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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 8/18/98

The Toxic Avenger
The Unrated Director's Cut - 1983 (1997) - Troma Team Video

review by Todd Doogan, special to The Digital Bits

The Toxic Avenger Film Rating: C-
It's juvenile, in bad taste, and the effects are cheap. And yet, we all love this movie. How can you help it? The Toxic Avenger is one of the best comic book adaptations out there -- and it's not even adapted from a comic book. How's that for ironic?

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): C/C-/A+
The sound is tinny, and the video, although way better than earlier printings, is still only just watchable. It's the extras that make this disc. Fun and enlightening, Troma knows how to package a disc. Now if they could just fix some of their mastering problems.

Overall Rating: C
We all raise the standards for Troma, because they put out cheap movies that are easy to love. That applies to the disc, it's a cheap looking disc of a cheap looking movie. Both are equally watchable, and the extra things we get out of them are what make them so much fun.

Specs and Features

82 mins, unrated, full frame (1.33:1), deleted scenes, interview with The Toxic Avenger 15 years after, production stills, original trailer, actor Mark Torgl discusses the finer points of being Melvin (Toxie's alter ego), audio commentary featuring Lloyd Kaufman, Kaufman bumpers, other Troma Team Video nuggets, animated menu screens, 9 chapters, English (mono)


Hello Troma fans. How ya doing? See, I know you're a Troma fan if you're reading this, because if you saw The Toxic Avenger there in the Review section and clicked on this review -- you're a Troma fan. If you're not, well shame on you -- go exit your system, run out to the store and get this disc, so you can become one. Hurry before their new movie comes out. Okay, now that the poseurs are gone, I can get back to business. I have to say, when Troma first put out their DVDs I was very scared. They looked like hell warmed over: their menu screens trapped you, so much so that you had to actually turn off your player just to get out and if that wasn't bad enough, the prints looked like, uhm, well they looked bad, man. In the past, I've refrained from reviewing them, because I love my peeps at Troma, and I'd never publicly slam anything of theirs. So when you hear nothing from me about something Troma's doing -- I have nothing to say. Well, I have something to say now. Troma fixed most of their early pressing problems and the results are pretty damn good.

The Toxic Avenger is the story of a man who, after being persecuted by his fellow men, summons the strength to smite all those who oppose him, and he does it with the help of a big vat of toxic waste. Melvin is your standard geek. He works at the Tromaville Fitness Center, cleaning up the floors and getting beat down like a 3 dollar hooker. We don't have much respect for him, and so -- deep down we are sort of making fun of him too. One day, summoned to the pool by a leggy, big busted blonde (is there any other type in a Troma flick?) he is tricked into making out with a cross-dressing sheep (don't ask). This drives poor Melvin over the edge and he jumps out of a window into a flat bed carrying barrels of toxic waste. Only in Tromaville, New Jersey. This powerful goo transforms little Melvin into a hulking monster known as The Toxic Avenger. Ridding Tromaville of crime, falling in love and learning to live with his new found body and powers -- Melvin rides the waves of truth and justice, fulfilling the job of being New Jersey's first superhero.

Alright, so that's a grand description. Overall, Toxic Avenger is a juvenile attempt at bathroom humor with shocking scenes of cheapo special effects. Hands in frying oil, milkshake maker through the head, and the unwatchable head-exploding scene featuring a child on a bicycle. These are just a few of the shoestring budgeted effects in the film. With all of it's cheese, and low-rent filmmaking techniques, you have to give it to Troma for loving their work so much. Like Ed Wood, Lloyd Kaufman is a filmmaker you enjoy watching because he loves what does, more than you love what you're doing. It shows up there on the screen and we love his movies for it.

The Toxic Avenger, based on sheer impact, is one of the better DVDs out there. For your money, you will not find a more extra-filled package. It's so packed with extras, it's basically impossible to list all that are on this disc. But among the more note worthy extras, is the very funny and entertaining commentary track featuring Lloyd Kaufman. Lloyd's always fun to listen to (especially when he's not yelling) and here, he's at his finest. Rattling off tricks of the trade and funny stories about the goings-on during the filming, you can almost lay back, close your eyes and listen to the movie for a while. Another grand extra, is a whole gaggle of cut scenes. One of which shows what happens to the two main bad girls in the film -- according to the cut scene, they didn't die. Can you believe it? It's nice to see, but I'm glad they cut it. Having Toxie boldly destroy his enemies is much more fun than knowing he just hurt them.

The DVDs newest transfer is still not a great transfer (but it is leaps and bounds above the original, limited edition pressing). There is a good bit of compression noise and the sound is below any standard I would like to hear. You get used to it, and like I said, it is way better than the first pressing -- but it's still a problem. Most of the Troma DVDs are just like this, but they're all still watchable.

Bottom line

The Toxic Avenger is priced right (25 bucks), and with the extras you get -- you can't beat it. The quality is simply okay. It's watchable, but we should expect more from the companies that put out DVD. The Troma discs get better as they come out, and with their upcoming plans for DVD, look for Troma to be a major player in the B-movie realm of DVD.

Todd Doogan
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