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The Toxic Avenger

Movie Poster
Directed by Lloyd Kaufman
Michael Herz
Produced by Michael Herz
Lloyd Kaufman
Stuart Strutin
Written by Lloyd Kaufman
Joe Ritter
Starring Mitch Cohen
Mark Torgl
Andree Maranda
Pat Ryan Jr.
Cinematography Lloyd Kaufman
James London
Editing by Richard W. Haines
Distributed by Troma Entertainment
Release date(s) May 1984
April 11, 1986
Running time Rated cut
87 min.
Unrated cut
82 min.
Director's Cut
110 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $500,000[1]
Followed by The Toxic Avenger Part II

The Toxic Avenger is an American cult classic comedy horror film first released in 1984 by Troma Entertainment, known for producing low budget B-movies with campy concepts. Virtually ignored upon its first release, The Toxic Avenger caught on with moviegoers after a long and successful midnight movie engagement at the famed Bleecker Street Cinemas in New York City in late 1985.

The film has generated three film sequels, a stage production, and a children's TV cartoon.[2] Two less successful sequels: The Toxic Avenger Part II and The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie were filmed as one movie. Director Lloyd Kaufman realized that he had shot far too much footage for one movie, and reedited it into two. A third independent sequel was also released, entitled Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV, and a fourth sequel, The Toxic Avenger 5: The Toxic Twins, has been announced. An animated children's TV series spin-off, Toxic Crusaders, featured Toxie as the leader of a team of mutated superheroes who fought against evil alien polluters. The cartoon series was short-lived and it was quickly cancelled. New Line Cinema had planned a live action movie based on the cartoon, but the deal fell through.

Contents

Plot

Melvin Junko (Mark Torgl) was a stereotypical 98-pound weakling. He works as a janitor at a health club in the fictional town of Tromaville, New Jersey where the customers—particularly Bozo (Gary Schneider), Slug (Robert Pritchard), Wanda (Jennifer Babtist) and Julie (Cindy Manion)—harass him constantly. His tormentors get more and more violent until he is tricked into wearing a pink tutu and kissing a sheep. He is chased around the health club and out a second story window. He lands in a drum of toxic waste, which immediately causes severe burns and disfigurement. Melvin survives, however, 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.

A group of drug dealers, led by the criminal Cigar Face (Dan Snow), are harassing a police officer by the name of O'Clancy (Dick Martinsen), trying to buy him off. When he refuses to accept the money, Cigar Face and his gang prepare to castrate Officer O'Clancy. A large creature comes out of nowhere and violently kills the criminals, then leaves a mop on their faces as a call sign. Officer O'Clancy is initially terrified of the creature but soon learns he was only trying to help and will not hurt him.

The officer's rescuer, dubbed the "Monster Hero", is the now profoundly-mutated Melvin. He tries to return home but his mother is terrified of him and will not let him in the house. Wracked with sorrow, the Monster Hero builds a makeshift home in the junkyard.

Elsewhere in Tromaville, a gang of three men are holding up a Mexican food restaurant. The men kill one of the patrons, and attack a blind woman named Sarah (Andree Maranda). They kill her guide dog and attempt to rape her, but are stopped by the Monster Hero. He wreaks bloody vengeance on the three men: one is stuffed in an oven, one has his hands and wrists plunged into a deep-fryer, and one is first covered in whipped cream (and a cherry) before having a milkshake-stirrer rammed into his esophagus. The Monster Hero takes Sarah back to her home, where they begin to get to know one another, and subsequently become involved.

The Monster Hero returns to the health club. There, he attacks popular girl Wanda in a sauna and burns her on the heater. Afterward, the Monster is relieving himself in a back alley when a limo pulls up and a pimp tries to push a 12-year-old girl onto him. When he starts to fight back to save the girl, a group of men come out of the limo; he fights them all off and saves the girl. The Monster Hero returns to the health club and attacks the other tormentors who were responsible for what happened to him. He then confronts his archenemies Bozo and Slug, ending in Slug getting thrown out of a moving car and Bozo driving off the side of a cliff.

The leader of the crime ring in Tromaville, who turns out to be Mayor Belgoody (Pat Ryan Jr.), is horrified of what is happening to his goons. He is worried that it will lead back to him and wants the Monster Hero to be taken care of. A group of men, lead by Cigar Face, surround the Monster with guns. Before they fire on him he jumps up to a fire escape, and they end up shooting each other.

When the Monster Hero kills a seemingly innocent old woman in a dry cleaning store (she is in fact a leader of an underground white slave trade), Belgoody uses this opportunity to call in the National Guard.

Back in his junkyard home, the Monster Hero is terrified of what he has become. He and Sarah decide to move away from the city and take a tent into nearby woods. They are not there long before they are discovered. The Mayor and the National Guard come to kill him but the people of Tromaville will have none of it. The Mayor's evil ways are revealed, and the Monster Hero proceeds to rip out Belgoody's organs to see if he has "any guts". The movie ends with a reassurance that wherever evil brews in Tromaville, the Monster Hero, now dubbed the "Toxic Avenger," will be there to protect the town.

Cast

  • Mark Torgl as Melvin Junko
  • Andree Maranda as Sarah
  • Jennifer Babtist as Wanda
  • Cindy Manion as Julie
  • Dan Snow as Cigar Face
  • Robert Prichard as Slug
  • Gary Schneider as Bozo
  • Pat Ryan Jr. as Mayor Peter Belgoody
  • Dick Martinsen as Officer O'Clancy
  • Chris Liano as Walter Harris
  • David N. Weiss as Chief of Police
  • Doug Isbecque as Knuckles
  • Charles Lee, Jr. as Nipples
  • Al Pia as Tom Wrightson
  • Reuben Guss as Dr. Snodburger
  • Sarabel Levinson as Melvin's Mom
  • Mitch Cohen as The Toxic Avenger
  • Matt Klan as Boy Hero
  • Marisa Tomei as Locker Room Girl (Director's Cut)

Production

The Toxic Avenger was the film that "built the house of Troma,"[3] and was Troma's first horror film. Previously the production company focused on sex comedies such as Cry Uncle! and Squeeze Play!. Subsequently Troma focused almost exclusively on horror films.[1]

In 1975, Lloyd Kaufman had the idea to shoot a horror movie involving a health club while serving as the pre-production supervisor on the set of Rocky. At the Cannes Film Festival, Kaufman had read an article that said horror films were no longer popular, so Kaufman claims that he decided to produce his own version of the horror film. The film's final outcome was less a bona fide horror film and more of a campy comedy horror-spoof with extreme violence embedded through out. The setting of the movie in a health club and the movie was given a working title of Health Club Horror.[1][4] Kaufman wrote the script with the help of writer Joe Ritter.

Reception

"The Toxic Avenger" received a 67% "fresh" rating from critic aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.[5]

In other media

The Toxic Avenger has also been adapted to other media.

  • In the 2005 parody film My Big Fat Independent Movie, Toxie is seen in the far back in the orgy scene.
  • From April 1991 to February 1992, Marvel Comics published The Toxic Avenger comic. The comic was written by Doug Moench, drawn by Rodney Ramos and Val Mayerik, and lasted for 11 issues.[6] The series focused on Toxie battling against the evil Apocalypse, Inc. and its demonic Chairman. The title was a mix of traditional superhero storytelling and satire, including the phrase "hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength" being repeated many times, and Toxie's "Tromatons" erupting when he was in danger similar to Spider-Man's spider-sense. Marvel's series also contained much in the way of "over-the-top," cartoonish violence. No other Marvel characters ever appeared in the series, and Toxie never made his way into any other Marvel comic, although a crossover with Marvel's Robocop title was planned before that series was cancelled.[7 ]
  • In July 2000, Troma published an extremely rare comic book entitled The New Adventures of the Toxic Avenger. This comic was offered to people who donate $75 or more to TromaDance 2007.[8]
  • Lloyd Kaufman and Adam Jahnke wrote a novelization entitled The Toxic Avenger: The Novel. It was released on May 10, 2006 and was published by Thunder's Mouth Press.
  • It was also adapted as a musical, on three occasions.
The first, Toxic Avenger: The Musical, debuted at Omaha's Blue Barn Theatre in 2004.[9] This production was written and directed by Rob Urbinati, with music by Kevin Saunders Hayes.
The movie was adapted as a musical a second time, as Toxic Avenger: The Musikill, with lyrics by Ira Kortum, who also directed and starred in the production, which premiered in Portland, Oregon. The music was composed by Martin J. Gallagher, with the assistance of Marc Rose.[10] Kaufman reportedly had nothing to do with the production, although he did verbally support Kortum's adaptation and attended the production on Opening Night. Excerpts from Toxic Avenger: The Musikill are featured on the 21st Anniversary edition of the original film.[4]
The most recent version is the rock musical The Toxic Avenger, which had its world premiere at George Street Playhouse on October 10, 2008, directed by John Rando with music and lyrics by David Bryan and book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro[11].
  • A graphic novel about Toxie and other Troma properties, Lloyd Kaufman Presents: The Toxic Avenger and Other Tromatic Tales, was released in 2007 from Devil's Due Publishing.[12]
  • A French electronica DJ has also dubbed himself 'the toxic avenger'.
  • Australian band Regurgitator mention The Toxic Avenger in their song I Couldn't Do It.
  • Punk Rock band The Dickies payed tribute with the song Toxic Avenger on their album Idjit Savant.

Remake

According to Lloyd Kaufman, due to the remake of his brother Charles' film Mother's Day major motion picture companies are interested in doing remakes of other Troma films. Among the titles currently in negotiation is the Toxic Avenger.[13]

References

  1. ^ a b c "The Original Toxic Avenger". Troma Entertainment, Inc.. http://www.toxicavenger.com/movies/ta1/index.html. Retrieved 2008-06-05.  
  2. ^ Westbrook, Caroline (07/11/2003). "Lloyd Kaufman". Something Jewish. http://www.somethingjewish.co.uk/articles/575_lloyd_kaufman.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-05.  
  3. ^ Baumgarten, Marjorie (2001-05-30). "The Toxic Avenger: The Unrated Director's Cut". Austin Chronicle. http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Calendar/Film?Film=oid%3a141176. Retrieved 2008-06-05.  
  4. ^ a b Leitner, Lucy (23). "Read your own damn story - about making your own damn movie". The Pitt News. http://www.pittnews.com/node/4516. Retrieved August 3, 2006.  
  5. ^ "The Toxic Avenger Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/toxic_avenger/. Retrieved 2008-05-02.  
  6. ^ "The Big Database of Comic Books". http://www.comics-db.com/Marvel_Comics/T/Toxic_Avenger/. Retrieved October 11, 2006.  
  7. ^ "LEE SULLIVAN ART Comics". http://leesullivanart.co.uk/LEE/robocop.htm. Retrieved July 7, 2009.  
  8. ^ "The 2007 TromaDance Film Festival - Donate to TromaDance!". http://2007.tromadance.com/support/donate/. Retrieved July 14, 2007.  
  9. ^ "The Lincoln Journal Star". http://www.journalstar.com/articles/2005/04/29/gz/10052714.txt. Retrieved July 29, 2004.  
  10. ^ Motley, John. "Toxic Avenger: The Musikill". Portland Mercury. http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/Content?oid=32369&category=22143. Retrieved August 3, 2006.  
  11. ^ TOXIE SINGS HIS LUNGS OUT
  12. ^ http://devilsdue.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13|1
  13. ^ Lloyd Kaufman interview with Micro-Shock.com regarding the potential Toxic Avenger remake @ Cinema Wasteland, Strongville Ohio, October 2009

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Toxic Avenger is a 1985 film about a health club mop boy who, after accidentally falling in a vat of toxic waste, becomes the Toxic Avenger, the enemy of corruption, thuggish bullies and indifference.

Directed by Michael Herz and Lloyd Kaufman. Written by Joe Ritter and Lloyd Kaufman.
Melvin was a 90lb. weakling until nuclear waste transformed him into...The Toxic Avengertaglines

Contents

The Toxic Avenger

  • [as he kills Mrs. Haskell] Hohohoho. No ticky, no washy!
  • [to the Mayor] You fat slob. Let's see if you've got any guts. [he punches the mayor in the stomach and rips out his guts] Officer O'Clancy, take care of this toxic waste.

Cigar Face

  • Honest cops are all alike. A bunch of fucking faggots.
  • I owe you for the other night monster faggot. So now we're going to give you six new assholes. Compliments of me Cigar Face.

Leroy

  • All right everybody, drop your tacos or I'll blow your brains out.
  • Hey look Frank. Teeny-boppers. You like video games teeny-boppers? Your mommy give you quarters for video games? Well cough 'em up.
  • Look what we've got here. A little mother and a littler baby. You like Mexican food little baby? [points his gun at the baby] Well how would you like to have this hot tamale shoved down your throat?

Others

  • Frank: Now if you all do just what we tell you, you just might, just might get your asses home all intact.
  • Sara: Why Melvin you're beautiful. You're a beautiful person. You're so muscular. It's been two years since I've touched a man.

Dialogue

Cigar Face: [while counting money] When we lay this wad on O'Clancy, the boss is going to have him by the balls.
Nipples: I don't think O'Clancy will take the money. Everyone says he's a honest cop.
Knuckles: He don't take the dough, I'm going to give him a blow.

Bruce: I heard that the monster is soooo big.
Chauncey: Well I bet he's got his eye on ME!
Bruce: For your information, everyone knows monsters prefer blondes.

[Julie and Wanda are looking at pictures of a dead kid]
Julie: That new camera really captures the moments.
Wanda: I know. The reds are so red. It really gets me hot.

Frank: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, we are the entertainment for this afternoon. Now on the shotgun we've got my man Leroy. And on the cash register, we've got that magic fingers Rico.
Rico: That's me.
Frank: And last but not least, yours truely, Frank, on the stick.

Wanda: Slug, are you sure no one will come in?
Slug: I paid Tony 15 bucks. He said the place is ours till tomorrow morning.

Slug: [to The Toxic Avenger] Get out of here you pervert.
[Wanda pulls out a switchblade]
Wanda: Or I'll kill you.

Officer O'Clancy: Forget it, you're wasting your time.
Cigar Face: That's where you're wrong. You're wasting our time. And now we're gonna waste you!

Taglines

  • Melvin was a 90lb. weakling until nuclear waste transformed him into...The Toxic Avenger
  • The first Super-Hero... from New Jersey!
  • He was 98 lbs. of solid nerd until he became...The Toxic Avenger

Cast

External links

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