Toxic Avenger, The: Unrated Director's Cut (1984) (NTSC)

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Released 22-Sep-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Cult Introduction-Lloyd Kaufman
Audio Commentary-Lloyd Kaufman
Deleted Scenes
Gallery-Photo
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Diverse Troma type featurettes
Trailer-Trailers for Troma titles
Notes-Film and DVD credits
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1984
Running Time 82:27
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Michael Herz
Lloyd Kaufman
Studio
Distributor
Troma Team
Gryphon Entertainment
Starring Andree Maranda
Mitch Cohen
Jennifer Prichard
Cindy Manion
Robert Prichard
Gary Schneider
Pat Ryan
Mark Torgl
Dick Martinsen
Chris Liano
Dan Snow
Doug Isbecque
Charles Lee Jr.
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $14.95 Music None Given


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, especially at the health club!
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     Puny, nerdy Melvin (Mark Torgl) works as a cleaner at the Tromaville Health Club where he is bullied by muscled hulks such as Bozo (Gary Schneider) and Slug (Robert Prichard) and teased by their bikini clad bimbos Julie (Cindy Manion) and Wanda (Jennifer Babtist). After one extreme humiliation Melvin throws himself out of a second story window only to land in a vat of toxic waste below. The waste blisters his skin, permeates his blood and he gains superhuman strength, transforming into the hideously disfigured superhero, the Toxic Avenger (Mitch Cohen). He becomes the scourge of Tromaville’s criminals and the protector of its citizens, saving an honest policeman from murderers, rescuing kids from hit and run drivers and helping little old ladies across the road.

     When a family restaurant is attacked by vicious hoods, Toxie intervenes to save the patrons, including blind girl Sara (Andree Maranda). He hands out his own brand of justice to the hoods, giving them their “just deserts” (this makes sense when you watch the sequence). He then escorts Sara home, and love blossoms between them. But not everyone is happy, including corrupt Tromaville Mayor Peter Belgoody (Pat Ryan Jr.) and he calls out the police force and National Guard to destroy Toxie. Can the honest citizens of Tromaville come to Toxie’s rescue and prevent his destruction?

     There is nothing remotely subtle about Troma films and The Toxic Avenger is no exception. While it has some topless women, this film is about over the top violence, gore and mayhem. It includes numerous blood spurts and splatter, guts and gore galore, the squishing of a boy’s head by a hit and run driver, gross acts with food and the killing of a seeing eye dog! One could add bad taste humour (often quite funny), wooden acting and cheap sets and special effects (although they did manage to get some real army tanks for the finale, and the car crashes are not too bad either). There are also a couple of reflective moments as Toxie, alienated by his disfigurement from the society he seeks to protect, makes a safe haven for himself in a toxic waste dump.

     The Toxic Avenger is synonymous with Troma films and Toxie’s misshapen face has become the Troma logo, so important was this film to the fortunes of the company. Toxie is the ultimate nerdy avenger righting the wrongs inflicted upon his society (and himself, it must be said) by the corrupt, the polluters, the vicious and the beautiful, and there is certainly no suggestion that the extreme measures he employs in dealing with criminals, such as frying hands in boiling oil, splitting heads with gym counterweights, ripping off arms or pulling a man’s guts out of his stomach, are condemned. Indeed, as in vigilante movies generally, the extreme measures are applauded. However, here it is played completely as a comedy and the environmental, anti-pollution message is as potent today as it was in 1984, perhaps even more so. The film is also the antidote to all sleek and handsome superheros. It remains a cult film and spawned 3 sequels. Does it still stand up today? Absolutely: The Toxic Avenger is over the top, gross but funny, is still very entertaining and the 82 minutes pass quickly.

     Note. When you select the film from the menu an introduction by Lloyd Kaufman (0:52) plays first. This is the introduction to the 15th year Director’s Cut of the film. If you press skip on the remote you are taken back to the main menu. If you don’t skip, you are taken to the scenes menu, where you select the first chapter to commence the film. A very messy way of starting.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Toxic Avenger is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33.1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. The original theatrical ratio is listed by the IMDb as 1.85:1 and it has been released in this ratio before in Region 4 and elsewhere. There has been some debate as to whether the original ratio was in fact 1.85:1 but I would say that while mostly the framing of the scenes looks fine in 1.33:1 in a couple of places it did look cropped. The DVD cover indicates that the film was in the PAL format; it is not, this is an NTSC disc.

     This is a standard Troma print. There are frequent scratches, dirt marks and excessive grain. The film also paused for a fraction of a second on a number of occasions, including 6:59, 19:19, 32:09, 44:52, 52:23, 60:31 and 76:46. Although brief, the pauses were noticeable.

     The picture is soft and lacking detail. Sharpness is only reasonable and contrast and brightness varied within scenes. Colours were mostly drab although skin tones were OK. Blacks were acceptable but lacked substance and shadow detail was often indistinct.

     There are no subtitles.

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

Audio

     Audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track at 384 Kbps that is functional. This is a mono track and all sounds emanated from the centre speaker.

     There was slight hiss in the quieter moments but for the rest dialogue was clear while the music and effects were predictably flat. There was no surround or subwoofer use.

     Lip synchronisation is occasionally off, but is not distracting.

     The score includes music by Delmar Brown, theme music by Mark Hoffman and Dean Summers plus a number of rock songs including Body Talk performed by Sandy Farina and Nothing at All and It’s This Love performed by Mark Hoffman and Race. All in all the score supports the film well.

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

Extras

Introduction by Lloyd Kaufman (0:53)

     This plays before the film – see comment above.

Commentary by Lloyd Kaufman

     This commentary does not appear on the extras menu. Select from the remote’s “audio”. Kaufman delivers a non-stop, interesting and tongue-in-cheek commentary. He talks about many of the stunts, the special effects, cast anecdotes, influences, using one armed actors, product placement and the Troma philosophy. Kaufman complains about the major studios not playing fair because they use good scripts and good actors, unlike Troma! He is also amused by the fact that there is so much sex and violence in The Toxic Avenger it was inevitable it became a children’s TV cartoon show. Very entertaining.

Toxic Lost Scenes

     Seven scenes (7:03 in total), mostly extended scenes but none particularly important:

Toxic Slide Show

     17 movie and behind the scenes stills. Silent screen, use the remote to advance.

Hot Tromabilia

     Includes the following featurettes (24:08 in total)

Coming Distractions

     Trailers for Troma titles: Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. (3:35),Class of Nuke’em High (2:55), Tromeo & Juliet (2:12), The Toxic Avenger (3:10), Def by Temptation (1:45),Surf Nazis Must Die (2:49), Blood Sucking Freaks (1:58) andThe Toxic Avenger 2 (2:19).

Troma Interactivity

     Although on the DVD cover and the menu, this feature which includes the Troma Intelligence Test and Tour of Troma Studios cannot be accessed from the menu. It is however on the DVD; use the remote to access the chapters.

Credits

     Silent page of film and DVD credits.

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.

     There are a number of editions of The Toxic Avenger worldwide including at least 2 Region 0 US editions. The Region 1 21st Anniversary Golden Edition is the same as our Region 4 21st Anniversary Edition (details in the summary below) although the extras are contained on a second disc. The second Region 0 US release is identical to the release being reviewed now, including the same trailers. Draw.

Summary

     The Toxic Avenger is synonymous with Troma and Toxie’s misshapen face has become the Troma logo, so important was this film to the fortunes of the company. It remains a cult film that spawned 3 sequels.

     The Toxic Avenger has been released twice before in Region 4 and each version has been reviewed on this site: the Tribe Distribution “Director’s Cut” here and the Stomp Visual “21st Anniversary Edition” here. Is this release worth an upgrade?

     Both previous releases were the 82 minute cut of the film and neither was 16x9 enhanced. The Director’s Cut was 1.33:1, Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps, most likely NTSC. The extras did not include an audio commentary but did include Radiation March, Aroma Du Troma, Toxie Today and Mopboy’s Secrets. The 21st Anniversary Edition was 1.85:1, Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kbps, NTSC format and included an audio commentary with Lloyd Kaufman and fan Lenny Goodman, Cast and Crew Interviews including a substantial one (15:22) with co-director Michael Herz, different deleted scenes, extracts from the stage musical adaption (19:00) plus film and music videos. This edition being reviewed is the 15th Anniversary Director’s Cut and has many of the others releases’ extras (but not the interviews, stage musical, videos or the audio commentary) but does have a commentary by Lloyd Kaufman that is certainly informative and entertaining. This is a case where everyone has to make up their own mind.

     The video and audio are what one expects of Troma. The extras are worthwhile, although not as extensive as the previous 21st Anniversary Edition.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
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