Toxic Avenger, The: 21st Anniversary Special Edition (1985) (NTSC)

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Released 16-May-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Trailer-Make Your Own Damn Movie
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Introduction-Lloyd Kaufman (President Of Troma)
Audio Commentary-Lloyd Kaufman And Lenny
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Michael Herz, Mitch Cohen, Dan Snow, Robert Prichard
Interviews-Cast-Sarabel Levinson
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Laser Disc Intro And Outro
Featurette-Where In The World Is Toxie?
Featurette-Testimonials From Fans
Featurette-Films And Music Videos
Featurette-Toxic Avenger The Musikill
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1985
Running Time 82:21
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Michael Herz
Lloyd Kaufman
Studio
Distributor
Troma Team
Stomp Visual
Starring Andree Maranda
Mitch Cohen
Jennifer Prichard
Cindy Manion
Robert Prichard
Gary Schneider
Pat Ryan
Mark Torgl
Dick Martinsen
Chris Liano
David N. Weiss
Dan Snow
Doug Isbecque
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI ? Music None Given


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   After falling head-first into a barrel of nuclear waste, tiny nerdy janitor Melvin is transformed into The Toxic Avenger, the world-famous, hideously deformed creature of super-human strength! With his mop in hand and his faithful blind girlfriend by his side, he is here to clean up the scum of Tromaville, returning safety to the streets as he literally tears villains apart and beats them with their own limbs. A love story with extreme violence, nudity, dismemberment, vehicular homicide and a midget, The Toxic Avenger is a film for the ages.

The Toxic Avenger is considered a classic for a reason - it's the ultimate Troma film, which basically made the studio what it is today, while also getting some mainstream attention, and combining all of those elements that make Troma films so unique. It's also a fun, clichéd story retold in the most graphic way possible; an underdog story that transforms its underdog as the ultimate socially-inept nerd-geek-stereotype into a horrendous muscly mass of ugly, masculine extreme, while rendering the male bully figures as insane, homicidal murderers that get their just desserts in methods just as graphic as their crimes. Meanwhile, there's no resistance to violence against women, children, midgets, animals - it's all so over-the-top and extreme that it's usually extremely funny in addition to being uncomfortably unsettling. (It's telling that a scene in which a guide dog is shot received more complaints than the scene in which a child is repeatedly run over in a car, as the dog execution is staged more realistically than the latter infamous squashed-melon-head.) Plus, violence against midgets is always hilarious.

It's also defensible on an academic level - the juvenile nature of the film and lack of any real moral boundaries renders it a true work of art, as it resists and plays upon Hollywood technique and narrative cliché to create a true original, often surreal in both plot and violence. The ritual slaughter of sacred cows while meeting every requirement in lizard-brained entertainment - nudity, violence, sex, explosions - all build in extremely sentient, tongue-in-cheek fashion, and the film also takes aim at the notions of corrupt authority and the oppressed people's inability to do anything to overthrow their dominators.

But, let's face it - no one is watching this film for intellectual engagement. The Toxic Avenger is just a bloody, puerile, offensive good time, and I dare anyone not to be entertained by it.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

   The video is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. It is not 16x9 enhanced.

   The video transfer shows both the age and budget of the film, full of film artefacts, grain and the interlacing issues common to NTSC transfers. Converted to digital from cheap 35mm film, the film often looks grainy, with very poor black levels and constantly changing light and colours, often in the same scene.

   This might sound awful, especially from a technical standpoint, but (interlacing issues excluded) it's the original, intended way to view the film. It's the full B-grade experience, and one of the only Troma films released in widescreen. Honestly, I cannot imagine viewing this insanely graphic, ridiculous film in shiny, clean HD - it wouldn't feel right. Yet there's no denying that the NTSC problems and the non-anamorphic transfer are indeed issues.

   No subtitles are available on this DVD.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

   The audio is presented in English Dual Mono 2.0 (192Kb/s).

   This is a very basic no-frills 2.0 track, but it sounds great regardless. All of the different elements of the strange, unique soundtrack sound excellent, from the fun pop-rock theme song to the classical music that roars over the transformation of Melvin to Toxie. The recurring motifs, including the theme song to Toxie killing people, sound enchanting as he beats in the skull of his enemies and eviscerates all who stand in his way.

   The dialogue is very audible and there are no ADR problems presented, aside from the intentional dubbing of Toxie himself. Although nothing compared to the audio tracks on the latest blockbuster DVDs, this soundtrack is true to the film's roots and is thoroughly engaging.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Animated Menus with Music

   The menus feature some nicely cheesy art and horrendously-violent video from the film with the “Body Talk” theme song over the top – very nice, and very suitable! The menu highlight graphic is even a little mop. Tee hee!

Introduction (5:12)

   Pressing the “Play Feature” button on the main menu plays the new Lloyd Kaufman introduction, made specifically for this 21st Anniversary Special Edition DVD. After insulting any fans who dislike musicals and detailing some of the highlights of the DVD, Toxie himself enters and reveals that he’s actually gay, leading Lloyd to commit suicide. Sgt Kabukiman then gets some strippers. It’s actually pretty funny and a typically Troma-esque preface to the main feature.

Audio commentary with creator Lloyd Kaufman and fan Lenny Goodman

   Lloyd Kaufman is joined by an internet-addicted, overweight fan, Lenny Goodman to discuss the ins and outs of Lloyd's favourite creation. This is a thoroughly enjoyable commentary track, featuring a lot of great trivia, bits and pieces about making the film and the original intentions of Lloyd and Michael Herz, as well as taking a lot of shots at the problems and errors within the film. Lloyd is, as always, an engaging and interesting speaker who, while often making fun, is clearly very passionate about filmmaking and about Troma projects. There's plenty of history here as well as shout-outs and references and recommendations - a must for Troma fans and film students. (Also, as usual, Lloyd is dead by the end of the commentary.)

Toxic Interviews – Michael Herz (15:22), Mitch Cohen (8:41), Dan Snow (4:38), Robert Prichard (2:37), Sarabel Levinson (1:18)

   Presented in 4:3 and recorded on location in and around the Troma Studios, these enjoyable tongue-in-cheek interviews cover a lot of the Troma history while making gags, and generally having a good time. The interview with Michael ends early so that Lloyd can perform oral sex on the “real” Michael Herz while he eats pie. Mitch Cohen, now an office monkey, follows up his interview by angrily pressing others in his office as to whether they liked the movie or not. Other cast interviews are relatively straight, though Toxie’s mum herself, Sarabel Levinson, weighs in with a short but funny interview in which she describes the wonders of working with Lloyd and Michael.

Deleted Scenes – Toxie Phones Home (0:33), Fat Girl Goes Nutzoid (1:07), Sketch Artist (0.46), Peanut Butter and Drano Sandwich (0:58), Fatty Shack (1:37), No Troubles in Tromaville (0:48)

   In amongst this poorly-titled series of deleted scenes, there are several amusing omissions, the best being the fate of the homicidal hit-and-runners. Involves anal pain. And scissors. Presented in 4:3.

Laser Disc Intro and Outro (6:36)

   From the original laser disc release, Lloyd introduces the film by stumbling on a drugged-up, homeless Toxie, who now sells himself on the street. The actual introduction is neglected as Lloyd joins him to smoke some crack. When we return from the film, Lloyd talks about some of the deleted scenes, which makes this a worthy extra alongside the aforementioned deleted scenes.

Where in the World is Toxie?

   A collection of clips from all around the world showing fan admiration for Troma and the Toxic Avenger, this mostly gimmicky extra includes footage from all over the globe with fan gatherings, conventions, random Troma icons heckling people on the street, and a drug bust. In 4:3, these can be selected from their location on a map menu, or play all.

Toxic Avenger: The Musikill (19:00)

   Four excerpts from Ira Kortum’s stage musical adaptation of the film, this is pretty low grade stuff, featuring people who cannot sing performing for a mostly unreceptive audience. The car murder scenes are interesting, incorporating video from the film behind the onstage actors, but this is still really for die hard Toxic Avenger fans only. Presented in very low quality non-anamorphic widescreen, the video and audio are both very spotty.

Testimonials from Fans – Testimonial from Blade (1:41) James Berardinelli (1:41) Lloyd Interviews Fans (5:49)

   The fans weigh in on their love for Toxie – the best part, wrestler Blade celebrating the ancient art of crushing a man’s head in the wrestling ring. The rest is, once again, for die hard Toxie fans only.

Films and Music Videos – Russel Vincent Porter’s Film Inspired by Lloyd Kaufman (6:35), Toxie’s 21st Birthday Party (4:48), Toxic Avenger Theme by Richard Taylor (2:53) Toxic Avenger Theme by Uncle Monsterface (3:09)

   Fan clips are basically awful, and these are no exception: dedications to Toxie in celebrations of his 21st birthday in the form of short film and music video, the only one worthwhile is Richard Taylor’s fabulously ridiculous theme song played on accordion, with a head-crushingly good video tribute.

Bonus Trailer - "Make Your Own D*** Movie"

   A forced ad for “Make Your Own D*** Movie!” boxed set plays before the start up menu. This is a pet hate of mine, though the set looks like something I’d want to buy, and will appeal to student filmmakers and Troma fans.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   This R0 NTSC DVD is supposedly identical to the R1, but is missing the following:

          - Bonus Trailers

          - Theatrical Trailer

          - Troma Website Advertisement

          - 2 x "Peta2" featurettes

          - "The Tromamercial" featurette

Unless you are desperate for these extras, our edition is still superb, though really the cheaper option is the better, especially since there's no PAL transfer available.

Alternatively, or in addition, the American R0 DC direct from Troma Team Video has the complete 110 minute Director's Cut of the feature, as well as a lot of other extras, and is well worth the purchase for Toxie fans and completists.

Summary

   The Toxic Avenger is a solid B-movie classic, a part of popular culture and one of the few Troma films to get some mainstream popularity. It's a disgusting, gratuitous good time.

   The video transfer is low quality, but suits the film. Likewise, the audio quality is simple but very listenable.

   The extras are a mixed bag, ranging from excellent to diehard-Toxie-fans only, but are in general lots of fun and a worthy tribute to Toxie and Troma.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ryan Aston (Bioshock)
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDLG LH-D6230, using Component output
DisplayBenq PE7700. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationLG
SpeakersLG

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Antialiasing? - chaossphere REPLY POSTED
"Rainbow shimmer" - chaossphere REPLY POSTED
Not Original Widescreen. Cropped from 1:33.1. - REPLY POSTED
Re: Not Original Widescreen. Cropped from 1:33.1. -