Released in 1984, The Toxic Avenger was a low budget horror movie that didn't gain much attention from critics and filmgoers until a while after its release due to being in theater's and outdoor cinema for many months. Thus now the film is indeed a cult classic. It was a commercial and financial success and one of Troma's (horror film company) best films.
The film is about a Melvin, a young, scrawny, and very introverted teenager who works at a health club in New Jersey. While there, he is constantly mocked and made fun of by the fitness junkies and one day he is forced to wear a tutu while being chased by his nefarious bullies. Frightened and hopeless, Melvin ends up on the top floor of the building and jumps out of a window only to land inside a barrel of toxic waste. This results in Melvin transforming into a buff, menacing, and absolutely disgusting looking creature dubbed 'The Toxic Avenger'. He fights crime all over the fictional town of Tromaville in brutish ways; ripping limbs off, crushing skulls, ripping out eyeballs, you name it. He seeks revenge on those who treated him wrong and caused his transformation and also rids the town of crime ring leaders such as a short woman at a laundromat and even the two-faced mayor. He even ends up falling in love with a blind woman.
The film is very gory and not for the faint of heart. Being the man with a strong stomach, I was able to sit through it without looking away, and I personally had a fun time watching this film, which had a goofy yet entertaining story, good acting, and a powerful message. This movie had a lot of potential and man, did it reach that potential. Now, I know if my friends saw this film they would make fun of it and probably think I'm weird, but theres a meaningful lesson in it that can relate to us all.
I personally believe The Toxic Avenger is a masterpiece for every single one of its aspects, and the lesson that really hit home was that no matter what people do to you, no matter how bad they treat you, you should always be a good person and stay true to who you really are. If you take away the fact that Toxie killed his bullies from the health club, he's actually a true hero (haha). In a sense, he is the Batman of Tromaville, (Batman doesn't kill, but you get the point). Whenever he is needed to save the day, he is there to combat the criminals and evil-doers of his small town in order to bring justice and keep the good people safe. He is aware of the corruption that goes on and he knows that if the cops won't do anything, then he will.
Toxie was aware of his superhuman strength and power. He was smart, cunning, and could take on anyone with ease. He wasn't some shy boy anymore, no, he became a man who took risks and knew his role in the world. He knew to use his powers for good, just as a true hero of a comic book or even in the real world would do so.
In our loneliest and darkest times, lighting will always shine bright after the night. We must not let anyone influence our actions negatively, as becoming evil to combat the good would be a terrible mistake. This story stuck to me because the overall message it sent was to be someone of good karma, to be someone who will never cease to be a white knight and help those in need and earn a place in the hearts of righteous people. Despite having been bullied a lot when I was younger, just like Toxie, I never stopped being good. To this day I treat each and every human being with respect and dignity. Toxie cared about the people of his town. He didn't want them to suffer like he did, so he took a self guiding pledge to provide a service and become a vigilante - a harbinger of law and peace . He didn't decide to take his anger out on everyone because of what happened to his body. Instead, he took that anger out on those that actually deserved it, the bad guys.
The Toxic Avenger reveals the meaning of a true hero, and a hero could be anybody, even you. All it takes is the motivation and drive to do good for the world. It truly is an awe inspiring experience watching this masterpiece.
Now, my question to you is: What would you do if you became The Toxic Avenger? Would you hide from everybody since you don't want them to see you? Or would it be your moral obligation to become the law bringer and protector your fellow citizens deserve?