Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Day Two Hundred and Eighteen - The Toxic Avenger, "This... is a terrible, terrible, terrible..."
But it's also terribly funny.
A B-movie at it's schlockiest, The Toxic Avenger tells the tale of uber-nerd Melvin who for the first twenty minutes or so of the film is the heel that everyone in town despises... especially the roid/road ragers who get their jollies running down pedestrians Death Race-style.
Eventually, after way too much running time spent establishing what an utterly geeky tool Melvin is, his jock tormentors play what they think is one final trick on him, which leads to poor Melvin jumping out a second story window in shame and faceplanting directly into an open vat of toxic waste.
Hey... it was the 80's and New Jersey. You think the Ninja Turtles didn't get their start in a similar fashion?
Anyways, from the ashes of his chemical burns, The Toxic Avenger is born. With newly augmented super-strength and a preternatural ability to detect evil in all forms, Toxie roams about the town of Tromaville foiling villains and stuffing mops down their throats in what may or may not be a political statement (*wink*).
Of course, he's occasionally too late to save a few brave citizens or seeing eye dogs, but when such is the case he wreaks bloody vengeance on the perpetrators and manages to get a blind girlfriend in the process.
Like I said before, The Toxic Avenger is a terrible, terrible, terrible... well, you get the idea... terrible movie. It was to the 80's what Ed Wood and John Agar movies were to the 50's and 60's, über-cheesy drive-in features made on a shoe-string budget and full of cheap jokes, thrills, and gratuitous and/or lascivious behavior.
It definitely would've made it as the movie of the week on MST3k if there weren't the pesky problems of all the foul language and nudity, I think. And, even though it never officially was a pick for them, I can certainly see watching this movie with friends to make one of our own... especially if there's alcohol involved!
I think my favorite bits are the fact that we don't see Toxie's face for quite some time after his mutation, waiting for the best moment to make the reveal... and his blind girlfriend, Sara (played by Andree Maranda), over-emphasizing her "blindness" by not knowing where to stare at all. It's hilariously bad acting and I can't stop giggling every time she's on the screen.
The Horror! The Melodrama! The Cheap Jokes!
One odd note: for some reason, the surreal "Crack Whore" introduction from the late 90's Laserdisc release is featured at the front of the film which shows a down on his luck Toxie turning tricks after the cancellation of his cartoon (Toxic Crusaders). I have no idea why Troma decided to send THAT version to Netflix to put on the Stream, but it does put an interesting spin on the metahumor of the series.
Overall, The Toxic Avenger is just another in a long line of "so bad it's kinda good" cult classics in the vein of Rocky Horror, This Island Earth, and Little Shop of Horrors. I honestly can't recommend it if you're looking for a good movie, but I can if you're in the mood to riff a bad one.
Until tomorrow, Potatoes~