"The Toxic Avenger" (1984) - ZombieFuel.net
Photo credit: www.moviehousememories.com
by Bone Jawnson
If you do not love the Monster Hero, then what are you doing here? When I dove into the Troma Entertainment classic, "The Toxic Avenger," I was coming off a month-long run of low to no-budget Rick Slone movies. I wanted to compare an independent movie with a budget of $500,000 (Troma) versus a budget of $8,500 (Rick Sloane). Personally, I feel that the Rick Sloane movie closest to the production of "The Toxic Avenger" is "The Visitants." There was a notable difference in the production value of the two films, which I attribute to the budget and availability of special effects. Otherwise, Rick Sloane did a damn good job getting a feature film made for next to nothing.
Now, on to the brass tacks. The last time I watched "The Toxic Avenger" was on my birthday a few years ago in the backyard of a friend who had a projector. I was, how should I say, very well lubricated. I felt that kicking TROMONTH off with a bang should include another look at "The Toxic Avenger." The movie begins in the toxic chemical capital of the world, the fictional Tromaville, New Jersey. At the local health club, there is a goofy janitor named Melvin Ferd who is as clumsy as he is horny. Melvin is bullied into oblivion by a few club members. So much so, that he ends up in a pink leotard and tutu kissing a goat in the dark. An embarrassed Melvin runs from the goat prank screaming and eventually ends up flying through a window into toxic chemical sludge. Yes, the drivers of the unprotected chemical waste truck were drinking beer and doing cocaine, just in case you would think otherwise.
Fast forward to Melvin's metamorphosis into the Monster Hero. The toxic chemical waste transforms puny Melvin into a hulking, gnarly-looking green creature with one heck of a growl. This monster is on a mission to destroy. Destroy evil, that is. The newly transformed Melvin, although gruesome looking, is very charming, well-spoken, and has a penchant for wiping out crime and criminals in Tromaville. Obviously, he goes after the main antagonists from the beginning of the film, but not before he targets local hoodlums. At one point, he comes to the rescue of customers in a pizza shop where he takes care of the robbers and actually meets his to-be girlfriend.
Without going into too much detail, as I want you to see this film for yourself, the Monster Hero, or "Toxie" as he is known to fans, is a "monster" that will steal your heart and probably your girlfriend. He epitomizes looking beyond the book cover and reading what is on the pages. We should strive to appreciate each other for who we are rather than the perceived differences based on our looks. Yes, there are some gruesome kills and blood splatters, but there is a deeper message in this film. Don't be toxic, be an avenger.