This is the story of Melvin, the Tromaville Health Club mop boy, who inadvertently and naively trusts the hedonistic, contemptuous and vain health club members, to the point of accidentally ending up in a vat of toxic waste. The devastating results then have a transmogrification effect, his alter ego is released, and the Toxic Avenger is born, to deadly and comical results. The local mop boy is now the local Superhero, the saviour of corruption, thuggish bullies and indifference. Troma classic with good make-up effects and stunts, a pleasant surprise indeed.
I’ve said it before but this calls for a repeating, I have a soft spot for independent productions and Troma Entertainment is the benchmark for low budget independent film making. And this film, ‘The Toxic Avenger’, is what made Troma what it is.
The story focuses on Melvin Ferd (Mark Torgl), a stereotypical 98-pound weakling who works at a health club as a cleaner. He is constantly tormented by two jocks and their girlfriends who torment him to the point where he runs out of a second story window and lands in a truc At first he is very badly and graphically burnt by the waste but by the morning he has mutated into a monster of ‘super human size and strength.’
Melvin now roams Tromaville violently and again graphically fighting crime. Ripping arms off, burning hands in boiling oil, stabbing people in the eyes, removing aforementioned eyes, burning people’s butt’s on the coals in a sauna and various other horrific ways.
Melvin eventually meets a girl who is blind and so is not afraid of his hideously grotesque and deformed appearance. He still has a city to save though and all the criminals are the underlings of the corrupt Mayor of Tromaville, Mayor Peter Belgoody (Pat Ryan)
This is supposed to be a horror film, but like a lot of Troma films it’s not so much horrific as it is grotesque. It’s more of a typical superhero story in many ways, It follows the superhero standard plot of a nerdy guy with no girlfriend, a rubbish job and no real valiant tendencies is transformed into a superhero who gets the girl, saves the city and gets revenge on those who wronged him. It’s almost as if the Toxic Avenger is a combination of Batman, Spiderman and The Hulk all in one. But of course nowhere near as awesome as any of those.
Many would argue that this film is clichéd, campy and just another Troma excuse to show boobs. And they would be right however the idea behind this film and Troma in general is a noble one, make interesting, different films that people wouldn’t normally sit through.
In fact in the early eighties very few superheroes on the silver screen dealt with their adversaries in such a violent way. Although now it is so common to the point where people are talking about remaking ‘The Toxic Avenger’ for more of a Hollywood audience.