The '80s provided us with many politically incorrect classics from the trash worlds of Samurai Cop, Surf Nazis Must Die and Frankenhooker, but none left more of a mark in collective memory than The Toxic Avenger. The story takes place in a small town called Tromaville, overrun by gangsters and exploited by a corrupt mayor. After a run-in with some gangsters, Melvin, an awkward and nerdy janitor, falls into a vat of toxic acid which transforms him into the Toxic Avenger. His new and disgusting form comes with super powers that enable him to exact revenge and win the town back in the process.
Check out the trailer (which basically reveals the whole movie) below:
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The '80s B-movie classic will be brought to life by one of the Sausage Party directors, Conrad Vernon. He also directed Shrek 2, Monsters vs. Aliens and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted but made the jump from kids animation to R-rated comedy-horror with the outrageous and raunchy Sausage Party. Vernon is a perfect candidate to revamp The Toxic Avenger but there are certain essential elements he should stay true to in order to capture the original spirit. We take a look at a couple of key scenes to discuss what makes this over-the-top cheese-fest a cult classic.
1. The Creation of the Monster Hero
The nerdy janitor, Melvin (Mitch Cohen) is led down to the pool by one of the many one-dimensional vixens with the promise of seven minutes in heaven, only to find himself smooching a dolled-up sheep. The gangsters are all so jubilant that their plan paid off that the humiliating frenzy forces the janitor to jump out the window (!?) into a vat of toxic acid.
2. A Monster is Born
The '80s was a golden age for practical effects, with legendary directors such as David Cronenberg and John Carpenter pushing the boundaries of horror with state-of-the-art prosthetics, injecting a fresh sense of terror into the tired genre. The transformation of the nerdy janitor into the Toxic Avenger, on the other hand, is so camp and over the-top that it's genuinely hilarious; the bone crunching sound effects, the stomach-churning skull bubbles and Melvin's proud mother on the other side rejoicing that her son finally hit puberty.
3. Smoking Keeps You Fit
One of the most prevalent themes in the film is fitness. It's never explained but the criminals who've taken over spend most of their time at the Health Club. They pass the time working out and abusing Melvin, which is why it's the first place on his list to visit when he's getting his revenge. This clip is a perfect example of how people worked out in the '80s. They have to maintain a level of cool while working on their core, so they pass a cigarette back and forth for what seems to be over 499 sit ups.
4. The Incredible Action Sequences
Once '80s Frankenstein's monster is released and starts cleaning up Tromaville, the real hijinks begin. The action sequences are filled to the brim with gratuitous gore and weird comedy both complimenting each other perfectly. It's obvious from action scenes like this that the producers spent their budget on make-up and prosthetics which make up for the hammy acting.
5. Love Is Blind, Love Is Weird
Caution: This scene features Mutant-on-Human boinking, NSFW.
The Toxic Avenger isn't all gore and gags, there is actually a romance at the center of it, which was highlighted more in the musical adaptation. The hideous monster falls in love with a blind girl who accepts him for who he really is (awww). She caresses his lumps (ew), calls him muscly and the two outsiders throw reason out the window and fall madly in love in what has to be the weirdest romance in recent history.
Obviously the couple can't share this beautiful moment together without a cheesy gag. Once she kisses his swampy mouth, he gets excited and expresses his excitement by releasing some sort of noxious gas from an exploding bubble below (naturally) before the boinking begins. All it took for Melvin to find love was to fall in a vat of acid and have his body painfully and radically reconstructed — there's hope out there for everyone!
Who would you like to see The Toxic Avenger?