B-Movie Corner: The Toxic Avenger
First Posted: 1/26/2015
“The Toxic Avenger” was initially released in 1984 and was practically ignored by movie theaters. However, it caught on with filmgoers after a long and successful midnight movie engagement at the famed Bleecker Street Cinemas in New York City. It now is regarded as a true cult classic.
The film follows Melvin Ferd III, a stereotypical 98-pound weakling who works as a janitor at the Tromaville Health Club in Tromaville, New Jersey. There, he is tormented by his customers Bozo, Slug, Wanda and Julie. As days go by, Melvin’s tormentors grow more and more violent to many innocent by standers culminating in the gruesome killing a young boy on a bike in a hit and run, crushing his head, and taking photos of the carnage afterwards.
Finally one day, they trick Melvin into wearing a pink tutu and kissing a sheep. He is chased around the health club by other laughing customers and jumps out of a second story window to escape. He lands in a drum of toxic waste which immediately causes severe burns and disfigurement. Melvin somehow survives and stumbles home.
Drawing a bath to try and scrub some of the chemical residue from his horribly scarred flesh, Melvin begins his transformation into a hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength. He now decides to seek justice for himself and clean up the crime in Tromaville.
Along the way to getting revenge against those who did this to him, he kills many other criminals, wins the love of the city, and also finds true love.
While this could be also be considered a superhero film, “The Toxic Avenger” is far from family friendly and is instead filled with more over the top violence than many modern day horror films dare to use.
However, our hero does seek righteousness and only attacks and kills those who truly deserve it. The killings are very bloody and not for those with a weak stomach. Some of the more graphic scenes can include eyeballs ripped out, deep fried hands, arms ripped off and guts being torn out.
The film does play more like a comedy than a horror film though and despite the gore it is a very laughable film and does not take itself too seriously and by the end you truly find yourself rooting for the toxic avenger.
“The Toxic Avenger” is the true definition of a cult film and was made for a meager $500,000 with an unknown cast. The loveable character development, over the top laughs and gore make this a film that must be seen to be believed.
Final Verdict: Troma has built a reputation on low budget gross out films but without the Toxic Avenger the studio would not be where they are today. The film shows true heart and what can be done with little to no money. It is over the top, disgusting, and offensive to many but is still a ton of fun and enjoyable to watch again and again. The film also spawned several sequels and a cartoon that are also worthwhile viewing.