Instant Queue Diaries- Episode Eight: Toxic Avenger

Toxic_avengerposterWhen you can’t sleep, you do crazy things. I, on the other hand, watch extremely horrible movies.

Again, forced to deal with insomnia, I ventured into the instant queue for a B-Movie classic.

Our cult movie editor Anthony Benedetto would have been proud with my choice.

Toxic Avenger.

It’s not that this is a bad flick; it’s the fact that it’s so bad that it ends up being hilarious. So hilarious that I thought I was going to wake my upstairs neighbor.

Seeing a group of nut jobs run over people and have a point system while doing it is probably one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen in a flick. Sure, the execution of it wasn’t the best. Lloyd Kaufman is the Chef Boyardee of movie making, as his movies leave a decent taste in your mouth, but the after effect is worse than the bloating any can of Beefaroni can induce. After it’s all over, you’ll actually end up repeating lines from them, knowing they stink. It’s like hypnosis in a way.

However, one thing in this film that does work is Toxie’s origin. Feeling like it’s straight out of a comic book, the Toxic Avenger is born and he is pissed. Considering how horrible his enemies are, it’s easy to
root for him as he kills them and anyone else who stands in his way.


Yeah, not normal behavior for a super hero, right? Remember though, this is part of the film’s allure. It’s bloody, sexy and gritty. Because of this, “The Toxic Avenger” Luckily, this hides many of the film’s major flaws, like the actors inability to perform. Make no mistake about it, everyone in this movie, is a disaster of a thespian. I’ve seen community college performances of “Little Shop of Horrors” performed with more precision.

Nevertheless, there’s a quality in the performances that makes it appealing. The men are zany, and represent every stereotype known to man. The women are all hot and easy.

That’s one way to hide bad acting and a small budget, don’t pretend to, and just cast good-looking women for all the big female roles.

And in the end, it all ends up working.

Supposed to be a super hero movie, Toxie weirdly ends up being part comedy, part softcore thriller and part horror.

Despite that though, the film is completely nuts and won’t put you to sleep.

Unfortunate for me, especially with my condition, but great for anyone looking for a late-night treat.

enabling“The Toxic Avenger” is a movie that knows how to utilize a small budget and make it work in its favor. Lloyd Kaufman is the king of this type of exploitation film because he is fully aware of the campy acting, but infuses it with fast-paced editing and over-the-top gore effects. The finished product is a great example of everything a midnight B-movie should be.

Originally wanting to collaborate with Stan Lee to create a superhero film in the ‘70s, the end result never happened. However, Kaufman always kept alive a similar concept and the Toxie was born, putting Troma on the map.

Prior to this film, they specialized in soft-core comedies (“Squeeze Play,” “The First Turn-On” and “Stuck on You”) but “The Toxic Avenger” branched out to a wider audience. A prime reason for that was it had something for the horror movie audiences.

Of course, the dark sense of humor might not appeal to everyon, and the most hate mail Troma has ever received was from the scene in this movie where a Golden Retriever is shot by armed robbers that want to perform some unspeakable acts on the dog’s owner.

To add insult to injury, no one is safe in this picture, including little kids on bikes going for their sister’s medication late at night; all make Tromaville New Jersey one of the most dangerous places to live.

That all changes when Melvin, the mop boy, is transformed into a hideously deformed monster of super-human size and strength who decides to clean up the city, armed only with his trusty mop. This feels like a dark, twisted underground comic and happened to inspire three semi-comedic sequels and “The Toxic Crusaders” cartoon.

But nothing compares to the original.

-Anthony Benedetto

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 13063 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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