pissingblood’s grindhouse classic review: the toxic avenger

Any of you remember that cartoon series, Toxic Crusaders? If you were born after the 80’s probably not since it was only 13 episodes which is nothing compared to other cartoons of the time. It was one of those few cartoons that left its scar on my subconscious. It was one of many cartoons made in the 90’s that had an underlying environmental theme, like Captain Planet. I don’t remember it for that though, I remember it for the ass kicking mutated freak heroes like the much-loved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which I was fucking obsessed with like most kids at the time. I will admit that over the years the cartoon sort of sunk to the deep recesses of my memory and was only recently brought back up to the surface after watching the movie that inspired the cartoon, which probably went some ways in getting a whole new generation to fall for the mutated anti-hero, Toxie.

Toxic Crusaders, Toxic Avenger cartoon, 90's cartoons

enviromentally conscious down to the tie-dyed background. fucking hippies.

As child-friendly as the cartoon was, the film, The Toxic Avenger and its sequels were most definitely not. Troma Entertainment, started by Mike Herz and Lloyd Kaufman, who you should definitely look up if you’re in to independent films, was the production and distribution company responsible for the cartoon and the movies, which are notorious for shocksploitation B-movies. The Toxic Avengers was a crowning success in pursuit of that reputation leading to Toxie becoming the company’s official mascot. Warner Brothers have a cheeky rabbit, Bugs Bunny. Troma Entertainment have murderous ugly fucker, Toxie… See what we’re dealing with here? This movie is filled with all things B-grade, outrageous blood, shit and gore with a smattering of bare breasted hotness and dialogue delivered so badly planks with faces drawn on them could have done the job. I know you’re sold already, but carry on reading anyway…

Toxic Avenger, Toxie, Troma Entertainment. movie poster

looks like a choad and carries a mop as a weapon... what a hero!

The Toxic Avenger is set in Tromaville, “The Toxic Chemical Capital of the World” a small town somewhere near New Jersey, who’s townsfolk don’t mind a bit of toxic waste in their drinking water. Melvin, our protagonist, is the “mop boy” at the Tromaville Health Club. Melvin doesn’t paint a pretty picture or seem that smart but despite it all is a decent guy with a permanent dumb grin on his face. Amongst the beautiful people at the fitness centre, are Melvin’s biggest tormentors, Bozo and Slug and their girlfriends Julie and Wanda. It’s revealed that besides being prone to picking on weakling janitors the four of them are murderous racist psychopaths as well. The politically correct and decent people still left in this world will freak out at the scene where they go driving around, but that’s what we’re watching for, complete and utter insanity. After a prank devised by Julie, Melvin ends up in less than flattering outfit, making out with some livestock and being transformed into an even more hideous creature than what he was already. He suffers chemical burns, loses his hair, gets even uglier, pisses green and smokes when he gets a hard on, you’ll have to wait till half way through the movie to actually see his hideous face but it’s kinda worth it when you do eventually see it. It’s not all bad for Melvin, because he grows in size and strength to the point of superhuman, which he uses expertly in dishing out brutal bloody deaths to baddies in uncontrollable fits of violent rage. He also manages to land a blind, clumsy, but ultimately steaming hot girlfriend, Sarah, who he wouldn’t have had a chance with before being transformed, and if it weren’t for her being blind. In between cleaning up Tromaville’s streets, Melvin seizes his chances for revenge on those responsible for turning him into a freak, attacking Wanda mid-fiddle in the steam rooms and burning her ass, which I thought was deserved and hilarious. Oh, and if you pay close attention you might spot Marisa Tomei as the chick interrupting Julie being killed. Pretty sure it’s Tomei’s first “speaking” role in any movie. It was explained to me that actors need to land a speaking role of any kind to be able to get some card thingy so they can get other roles, which is why a lot of actors are in these whacked out films… I didn’t say I was listening or that I care, it’s just fun seeing established actors acting like retards in their younger days.

marisa tomie, my cousin vinnie, the wrestler

safe to say toxic avenger isn't on her CV

I will warn you the villains in this messed up town aren’t just bad… They are properly evil, like pimping out 12 year olds, evil. The town’s major, Major Belgoody, is a truly obese specimen who you have to see without a shirt one too many times, is among them since he’s also the criminal kingpin of Tromaville’s crime ring. At first he isn’t too concerned about the mysterious “Monster Hero” ,so dubbed by the townsfolk, but eventually starts to worry about his own safety when his henchmen start turning themselves in before they get ripped to pieces. When our hero kills a seemingly innocent old lady, (I say seemingly because she isn’t innocent, Toxie only goes mental in the presence of evil to the core types.) the Major uses it as his chance to get rid of the monster vigilante once and for all, leading to a show down between good and evil with the whole town and the National Guard in attendance.

The Toxic Avenger is many things, with a bunch of themes going on all at once. Besides being a comedic gore-fest with some inventive murders being committed in the name of justice, which really should be enough to get you to love this film, there are elements of social commentary, like the Chief of Police being a Nazi (classic!), and environmental awareness throughout this crazy-as-bag-full-of-badgers movie. If you don’t go find this film, watch it, and love it, there is most likely something irreparably wrong with you.


1 Response to “pissingblood’s grindhouse classic review: the toxic avenger”

  1. August 17, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Brilliant for finding this gem! I remember Toxi well and even had an action figure!

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