Toxic Avenger: The Director's Cut (1985)
Reviewed by FreD
Tagline--The first Super-Hero... from New Jersey!
Directed by--Michael Herz and Lloyd Kaufman
Written by--Lloyd Kaufman and Joe Ritter
Company : Troma
Mitch Cohen--The Toxic Avenger
Pat Ryan Jr.--Mayor Belgoody
Mark Torgol--Melvin Junko
Dick Martinsen--Officer O'Clancy
David Weiss--Chief Of Police
Dan Snow--Cigar Face
Charles Lee Jr.--Nipples
We open with a screen bearing the message "Warning : The Toxic Avenger contains Scenes of Extreme Violence". With an opening like that, it's sure to have gore-hounds everywhere squirming in their seats with anticipation. We open in Tromaville, the toxic waste dumping capital of the world. More specifically, we open in the local heath club/spa, the workplace of our 90-pound hero, Melvin. As we see, the inhabitants of the club not only dislike poor Melvin, but they torture him at every opportunity. Melvin doesn't help things be constantly getting in their way. That night, the goon gang from the club goes out on their favorite past time, which involves running down innocent bystanders and documenting the event with polaroids. The next day, at the health club, they decide that they've had it and put together a plan to humiliate our mop-wielding hero Melvin. I won't go into details, but I will say that it involves a sheep and a Tutu. From there, everything starts going downhill (or uphill, depending....) when Melvin, while running away from the mob of health spa goons, ends up falling out of a second story window, landing head first in a barrel of toxic waste. What follows can be described as beautifully sickening as Melvin (over the course of the better part of 10 minutes) transforms into, you guessed it, the Toxic Avenger (or Toxie, as he dubs himself). Toxie is a creature of superhuman size and strength, with a penchant for stopping evil. 90 pound Melvin is now lean, mean, and green. he even has a new voice to go with his new appearance.
Flash-forward to some days later, we find a group of thugs attacking the only clean cop on the Tromaville police force, officer O'Clancey. No worries though, as Toxie comes to the rescue, dispatching our villains in a plethora of ways (including his trusty mop and eye gouging). From there, we learn of the evil Mayor, and more heroism ensues. Along with the heroic deeds, our hero also gets his revenge on the jerks that made him the way he is (via spa and car chase, among other methods). Choice stuff, indeed. Toxie, sadly, winds up living at the dump, as he finds out that his mother is horrified at his appearance. Amidst all this chaos, Toxie also meets a girl by the name of Sarah. he meets her while thwarting a robbery at a fast food place. I won't go into details about that sequence, as I don't want to ruin the fun. Let's just say that every dog has its day. As it turns out, Sarah is blind, and she and Toxie fall in love, due to Toxie's inner beauty. All of this doesn't slow Toxie down, though, as he continues fighting evil, in the form of pimps and dealers. All of this thwarting doesn't sit well with our evil Mayor, but it does sit well with the citizens of Tromaville, who want Toxie as their town hero. Being fed up, the Mayor calls in some help, via the US Army. Will Toxie come out on top? I won't give away the ending, but let's just say that I have a feeling in my guts that you'll enjoy it.
My thoughts :
I know, The Toxic Avenger is more of a comedy/action movie than a horror film, but that's neither here nor there. Basically, I feel that it's a great film, and it's full of cheesy acting and over-the-top gore, which easily fits it in with most of the horror films of its time. It's good to see that the film basically invented it's local, Tromaville, NJ. That, alone, helps keep this from being too grounded in reality. Look out for the terrible over-acting by extras during the spa scenes, they won't disappoint. Also, pick of the director's cut. There have been about 700 different versions of this film, but this is by far the best. Complete with the full head crushing scene and more gore than previous versions, this is by far the ultimate version of the Toxic Avenger.
Another key element to keep aware of is the classic soundtrack. this film was released in the early 80's, and the soundtrack is definitely a sign of the times.
Well, if you want a serious horror film with a stuffy plot and three-dimensional characters.......this movie is not for you. However, if you want a fun ride that never takes itself seriously, while delivering some good special ef-x and loads of gore, than this is your movie folks.
3 1/3 out of 5 stars
"In the scene in which Melivin is being chased out of the Spa, you catch a glimpse of a young Marisa Tomei as an extra." - Percy