Many years ago, the marketing experts at the big Hollywood studios discovered something that came as a tremendous shock. Unlike the marketing experts themselves, most of the people who went to the movies knew how to read. What's more, they actually enjoyed it.

In a perfect world, this realization would send the studios into a new golden age of literate, sophisticated filmmaking. The suits in the boardrooms would suddenly wonder why they were wasting their time churning out billion-dollar crapfests aimed at mildly retarded hillbilly children. If it turned out that the audience was significantly more intelligent than they'd been given credit for, then perhaps it would now be time to raise the bar and produce entertainment that challenged, provoked, and stimulated the intellect.

In a perfect world, we'd all crap thousand-dollar bills and drive orgasm-powered automobiles.

What actually happened was that the marketing experts realized there was a completely untapped advertising space out there just waiting to be exploited. The average American child had already been turned into a walking billboard, wearing movie imagery on their T-shirts, carrying them around on their lunchboxes, lining their shelves with them on toys, games and model kits. With the introduction of movie-tie-in cereals and candy, kids were actually staining their underpants with reminders of their favorite movies. If people were going to read anyway, why shouldn't they read regurgitated versions of the latest Hollywood bullshit? Never mind the fact that the average Hollywood movie has less plot and character development than a standard VD pamphlet from the free clinic. All the studios had to do was hire some starving writer for pennies a day and voila, instant publicity. Thus was born the novelization.

This is not a novelization.

"Kaufman, you shameless, self-promoting dipshit," I hear you protest. "I've seen novelizations for everything from Star Wars to Showgirls and I think I know a movie tie-in when I see it. And this, my friend, is obviously a movie tie-in. Don't lie about it. It just makes you look even more pathetic than you already are."

For one thing, I doubt anything could make me look more pathetic than I already am but that's beside the point. Yes, the novel you hold in your hands retells the origin and adventures of Melvin the mop-boy from the original 1985 movie The Toxic Avenger. So in some circles, that makes this a novelization. And, in true Troma style, it's showing up a good twenty years after the movie it's supposedly novelizing.

But that's not how you should think of this. Instead, think of this book as the big-budget Toxie remake no studio would ever greenlight in a million, billion years. Over the years, we've flirted with the idea of remaking The Toxic Avenger several times.[1] We've come close to making it happen but at the last minute, the deal would always be undermined by typical slimy Hollywood double-dealing and backstabbing. Also, once we got over the initial shock of seeing so many zeros in front of the decimal point of the figures being discussed, we realized that real Troma fans, the ones who made Toxie into a household word and had stood by us through thick and thin, would hate us forever if such a film were ever made. You'd call us sell-outs and whores and rightly so.

If Hollywood was to make a Toxic Avenger movie, the first thing they would do is get rid of me, Lloyd Kaufman, Toxie's creator. If I were lucky, they'd keep me on as an "advisor". This would mean they'd ask my opinion on a couple of inconsequential points, ignore me when I said I thought they were assholes if they did something that stupid, and would prop me up in a deck chair to give interviews on Access Hollywood when the movie came out. Lucky me.

Besides me, the next thing to be cut out would be Toxie's glowing green balls and his big, hairy mop. If this were a studio-financed movie, the corporate, bureaucratic and labor elites would castrate the screenplay, removing anything that might offend the various corporate entities that line their pockets. Here, the targets of our satirical wrath will be spared nothing. You can get away with that kind of thing in a book because, as far as the elites are concerned, the only reason people buy books in the first place is to line their mahogany shelves with them and look smart at cocktail parties. Nobody actually reads the damn things.

So while the idea of a big-budget Toxie movie is mighty tempting in theory, the odds are heavily stacked against it being worth a damn. The only way to avoid it being as lame as a polio victim is if some eccentric zillionaire gave Troma the money to do whatever we wanted and ordered some major studio to distribute whatever bizarre, splatteriffic, stream-of-consciousness opus we turned in to them uncut and unmolested. On our own, Troma just doesn't have that kind of money or power. Hardly anybody does except for maybe Oprah and she hasn't been returning our calls since she got cut out of Def By Temptation.

But in a book, money is no object. This, then, is the movie WE would make if we had unlimited money and freedom. In this book, Toxie looks more realistic than if we hired twenty years worth of Oscar winning makeup designers. We have the best-looking Tromettes in our history, with the biggest, most expensive breasts money can buy. Or, if you prefer, they have smaller, more natural breasts and an androgynous, boyish quality. Whatever turns you on. The action is colossal, with explosions that would land our entire crew in the burn ward if we attempted them on a real set. The sex is uncensored, unless you, the reader, are such a total prude that you imagine these scenes with black bars covering up the action.

Yep, technology has made leaps and bounds in recent years, making it possible to capture just about anything you can imagine on celluloid. Leave it to Troma to introduce the latest technological breakthrough in cinema. The do-it-yourself movie. All you need is this book and the ability to read it and voila, you've got the cheapest multimillion-dollar feature film ever made.

However, despite all these advances, the head crushing still looks like a melon with a wig on it.