Melvin (Mark Torgl) is a nerdy mopboy working at the local gym in Tromaville (the
toxic waste capital), hated & despised by everybody because he doesn't
meet beauty- & fitness-standards, especially by Bozo (Gary Schneider), Slug
(Robert Prichard), Julie (Cindy Manion) & Wanda (Jennifer Prichard), a gang
of bullies who relish in hit-&-run-killings.
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One day, the quartet decides to play a trick on him that - rather
unexpectedly - ends with Melvin falling into a barrell of toxic waster. &
this stuff makes Melvin mutate into a monstr5uous superhuman being - The Toxic
Avenger (Mitchell Cohen).
From now on, he gets furious everytime he sees an evil person - furious
enough to kill them & stuff mops into their mouths.
At first, he is of course seen as a deadly monster, even his mother (Sarabel
Levinson) throws him out, & the only girl who would take him, Sara
(Andree Maranda), is blind. Then though, as Tromaville thanks to Toxie gets
safer & safer, the town gets ever more popular & more & more people
move there. Everybody's happy.
Of course not, mayor Belgoody (Pat Ryan) sees his plans to build even more
toxic waste dumps on the city's premises for his private profit threatened by
the city's goody-good image, & so, when Toxie kills a harmless old lady,
Mrs Haskell (Norma Pratt), he sees the perfect opportunity to turn public
opinion against the Toxic Avenger - even though it soon turns out that
Mrs.Haskell has actually been running a white slavery ring.
Soon, the police & the national guard aim all their guns at the Avenger,
& it does look grim for him indeed - but then a few of Toxie's friends,
among them cop O'Clancey (Dick Martinsen) get between Toxie & the guns of
the law, & soon make both cops & soldiers see reason, see that Toxie is
the good guy.
So in the end, when Toxie brutally murders the mayor, the only one who
didn't see reason, in front of soldiers, cops & townsfolks, he receives a
round of applause for it.
Despite the fact that Troma had existed for quite some time before
this movie, turning out weak teen-comedies & weak horror pics, this was the
movie that finally put Troma on the map, a blend of sci-fi- &
superhero-movies with teen-comedy, garnered with some gross-out-effects &
disguised as a satire on the 80's fitness-boom, that was at the same time a
totally unexpected but very up-to-date blow against the holy cows of its time.
Also, it set the standards for almost all Troma films of the future, which
would almost invariably propel around sex, violence, blood'n'guts &
The movie itself does not quite live up to its promises though: the
gross-out-effects lose their appeal because of over-saturation, the comedy is
pretty blunt & badly executed, & the story, despite some ironic touches
just follows the same cliché as so many American superhero-comics do,
basically saying killing's all right as long as you kill bad people (that
trashy Marvel Comics would dedicate 2 comic-book series to Toxic Avenger
would further prove that point).
The raw direction of the movie & the crude special effects do lend the
film some naive charm though.