The Toxic Avenger - Director's Cut

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Details At A Glance

Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Deleted Scenes
Featurette - Tromatic Interactivity
Photo Gallery
Featurette - Radiation March
Featurette - Aroma Du Troma
Featurette - Interview With Toxie Today
Featurette - Mopboy's Secrets
Trailer - The Chosen One: Legend Of The Raven
Trailer - The Rowdy Girls
Trailer - Sgt. Kabukiman, NYPD
Rating r.gif (1169 bytes)
Year Released 1984
Running Time
82:13 Minutes
(Not 97 minutes as stated on the packaging) 
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (73:55)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 4 Director Michael Herz
Samuel Weil
Troma Studios
Tribe Distribution
Starring Mitchell Cohen
Andree Maranda
Jennifer Babtist
Cindy Manion
Robert Prichard
Case Soft Brackley
RPI $39.95 Music Christopher Burke (and others)
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Original Aspect Ratio ?1.33:1
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes, in rather amusing ways, too
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No, thankfully

Plot Synopsis

    The Toxic Avenger is the most infamous entry in Troma Studios' fifty-odd strong list of productions. As a matter of fact, the two are so inextricably linked that the visage of Toxie is a prominent feature in the Troma Studios logo, as anyone who has bought the last two Troma films I reviewed will know. If the opinions of critics and fans are anything to go by, The Toxic Avenger is also the best film that Troma have churned out in their thirty-odd year history. Again, whatever plot you can find is generally an excuse to show as many women in the buff or as much ridiculous violence as is humanly possible, as is the norm for Troma Studios. In this case, we are dealing with an example of the latter.

    The film begins in Tromaville, New Jersey, the same place where most of Troma's films take place, so take pity on the citizens there. Melvin (Mark Torgl), a stereotypical ninety-pound weakling, is being bullied by Slug (Robert Prichard) and Bozo (Gary Schneider) at the local health club. With constant spurning by women such as Wanda (Jennifer Babtist) and Julie (Cindy Manion) to boot, a practical joke in the club results in Melvin plunging out a window into the back of a truck. Nothing wrong with that, you might say, but this truck happens to be carrying vats of toxic waste, one of which Melvin lands more or less directly in. From there, Melvin emerges as Toxie (body by Mitchell Cohen, voice by Kenneth Kessler), a new superhero with a girl-pulling power that defies his ridiculously hideous appearance. His first heroic act is to save a police officer from being killed by Cigar Face (Dan Snow), Knuckles (Doug Isbecque), and Nipples (Charles Lee, Jr.), which draws the media's immediate attention. It also draws the ire of the incumbent mayor, Peter Belgoody (Pat Ryan, Jr.), who is responsible for half the crime in the town.

    We also get to see a love interest for Toxie in the shape of Sara (Andree Maranda), proving that love is not only blind, but it is also completely insane when it occurs in Tromaville. The rest of the film uses graphic violence (pay attention for a classic Troma moment at 36:19 when [Ed. Spoiler-highlight with mouse to read] Toxie rips off a robber's arm and then smacks him in the face with it) and sex to keep us all entertained as it moves along to its conclusion, although there are three sequels waiting to be transferred to our beloved format. It's all basically one big take-off of superhero films, with extremely dodgy dialogue and effects, and it works quite well at that. Interesting bits of trivia include the fact that future Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei makes an appearance as an extra who comes out of a shower, and that Jennifer Babtist and Robert Pritchard actually got married after this film was completed.

    Sure, the plot is crap, the actors are terrible, and the set design is non-existent, but this is basically the king of B-grade cult movies we're talking about. It also has a touching message to share about judging people by the content of their character rather than how their body looks, even if it is about as subtle as a nuclear strike on an outdoor toilet. Come to think of it, maybe I should send that idea Lloyd Kaufman's way and see if he can do anything with it.

Transfer Quality


    In a nutshell, the transfer is a good representation of a film that had quite mediocre production values.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that this is in fact the proper aspect ratio of the film. Obviously, the transfer is not 16x9 Enhanced.

    The transfer is not particularly sharp, although I am fairly certain that it is generally much better to look at than any other format that this film has been shown on. Foreground details are clear enough, but the picture is nowhere near as distinct as you'd expect from a film of this age. The shadow detail is poor, with most of the details simply being lost in black patches, and there is no low-level noise. Having said all of these things, however, it is worth mentioning that these faults are all inherent in the source material rather than any specific transfer issue.

    The colours are somewhat on the muted side, with the daytime sequences having the same drab and dull look that you will find in daytime television shows such as Days Of Our Lives. On the positive side, there are no problems with cross-colouration, colour-bleeding, or misregistration.

    MPEG artefacts are not a problem with this transfer, thanks in part to the RSDL formatting. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some minor aliasing, but this artefact was occasional and very well controlled. Film artefacts consisted of numerous marks, scratches, vertical lines, and hairs on the picture throughout the running length, although this is less of a problem when you make the necessary allowances for the fact that this is a Troma film.

    This disc makes use of the RSDL format, with the layer change taking place at 73:55. This is in the middle of a fade-to-black, and it is very much the kind of layer change you'll miss unless you're really paying attention, so it is definitely the best kind of layer change you can have.


    There is only the one soundtrack on this DVD: the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, with a bitrate of 224 kilobits per second. As is the case with the video, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that this is the only format that the dialogue exists in.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to make out most of the time, although most of it is so terribly banal that I'm sure nobody would care if they missed a word or two. Most of Toxie's dialogue consists of growls, grunts, groans, and extremely odd-sounding voiceovers by Kenneth Kessler, some of which are actually accompanied by lip movements from Mitchell Cohen, which are odd-looking to say the least. There are are no problems with audio sync, save for some extremely crappy ADR here and there.

    The music in this film consists of a couple of pieces of score music by Christopher Burke, and numerous others such as
Delmar Brown, Morrie Brown, and anyone else who was brave enough to let Troma have the rights to their music. In keeping with the tone of the film in general, it consists of completely stupid and dated numbers that are entirely performed on synthesizers, cheap guitars, a hollow-sounding bass, and cheap drums. Considering that I watched this film hot on the heels of The Blues Brothers and Blues Brothers 2000, I am certain that the twee, canned sound of the music was quite magnified.

    The surround channels are not used at all by this soundtrack, although there are very few instances in this film where they'd really be appreciated. There could have been the odd effects in the fight sequences that could have used some redirection into the rears. Nonetheless, this is a Troma film we are talking about, so the fundamentally mono soundtrack with some occasional stereo separation is to be expected. The subwoofer was occasionally used to support the music and the sounds of explosions and cars being overturned, which it did without seeming out of place at any time.



    The main menu is mildly animated and accompanied by 48 kHz Linear PCM Stereo audio. It is not 16x9 Enhanced. The rest of the menus are accompanied by similar audio, and some, such as the trailers menu, feature introductions, but only the main menu is animated.

Featurette - Tromatic Interactivity

    This is actually a sub-menu consisting of numerous featurettes which are meant to give some insight into the processes by which Troma films are made. After an introduction by Lloyd Kaufman, the sub-menu gives choices between various "departments" of Troma Studios. All of the featurettes are presented Full Frame with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Some of them are mildly interesting, and some of them are just plain revolting.

Deleted Scenes

    Selecting this option takes you to a submenu with seven deleted scenes to choose from. Considering the Director's Cut label on the disc, it is a bit of a puzzle as to why these scenes weren't included with the film itself. In order, these scenes are Toxic Phone Home (0:32), Fat Girl Goes Nutzoid-Cat Fight (1:06), Sketch Artist (0:45), Peanut Butter And Draino Sandwich [sounds good!] (0:58), Fatty Shack (1:36), No Troubles In Tromaville (0:47), and Pull My Finger Julie (0:39). These snippets of footage do not really add anything to the film, but that's okay considering that the same could be said for most of the footage that was included with the film.

Photo Gallery

    Referred to as the Toxic Slide Show in the main menu, this is a collection of unannotated stills from the film, as well as advertising material and shots of cast members from when they're not filming anything.

Featurette - Radiation March

   This fifty-four second anti-pollution ad is presented Full Frame, with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. I still wonder exactly what the people at Troma were smoking when they thought this one up.

Featurette - Aroma Du Troma

   This featurette is presented Full Frame with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. It is getting easier to identify which films the scenes are taken from, but the name of the Motörhead song they are set to still escapes me.

Featurette - Interview With Toxie Today

   Clocking in at three minutes and fifty-one seconds, this Full Frame, Dolby Digital 2.0 featurette consists of some historical details about the success of The Toxic Avenger as a franchise, and a very brief interview with Toxie himself. Well, a guy in a Toxie costume, in any case.

Featurette - Mopboy's Secrets

   This option takes the viewer to a submenu with seven different brief featurettes presented in a chapter-selection style. Each featurette is presented with the actual video considerably windowboxed into a roughly 1.66:1 frame in the top left corner, and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. A commentary is provided by Mark Torgl during each featurette. In order, they are Put Me In A Tutu (1:04), Kiss It Kiss It! (1:30), Help Me Help Me! (0:52), Brave The Cold (0:24), and Get Otta My Home [sic] (1:12). The commentary by Mark Torgl provides a lot of insight into how the film was made, making it a real pity he didn't provide a commentary track for the film itself.

Trailer - The Chosen One: Legend Of The Raven

    Presented Full Frame with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, this two minute and eighteen second trailer condenses the entire story of the ninety-minute film into a more tolerable form. Of course, it doesn't feature the scenes where Carmen Electra takes her clothes off, so you'll have to buy the disc to see that.

Trailer - The Rowdy Girls

    Clocking in at one minute and fifty-eight seconds, this Full Frame, Dolby Digital 2.0 trailer also condenses the story of the film into a more economical running time, while giving a small taste of the real reason to watch this film.

Trailer - Sgt. Kabukiman, NYPD

   Clocking in at a whopping three minutes and thirty-eight seconds, this trailer is also presented Full Frame with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Considering that this is the next Troma film I will be looking at, this trailer has made me wonder what I am letting myself in for.


    As far as the film itself is concerned, there are no censorship issues with this title.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     Considering the less-than-optimal shape of the source material, RSDL formatting probably makes our version the version of choice, especially considering the amount of material on both discs. It is, however, disappointing that we miss out on an audio commentary. The Troma Intelligence Test is reportedly the main reason why the disc was originally refused classification, although it wouldn't surprise me to learn that the audio commentary also drew the OFLC's disdain. If you find the extra features too compelling to pass up, bear in mind that you are running the risk of having the disc seized and a fine levied if you attempt to import the R1 version of the disc.


    The Toxic Avenger is a classic of B-grade cinema, highly recommended.

    The video quality is acceptable.

    The audio quality is acceptable.

    The extras are comprehensive, although a commentary would have been nice.

Ratings (out of 5)

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 © Dean McIntosh (my bio sucks... read it anyway)
April 7, 2001

Review Equipment
DVD Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output
Display Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm) in 4:3 mode, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built In (Amplifier)
Amplification Sony STR-DE835, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NS-C120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer