80's Horror

The Toxic Avenger (1984) - Michael Herz and Lloyd Kaufman



Director: Michael Herz & Lloyd Kaufman
Producer: Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman, Stuart Strutin
Starring: Mitch Cohen, Mark Torgl, Andree Maranda and Pat Ryan Jr.
Studio: Troma Entertainment
Release Date: April 11, 1986
Country: USA
Did ya know: The violent-looking crushing of a child's head in the movie was accomplished by injecting a melon with corn syrup and red food dye. A wig was placed on the melon and it was fitted onto a dummy. Though cheap, the effect is highly unsettling.


Toxic Avenger is a ridiculous film. From the first scene to the last we are bombarded with the most ludicrous humor and horror. To some it may appear to be far too much. However, to me it was pure genius. I remember seeing Toxic Avenger in the horror aisle at Blockbuster, but something kept me from checking it out. It wasn’t until after high school that I would even watch it. I didn’t know what to expect but I liked what I got. This isn’t a movie to watch with the family. This isn’t going to be a good one to watch with old mom and dad. No. This movie is best viewed in the privacy of your own home. Preferably with friends. Preferably with some sort of mind altering substance. It’s just that kind of picture. 

You can’t look too deeply into this. It’s not Catcher in the Rye. This movie is about a wimpy, shrimpy little nerd named Melvin, who gets bullied by some uber-dickish assholes named Slug and Bozo. These creatons, along with their girlies, get their kicks by running people over. They even created a little game for it. Slug and Bozo, again with their girlies, just happen to go to the same gym that Melvin works at. They appear to harass him daily. This leads to the entire gym coerce Melvin to throw himself from a second story window. Unfortunately, he lands in a vat of toxic sludge. It doesn’t kill him. It just turns him into a deformed musclebound superhero, The Toxic Avenger! Now the scum in Tromaville can really get mopped.

Don’t think that this movie will be tame just because it’s ultra low budget. This one isn’t for the feint of heart. Sure the acting is atrocious and the quality, overall is pretty terrible. However, it somehow all comes together to make a really cohesive film that just works. Toxie is cheesy but instantly lovable. His dubbing and lack of face time actually make for some of the most hilarious things in the movie. 

The gore is shocking and plentiful. Some scenes really leave you thinking, ‘...did they just go there?’ and yes, they did. Brains, guts and limbs are strewn all about Tromaville. The Toxic Avenger makes sure to eliminate crime with extreme prejudice. It’s amazing. This isn’t a quality film. It’s sole purpose seems to be nothing more than to shock you.

This movie isn’t safe for all ages. It’s not appropriate or decent. But none of that matters. It’s pure exploitative drivel done in the most sincere way. This movie is great for group settings or a solo viewing. However, I wouldn’t suggest watching this with a date. It goes into too many uncomfortable places.

The Toxic Avenger (Unrated Vestron).jpg