Combustible Celluloid
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With: Andree Maranda, Mitch Cohen, Jennifer Babtist, Cindy Manion, Robert Prichard, Gary Schneider, Pat Ryan Jr., Mark Torgl, Dick Martinsen, Chris Liano, David Weiss, Dan Snow, Doug Isbecque, Charles Lee Jr., Patrick Kilpatrick
Written by: Joe Ritter, Lloyd Kaufman, Gay Terry, Stuart Strutin
Directed by: Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 87
Date: 05/01/1984

The Toxic Avenger (1984)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Drop Your Tacos

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Lloyd Kaufman and Troma Entertainment had their breakthrough film and their all-time high point with this willfully stupid superhero spoof, timed to ridicule some of the 1980s most popular tropes, i.e. nuclear waste, health clubs, drug dealers, etc. A ridiculous nerd, Melvin (Mark Torgl), gets tossed into a vat of nuclear waste and becomes the super-strong superhero The Toxic Avenger (Mitch Cohen), so hideously ugly that only a blind woman (Andree Maranda) will have him. The movie is cheerfully, unrelentingly over-the-top, filled with disgusting gore, language, and sex, with nothing deemed too awful or offensive for the final cut. Kaufman kept up this tactic for dozens of other Troma films, and it could get extremely tiresome, but at this one moment, it was just what we needed.

Marisa Tomei apparently makes an early, uncredited appearance as a girl in the health club. After this, there were many sequels, cartoons, comic books, toys, and other Toxie stuff.

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