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The Toxic Avenger (It Came from the Bargain Bin!)



Welcome to this week’s installment of “It Came from the Bargain Bin!” I guess this week’s selection falls under the “horror” genre but you and I know that often times just because a movie is labeled horror, drama, action, etc., etc., this does not mean that the particular movie always reflects the genre that it falls under. For example, Escape from L.A. may be considered an action movie but we all know that Escape from L.A. may as well be a comedy and I feel this this week’s pick from The Bin is one of those multi-genre movies. To be honest, I’m not sure if this week’s flick even reflects the horror genre as much as it comes across as a comedy. You decide where this movie stands as far as it’s genre. This week’s “horror” movie from The Bargain Bin is 1985’s “The Toxic Avenger!”

The Toxic Avenger

Starring: Andree Maranda, Mitch Cohen, and Jennifer Prichard
Writers: Lloyd Kaufman and Joe Ritter
Directors: Michael Herz and Lloyd Kaufman

Tromaville, New York is, some might say, the toxic waste dumping capital of New York and it just so happens that Tromaville is also the residence of Melvin Ferd. Melvin is what many may consider your classic nerd. Not only is Melvin an awkward teen but he also happens to be the “Mop Boy” at the local athletic club where hard bodies, leotards, and spandex are the norm. Melvin is obviously a square peg at the Tromaville Health Club. Life is far from easy for poor Melvin who constantly falls victim to the harassment of other more athletic members of the club, like the muscle-bound meatheads known as “Bozo” and “Slug.”

One day, while working out at the athletic club, Bozo’s girlfriend “Julie” devises a plan to teach Melvin a lesson that he won’t soon forget. The “harmless” prank proves to be extremely harmful for Melvin when, to escape the laughter and ridicule of the onlookers, Melvin dives through the window of the health club and into a barrel containing toxic waste thus transforming Melvin into a super hero/monster whose sole purpose is to avenge the victims, including himself, of all evil doers throughout New York City.

The Toxic Avenger has all the makings of a cult classic. Not that all cult classics have the same formula and of course, not all cult classics are very good movies and The Toxic Avenger is one of those cult classics. What The Toxic Avenger does have going for it is a ridiculously far fetched plot, horrible acting that you have to watch like a bad car accident, and an unlikely hero that you have to love. I, myself, love this flash from the past but I am not blinded by the fact that The Toxic Avenger, although entertaining, is, quite frankly, a bad movie. Lets be honest, I think we all know, once having viewed The Toxic Avenger, that it was not made to be a great or even good movie. It is also obvious that The Toxic Avenger is not exactly a horror movie but lets not label this one with a genre because some movies just aren’t meant to be trivialized by labels. The Toxic Avenger is an intentionally bad movie and this is one of the things that I love about it. I give The Toxic Avenger 1 1/2 out of 3 Guys. See you next week with another review from The Bargain Bin.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Bubbawheat June 9, 2013, 9:46 am

    I’ve got this one on tap for an upcoming podcast. Looking forward to watching the badness of it.

    • Joe June 10, 2013, 4:15 pm

      Hey Bubbawheat,
      Hope you enjoy this one. I think you’ll get a kick out of it for one reason or another. Thanks for the post and have a great week.

  • Chris June 10, 2013, 1:56 am

    Oh man, not seen this one for a long time! Really not a great movie at all but there’s something pretty funny about the whole thing.

    • Joe June 10, 2013, 4:16 pm

      Hey Chris,
      Check this one out again. It is indeed timeless:) They don’t make movies like this anymore. Thanks for the post and have a great week.

  • Adam June 10, 2013, 8:38 am

    I don’t think I have seen this one since I was in High School. Certainly don’t recall this one being great but I certainly recall thinking it was funny.

    FYI, I saw that this was streaming on HULU if anyone feel like checking it out.

    • Joe June 10, 2013, 4:24 pm

      Hey Adam,
      This definitely is not a great movie by any means but it will STILL make you laugh. Check it out again for old times’ sake:) Always good to hear from you. Have a great week.

  • Monkeyboy June 10, 2013, 3:33 pm

    A long, long time since I’ve watched this. Remind me, is there a bit where the bad school kids reverse over a kid’s head after knocking him off a bike? Or was that a different Troma movie?

    • Joe June 10, 2013, 4:21 pm

      Hey Monkeyboy,
      Your memory serves you correctly. This IS the movie where the bad kids back over the little kid’s head. It’s definitely one of the more graphic scenes that I have seen in any movie in a while and I think the scene helped The Toxic Avenger achieve cult status. Thanks for the post and have a great week.

      • Monkeyboy June 10, 2013, 4:31 pm

        Thanks for clearing that up. I remember that bit really shocking me at time.

        • Joe June 12, 2013, 5:44 am

          Glad I could help, Monkeyboy

  • Griff June 11, 2013, 1:23 pm

    Oh Toxie, I remember you well. Nobody did over the top exploitation cinema like Troma did back in the 80’s. I haven’t seen this since I about 15 or 16 years old. I remember cracking up though. So over the top. A couple of recent entries like Hobo with a Shotgun and Badass have tried to capture the magic but they just fall short. I guess maybe Machette might be the closest thing we have to doing exploitation right now days. If you want to see a classic 80’s “so bad it’s good” movie you have to check out Deathrow Gameshow (if you can find it) This is without a doubt one the stupidest movies I ever seen but I still remember some bits of it cause it so damn funny.

  • Joe June 12, 2013, 5:50 am

    Hey Mark,
    I’m going to have to check out more Troma movies and I’ll definitely try to find Deathrow Gameshow. It’s unfortunate that exploitation movies have become a lost art. I think the movie biz could use a good shock film now more than ever. Thanks for the post. Hope all is well.

  • Marilyn Armstrong June 13, 2013, 6:25 pm

    I love these reviews. I’m in no danger of actually ever seeing most of them, so it’s just fun to read your reviews.

    • Joe June 13, 2013, 7:27 pm

      Hi Marilyn,
      Thank you so much for the compliment. You’ve motivated me to do my next review this evening. I hope you enjoy the next review as much as you’ve enjoyed the others. Thank you for the flattering post and have a great week.

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