It's with quite a bit of embarrassment that I have to admit to only seeing 'The Toxic Avenger' recently. Being a Troma fan I have seen some of the most obscure entries but haven't seen the most iconic film in Kaufman's repertoire, with some of that guilt in mind I wanted to ensure my first experience of Toxie was done in style and opted to pre-order the 88 films, Limited Edition Steelbook.
The first of Kaufman's horror films, a direction that he would choose to keep, thankfully, spawned a number of films that simply put did not take themselves seriously providing us with some rememberable entertainment and gave the Troma Studio a cult status.
The Toxic Avenger follows a cleaner (the mop boy), called 'Melvin', at a gym in Tromaville, New Jersey. Melvin is a 98 pound weakling with a lack of social skills, he is constantly tormented at the gym by the muscle heads and 'too pretty to train' females. He doesn't go a single day without having the piss taken out of him and one day the bullies take it too far, one of the girls tricks him into wearing a pink tutu and to meet him by the pool, he ends up kissing a sheep and when the lights come on the entire gym is there, laughing at him. He is chased around the gym and eventually to escape he dives out of a window right into a toxic waste drum sitting on a truck. He manages to make it home where his transformation from Melvin into the superhuman Toxie takes places - both huge in size and strength albeit slightly deformed.
From here on in Toxie becomes the mutant Robocop of Tromaville, crime fighting at every given opportunity answering to all the townsfolk when in need. Of course he makes it his personal vendetta to get revenge on those that made his life misery for all that time at the gym. There is as you would expect a few side plots that are happening including a love story for Toxie himself, conveniently with a blind girl!!
Three things can be guaranteed with TTA, tits, gore and humour. They really are in abundance and with or without knowing it, captured the essence of what made 80's films so great. The girls are typically beautiful with great assets and the gore throughout is brilliant, the effects are up there with Troma's best and Toxie has some seriously interesting ways of dispatching his foes, dismemberment, eye gouging and deep frying one of his victims to name a few. It was nice to see karma at play and Toxie literally ripping the bad guys to pieces.
If a fan of Troma or slapstick gory films of the 80's this without a doubt has a home in your collection. I can as always recommend the 88 Films blu-ray transfer even though it has clearly aged, colours are vibrant and looking around this is easily the best in terms of quality, version of the 1984 film. If you have a sweet tooth for steelbooks you will not be disappointed by both the look and feel of TTA, the embossed details on the front being a particularly nice touch. Although this is my first outing with the film and have missed out on all these years where it's been a cult hit, I can safely say I am the proud owner of 'The Toxic Avenger' on Steelbook.....and so should you!!