Superhero Films – The Toxic Avenger (1984)


A review of the 1984 low-budget cult superhero movie The Toxic Avenger from Troma Entertainment

Toxic Avenger Troma movie

Skinny, dorky Melvin lives in Tromaville, New Jersey – the toxic chemical capital of the world. He’s got a pretty happening job as the mop boy in the towns health club. Unfortunately, in between cleaning toilets he gets picked on by a group of sinister gym rats. One day a prank goes too far and Melvin falls into a barrel of toxic waste. He survives, but turns into a hulking deformed monster with super human strength.

Melvin is ostracized by his mother and heads to the outskirts of town. However, he does come back to visit to exact revenge on his tormentors and begins dispatching lethal justice to the criminal who are plaguing the citizens of Tromaville. During one of these encounters he meets Sara a hot looking blind blonde who is not bothered by his appearance (obviously) and begins to fall in love with Melvin.

Unfortunately the corrupt mayor has had enough of these hero antics and vows to eliminate this ‘monster hero’ once and for all so he can get back to his crooked way of life. Can this end possibly end peacefully for Tromaville’s most popular resident

Troma Entertainment is an independent New York-based film company founded by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz. Since its birth in the mid-70s Troma specialized in making low-budget, raunchy sex comedies. Then in 1984 the face of Troma would change forever when Kaufman and Herz scored an unexpected hit with a  with an outrageously violent, silly comedic move called The Toxic Avenger.

The film would become Troma’s biggest hit, spawn three sequels, a Saturday morning cartoon series, plus a musical! Not to mention a possible big-budget Hollywood remake that is supposedly in the works, with rumors of John Travolta and/or Arnold Schwarzenegger to be involved with the retelling of New Jersey’s first superhero. Maybe they should consider trying to get Marisa Tomei involved too. (Once you watch the review that idea will make more sense to you).

With a list of countless B-movies and exploitation films in their catalog, The Toxic Avenger has become Troma’s signature film, along with having the character being the mascot of the company. I take a look at the film that started it all, see what was so special about it and try to figure out how did they ever make a cartoon based off this movie!

Superhero Films – Chap. 26: The Toxic Avenger from HaphazardStuff on Vimeo.

3 thoughts on “Superhero Films – The Toxic Avenger (1984)

  1. Dude how can you not like this movie, it's a blast! I'm glad for movies like this or something more recent such as Planet Terror since they're so ridiculous but they go all the way and don't shy away from it. There's too many movies that try to be so serious but are so absurd I think it's just preposterous. The Dark Knight Rises comes to mind. Today there's a lot of stupid movies but they try to be sincere and ask the audience to really care. I don't think Troma ever makes their films expecting the audience to really care and take them seriously. I like a serious artsy movie as much as the next guy, but sometimes its good to just have some silly fun.

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