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The Toxic Avenger

Cast of Characters!

Melvin- A 90 pound weakling who works as a janitor at the Tromaville Health Club. After Julie and Bozo play a cruel joke on him, Melvin is chased to the second floor of the club by an army of hecklers. Unfortunately he doesn't have brakes and ends up smashing through a window and swimming in toxic sludge which then turns him into...

The Toxic Avenger- A hideously deformed monster of super-human size and strength! He seeks out and destroys all evil in Tromaville instinctively and eventually rids the town of all its criminals. He will be referred to as Toxie for the duration of the review (and his film series).

Bozo- Psychotic health club member who enjoys running down pedestrians (for points). Gee... it kind of reminds me of Death Race 2000. Anyways, Toxie gives him some driving lessons and takes Bozo for a ride over a cliff.

Slug and his Girlfriend- Two of Bozo's friends. Slug is choked to death and thrown out of a moving car. His girlfriend is placed on some "hot-rocks" in a sauna.

Julie- Bozo's girlfriend. She figured in greatly with the prank on Melvin. She's supposedly murdered off screen with a pair of scissors.

Cigar Face, Knuckles, and Nipples- Three gang members that Toxie maims. Cigar Face has his face and genitalia used as a punching bag by Toxie. Knuckles gets his nose smashed in and Nipples gets both his eyes poked out. Toxie delivers them both the coup de gras by smashing their heads together.

Mayor Peter Belgoody- The cause of Tromaville's crime wave. It makes you wonder why any town would elect such a fat slob as their mayor. Toxie punches a hole in his stomach to see if the "good" mayor "has any guts."

Sara- Toxie's blind girlfriend. She loves him despite the fact he's a hideous monster who goes around murdering criminals.


Lovely Tromaville, land of hazardous waste and nerdy janitors. Nerdy until they leap from second story windows and land in a drum of toxic waste. (They go together, they just don't GO together - remember back to your high school dating scene, you'll understand.) And so Melvin became the Toxic Avenger, a horribly deformed monster driven to destroy evil. Destroy is an especially apt term, he rips off arms (Then beats people with them.), crushes heads, and jams a mop into the skull of each vanquished criminal. Oh, he falls in love too! With a beautiful, bountiful, blonde, blind, bimbo named Sara. She's cute enough, unfortunately if there's one place she's going to put that cane it's into the closest man's crotch. Lucky for us that ends up being Toxie most of the time, nuclear gonads are nigh invulnerable to whacking. The monster previously known as Melvin has another score to settle, with the jerks responsible for his condition. Bozo and pals enjoy running down people with the car. It's the good old points system, so much for an old lady, so much for a kid, you know the joke. By the way, bike helmets don't help much when somebody really wants you churned into road mush. Melvin's worst enemy is the corrupt mayor and his pack of faithful cronies, he's worried about the "Monster Hero" coming after him. So he manipulates facts, forcing the Governor to call out the National Guard. With a ring of tanks and soldiers surrounding him it's only the kind hearts of Tromaville's citizens which save Toxie, even after he disembowels the mayor. (That was a big man, lots of guts.)

Memorable Lines:

Bozo: "He's stressing me Julie! He's stressing me!"

Knuckles: "If he don't take the dough, I'm gonna give him a blow!"

Toxie: "And you can tell all your scum friends that things are gonna change in this town. I'm not just another pretty face!"

Toxie: "Hohohoho. No ticky no washy!"

Toxie: "Let's see if you have any guts!" (Punches a hole in the mayor's stomach.)

Things to watch for:

  • Beginning - So this is what an actual health club is like?
  • 9 3/4 minutes - Full Uncut HEAD CRUSHING SCENE!
  • 11 1/2 minutes - How couldn't that guy feel a snake being put down his shirt?
  • 17 minutes - Melvin makes out with a sheep.
  • 18 minutes - Melvin dives into a barrel of toxic waste!
  • 21 1/2 minutes - Melvin transforms into... the TOXIC AVENGER!
  • 24 1/2 minutes - Toxie pummels Cigar Face, Knuckles, and Nipples.
  • 31 minutes - Toxie finds a new place to live. Hehehehe.
  • 45 minutes - Is that Ron Jeremy?! Nah... it couldn't be... could it?
  • 47 1/2 minutes - Ewww... slug's girlfriend is masturbating!
  • 55 minutes - A hard to see... RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
  • 57 minutes - Hehehehehe. Going up?
  • 63 minutes - Bozo's corpse hardly has a scratch on it, even though his car went off a cliff and exploded!
  • 73 minutes - The National Guard mobilizes against Toxie!
  • 78 minutes - Hey look, the mayor does have guts (literally speaking).
  • 80+ minutes - End Credits!

Tromatic Trivia!

  • The film's budget was $500,000.

  • AKA Health Club Horror

  • Marisa Tomei can be seen briefly in the pool scene before Melvin jumps out the window. This is why still freeze was invented.

  • The film was made because, Troma being backwards as it is, decided to make a horror film after reading the article in Variety headlined, "THE HORROR FILM IS DEAD".

  • This was Troma's first horror film, which is about all they make today. Before this they were doing sex comedies like "Cry Uncle" and "Squeeze Play".

  • The scene where the hit 'n run drivers smash the boy's head was brought about by an experience Lloyd had when he was 14. As he was backing out of his driveway, he heard a thud and looked behind the car and it was his 4-year-old sister. She got up and ran away unhurt, but it impacted him greatly.

  • To create a head-crush special effect like the one mentioned above, simply go to your local supermarket, purchase a melon, fill it with cranberry sauce, draw a smiley face on it and give it a wig, and smash it on film. If the cuts are made fast enough nobody can tell it isn't a real kid's head.

  • The hit 'n run points system was based on a New York Post article about some real hit 'n run drivers who had a point system set up for different types of people to run over. So Troma isn't as far from reality as most would like to believe.

  • Though Kaufman never thought of making a sequel, while at Cannes a German producer asked if the rumors were true about a Toxic Avenger 2 and wanted to buy the rights for distribution in Germany. They lied and said it was already in production and got quite a nice advance. Currently there are 3 sequels to The Toxic Avenger.

  • The movie also spawned a very popular cartoon show (The Toxic Crusaders) which played 96% of US markets.

  • Over 100 companies had rights to Toxic Crusaders merchandise, including video games for Sega and Nintendo.

  • Mitch Cohen was Toxie under the mask, which took four hours each day to apply. While dressed as Toxie he could only drink through a stray. Yikes.

  • Mitch Cohen had a cameo on screen, in which Toxie throws his draino sandwhich out the window which hits the real Cohen in the face, but the scene was cut. It is on the prints of the "Director's Cut".

  • AKA The Atomic Hero

  • Andree Miranda, who played Toxie's girlfriend, was currently the real-life girlfriend of the main producer of the film. She tried out and was so good that her part was re-written without nude scenes (as she refused to do them).

  • Andree Miranda is also a singer, and wrote the closing theme song.

  • Jennifer Babtist (Wanda) and Robert Prichard (Slug) met on the set and fell in love. They are currently married and running a theatre.

  • Mark Torgyl was asked back to The Toxic Avenger to make Part III, but he turned it down when Lloyd refused to pay him the $50/day he wanted. Lloyd of course regrets this choice today.

  • After the filming was completed, the director decided that the film didn't end right, the mayor didn't get his, ya know? So they went back and shot the ending, however, Pat Ryan who played the mayor had a fat operation and was considerably skinnier. Also, Mitch Cohen was unavailable so a scrawny Troma employee was used to play Toxie instead. So in some cuts of the final scene both actors look considerably smaller than before.

  • Norma Pratt was in Stuck on You a few years prior to Toxic Avenger and was so happy to be in a role where she wasn't referred to as a midget that she gladly came back to work for Troma on this picture. However, after holding the stained jeans and being shoved in the dryer she didn't return Troma's calls.

  • In the scene where the policeman's hands are on fire after touching Melvin, a piece of fire fell onto actor Mark Torgyl and he really did catch fire. If you watch the scene closely you can see his arm burning as he rolls to put it out.

  • Initial test screenings for the film were terrible. In attendence was justice of the Supreme Court in Germany, who was quite appalled by the film.

  • AKA "Toxic Shock"

  • The film never really had a title. Eventually the word "Avenger" was used because of the advice of an overseas distributor who said films with strong words like that do better.

  • Actor Pat Ryan changed most of his lines because he was unsatisfied with the script.

  • Mike Herz and Lloyd Kaufman have directed about 15 films together.

  • Lloyd Kaufman had to use the alias Samuel Weil while directing because of his membership with the Director's Guild of America. If he would have used his real name, he would have had to pay an arm and a leg in union fees and hire union crew, actors, etc.

  • Frankenstein was a huge influence on the directors, but they wanted to see the monster live, thus Toxie goes on to make sequels.

  • Troma scoured the countryside looking for someone with one arm to be in a Toxic Avenger so they could "rip off" his arm easilly. Unfortunately, once they found the one-armed man, they didn't really need him afterall, because the special effects guys put a fake stump over his real stump.

  • The only hate mail to this day that Troma has received is about that dog that gets killed in the restaurant scene.

  • That scene was done by man who trained his dog to be 'thrown' across a newly-waxed floor. THe dog loved the trick and would do it all day if he could.

  • The dog "gore" was just spaghetti smeared on a grey rug.

  • This was the first movie to be set in Tromaville.

  • The Tromaville Health Club was really the St. George Health Club. They received a credit at the end of the film and also a single chair in the building sported their name, not Tromaville Health Club.

  • The toxic waste truck scene was shot without a permit, and as it was driving to the location some concerned motorists phoned police, believing that it was in fact real. The truck was pulled over and had some explaining to do.

  • The toxic waste was a substance called Agar-Agar which was boiled to get the bubbling effect.

  • The sheep Melvin was kissing was infested with lice and other nasty critters, which he found out after the shoot.

  • They had to cut the scene where Melvin was running down the street on fire to get an R rating.

  • The policeman who was beaten in the alley was a real-life firefighter.

  • Troma's first office was in fact a rented Janitor's closet, still containing the supplies, and Lloyd made a mental note of the mop while there.

  • Shinbone Alley was where they shot the alley scenes, and there was a problem with chiggers in the grass there, which can only be gotten rid of with nail polish remover.

  • Another problem with the alley was that a homeless person was very upset that Troma was distrubing his home, and one day he stole a prop gun and threatened to shoot them. Eventually they found out it wasn't a real gun and everyone was ok, but it scared the crew.

  • The spinning headlines were just newspapers on spinning cheese trays.

  • An abandoned hospital in New Jersey was used for most of the miscellaneous indoor locations.

  • The actor playing Leroy quite after having to point the gun at a baby. The baby's mother didn't mind at all.

  • The concept of only killing bad people came from a screenplay that Kaufman wrote with Stan Lee in 1971 called Night of the Witch.

  • The pimp's limo was used free of charge after the Troma team flagged it down in the street.

  • The rats used were too cute. They tried to put hairspray on them to make them mangier-looking but the rats cleaned it off everytime they put it on. They should have just used the rats crawling around the Troma building.

  • The fake beating of the old lady had to be cut from the film to get an R rating.

  • The police station they used was an abandoned police station that was attached to a working police station. Many of the officers in the scene were real police officers as their appearance on film was the reason Troma was allowed to shoot.

  • Lily Hayes, the director's daughter, played the little girl eating ice cream.

  • The film was picked up by a French distribution company long before it was seen in America.

  • The tanks and soldiers at the end of the film were from a military base on Staton Island. They were shown a re-write of the script (very much in favor of the army) and they actually decided to allow Troma to film with their tanks and such. The filming was almost halted as Andree Miranda was running around in a small bikini, but the troops supported the filmmakers and said it was a morale-booster.

  • Yes, that's it.

  • Wait... In this film the title character is never referred to as "The Toxic Avenger"; he is only referred to as "Monster Hero." In his first book, "All I Needed To Know About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger," the director Lloyd Kaufman revealed that the reason for this was because the working title of the movie was "The Monster Hero," and that the change to the title "The Toxic Avenger" only occurred at the "last minute." The character was consistently referred to as Toxic Avenger, or Toxie, throughout this movie's three sequels: "The Toxic Avenger II," "The Toxic Avenger III: The Last Temptation of Toxie," and "The Toxic Avenger IV: Citizen Toxie."

  • Ok.