and gore done in a politically incorrect manner.

Like most Troma films, Toxic Avenger is not for everybody. You have to have an appreciation for silly and disgusting humour to be able to enjoy these type of movies and thankfully, I do. This film is gritty and funny at the same time. They were able to create an entire universe on their own with Tromaville, where future Troma films would also take place.

While there was made plenty of other silly gross comedies in the middle 80’s, but few was able to make it work like the Troma team did with this one. It’s very trashy and even disturbing at times, yet it got a light heart and a positive message to it. Its strengths make you look past the shoddy editing and below average acting that goes on and instead, it becomes a superhero film that is actually worth watching.

The villains here are everyone from common (and colorful) street thugs and up to the evil greedy businessmen who have no trouble making money while destroying the environment, a topic that would be repeated in several Troma films after this. The film is directed by the two bosses of Troma, Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz. They manage to mix the madness that is going on with a great pace and the comedy delivery is on point.

Very few of the actors stand out, but I would like to say that Andree Maranda is quite charming as Toxie’s blind love interest Sarah. I also thought that Patrick Kilpatrick was awesome as the thug Leroy. He was so over the top and fun to watch that I wish he had a bigger part. He kind of reminds me of a street thug version of the Joker from the Batman universe, both because of his face paint and also because of his frantic lunatic behaviour.

The Toxic Avenger is one of Troma’s finest moments and the movie that kickstarted the company. For that alone, it is an important movie in American film history, although I’m sure the “finer cinephiles” wouldn’t care less about it or Troma. It is not a great film, but it is a very entertaining and fun film. I think that all cult movie fans should see at least one Troma film and there are very few that are better than this one.

 

 ★★★½☆ 

 

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