The Toxic Avenger (1984)

The Toxic Avenger 1984 movieSkinny, weak, goofy Melvin is the mop boy at the happening gym in Tromaville, New Jersey – The Toxic Chemical Capital of the World.

His days consist of cleaning toilets and being picked on by a pack of arrogant vain gym rats – Slug, Julie, Wanda and Bozo who drive the streets picking off innocent pedestrians with their car. One day after their daily workout they play a particularly cruel trick on poor Melvin and he ends up falling into a barrel of toxic waste.

He survives and turns into a hulking monster with superhuman strength. Now ostracized by his mother he spends his time on the outskirts of town while taking revenge on his persecutors and helping the innocent from the criminals who plague the town. During one of his encounters he meets Sara a blind girl who can see past his grotesque appearance, appreciates his good heart and soon falls in love with him.

All this do-gooding antics by this ‘monster hero’ may be inspiring the citizens of Tromaville, but it’s causing a lot of headaches for the corrupt mayor who vows to eliminate this hero and get back to the crooked status quo he was enjoying.

Will the mayor succeed? Will all the evildoers in Tromaville finally face justice? WIll the citizens finally stand up for themselves? Will Sara live happily ever after with her deformed tutu wearing hero? And if Melvin is now battling criminals, who will clean the toilets at
the gym?

Troma Entertainment is an independent New York-based film company founded by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz. Since its birth in the mid-70’s they had been focusing on making low-budget raunchy sex comedies. Then in 1984 Kaufman and Herz would score an unexpected hit with a strange, violent, comedic tale called The Toxic Avenger. The film would become the companies biggest hit, spawn three sequels, a Saturday morning cartoon series, plus a musical! Not to mention a possible big-budget Hollywood remake.

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 be 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.