THE TOXIC AVENGER
The Toxic Avenger can lay the dubious claim to being the worlds first superhero splatter film. Although, while thematically The Toxic Avenger is a superhero film, its intentions are much lower than that. The film is only intended as a vehicle to push boundaries it heads into some radical areas of bad taste, while the gore quotient is extreme. The film ranges freely all over the place just to see what areas of offence it can get away with slapstick humour about the blind; a person who masturbates over pictures of roadkill victims; the beating up of old ladies; a pointless and entirely disconnected sequence where a snake is put down the back of a jazzercize instructors leotard and the class follows his contortions suit. In perhaps the most extreme sequence, the four token perverts engage in a game a la Death Race 2000 (1975), collecting points for the types of victims they run down in one scene, they mow down a boy on a bicycle then reverse to crunch over the body. The gore is extreme limbs torn off, intestines ripped out, an amazing sequence where Toxie drops a barbell on a weightlifters head and so on.
Unlike other splatter films such as The Evil Dead (1981), Re-Animator (1985) and Bad Taste (1988), there is nothing enlivening to this onslaught of bad taste. These films deal in laughter made out of gore, human mutilation and bodily fluids and it is hard to define an exact line as to where bad taste filmmaking actually stops being comedy and merely becomes offensive. One could perhaps say that the aforementioned are cartoon films of the grotesque, whereas The Toxic Avenger is mean-spirited it is a film made by people who like leper jokes and wife-beating jokes. The difference may well simply be that The Toxic Avenger is not funny its intellectual level is down below even that of a Police Academy film.
Troma followed with three sequels: The Toxic Avenger Part II (1988), The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie (1989) and Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger Part 4 (2000). The Toxic Avenger later became a character in Tromas childrens cartoon series Toxic Crusaders (1991-2). The making of a Toxic Avenger film also featured in the background of Tromas Terror Firmer (1999), which was a bad taste Troma film about the making of a bad taste Troma film.
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