The Toxic Avenger (1986)

R | 90 mins | Horror, Comedy | 4 April 1986

Writer:

Joe Ritter

Cinematographers:

James London, Lloyd Kaufman

Production Designers:

Barry Shapiro, Alexandra Mazur

Production Companies:

HCH, Troma Films
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HISTORY

Principal photography was completed in New Jersey in 1983 with a $1 million production budget, the 12 Dec 1984 DV reported.
       The Toxic Avenger opened on 45 screens 4 Apr 1986, earning $140,000 in its first three days of release, according to the 8 Apr 1986 DV box-office report. Three years later, producer Lloyd Kaufman told the 18 Aug 1989 WSJ that The Toxic Avenger had grossed more than $15 million.
       Three sequels were made. The first two were both released in 1989: The Toxic Avenger: Part II and The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie. The third sequel, Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV came out in 2001 (see entries). A thirteen-episode syndicated cartoon television series, Toxic Crusaders, about a band of misfit superheroes battling pollution, aired in 1990 and 1991.
       Opening credits include the following disclaimer: “Warning: ‘The Toxic Avenger’ Contains scenes of extreme violence.”
       End credits include the following acknowledgement: "Special thanks to: The Mayor's Office of Motion Pictures and Television; the New Jersey Motion Pictures and Television Commission; New York State Division of Commerce, Industry and Development; Honorable Gerald McCann, Mayor of Jersey City; Dennis Souder."
       End credits include the following “thank yous”: “AFI Food Service Distributors; American Bell; AMF/ Head Sportswear; The Athlete’s Feet; Au Bon Pain; Bell Carter Foods, Inc.; Blait, Bowling and Billiards; Blue Jay Car Rental; Boston Post Lumber, Inc.; Braston-Gramercy; Canal Hardware; Canal Jeans; Charles Chips, Inc.; Circle Magic; Michelle E. Golding for Crescendo; Dairy Test Farms; Dial Media, Inc.; Dunkin Swimwear; Darling Farms; Eastern Golf ... More Less

Principal photography was completed in New Jersey in 1983 with a $1 million production budget, the 12 Dec 1984 DV reported.
       The Toxic Avenger opened on 45 screens 4 Apr 1986, earning $140,000 in its first three days of release, according to the 8 Apr 1986 DV box-office report. Three years later, producer Lloyd Kaufman told the 18 Aug 1989 WSJ that The Toxic Avenger had grossed more than $15 million.
       Three sequels were made. The first two were both released in 1989: The Toxic Avenger: Part II and The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie. The third sequel, Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV came out in 2001 (see entries). A thirteen-episode syndicated cartoon television series, Toxic Crusaders, about a band of misfit superheroes battling pollution, aired in 1990 and 1991.
       Opening credits include the following disclaimer: “Warning: ‘The Toxic Avenger’ Contains scenes of extreme violence.”
       End credits include the following acknowledgement: "Special thanks to: The Mayor's Office of Motion Pictures and Television; the New Jersey Motion Pictures and Television Commission; New York State Division of Commerce, Industry and Development; Honorable Gerald McCann, Mayor of Jersey City; Dennis Souder."
       End credits include the following “thank yous”: “AFI Food Service Distributors; American Bell; AMF/ Head Sportswear; The Athlete’s Feet; Au Bon Pain; Bell Carter Foods, Inc.; Blait, Bowling and Billiards; Blue Jay Car Rental; Boston Post Lumber, Inc.; Braston-Gramercy; Canal Hardware; Canal Jeans; Charles Chips, Inc.; Circle Magic; Michelle E. Golding for Crescendo; Dairy Test Farms; Dial Media, Inc.; Dunkin Swimwear; Darling Farms; Eastern Golf Company; Everything Yogurt; Ferguson’s Baked Goods; Flowertime; Fromageries Bel; General Electric Radios; Glass Products; Alex Glass; Hamilton Beach Corporation; H.J. Heinz Corporation; Hotel Bar Foods Division of Beatrice Foods; Husk Signs; I. Bass Uniforms; Igloo Corporation; International Broadcast Industries, Inc.; Jack Daniels Distillery; Jarlsberg Cheese; Kaufman Surplus Inc.; Army & Navy, NYC; Le Noble Lumber; Lily Tulip; Lipton, Inc.; Lustre Ware, Inc.; Magnum Force Distributors; Maxwell House (Division of General Foods); Mespo Umbrellas; The Mexican Place; Metzler International Optics; Mid-City Health Club; Morrow Restaurants; Nearly New Shop; New York Association for the Blind (The Lighthouse); Nissan Foods; Orwasher’s Bakery; Phillip Cup Company; Pearl Paint Company, Inc.; Posy Sports and Leisure, Inc.; Fast Food Operator, Inc. d/b/a Popeye’s Famous Fried Chicken; Protogs Actionwear; Quisqueya Manufacturing; The Reisman Pretzel Company; Richie Yogurt; Robert Bosch Power Tool Corp.; The R. T. French Company; Sanwa Foods; Sarge’s Delicatessen & Restaurant; Seltzer Unlimited; St. George Health & Racquet Club; Sunshine Bisquits, Inc.; J. Supor & Son Trucking & Rigging Co.; Tiffany Lumber Company; Timely Signs; Toga Bike Shop, Inc.; Tropicana, Inc.; U-Haul Company of Northern Jersey; Unique Industries; Universal Fitness Products; Wigs by ‘It’s A Wig.’”





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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
12 Dec 1984.
---
Daily Variety
8 Apr 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 1986
p. 3, 26.
Los Angeles Times
16 Jan 1987
p. 8.
New York Times
4 Apr 1986
Section C, p. 8.
Variety
22 May 1985
p. 26.
WSJ
18 Aug 1989.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Starring:
Also featuring:
Kenneth Kessler
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PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Troma Team Presentation
A Lloyd Kaufman Michael Herz Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Based on the orig story by
Addl material writ
Addl material writ
Addl material writ
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
Assst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Loader
Lighting dir
Lighting dir
Lighting dir
Key grip
Grip
Cam car rigging
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
Asst to the art dir
Asst to the art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
2d asst ed
3d asst ed
COSTUMES
Ward dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Stunt spec eff rigger
Spec eff asst
Optical eff
MAKEUP
Spec eff makeup
Spec eff makeup
Spec eff makeup asst
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Admin exec
Admin exec
Pub relations dir
Loc mgr
Prod exec
Scr supv
Stunt cars and mechanics provided by
Transportation capt
Tromaville historian
Craft services
Asst craft services
Casting
Casting
Casting
Creative consultant
Creative consultant
Creative lawyer
Creative lawyer
Creative lawyer
Creative accountant
Creative accountant
Prod services
Prod apprentice
Prod apprentice
Prod apprentice
Prod apprentice
Prod apprentice
Prod apprentice
Prod apprentice
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts performed by
Stunts performed by
Stunts performed by
Stunts performed by
Stunts performed by
Stunts performed by
Stunts performed by
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
SONGS
“Basement Chase Transformation,” composed and performed by Christopher Burke
“Body Talk,” performed by Sandy Farina, written by Bob Feldman and Cosmo Wilder, produced by Bob Feldman for Marc Katz and Royal K Productions
“Nothing At All,” performed by Mark Hoffman and Race, written by Mark Hoffman and Dean Simmons, produced by Tony Camillo for Marc Katz and Royal K Productions
+
SONGS
“Basement Chase Transformation,” composed and performed by Christopher Burke
“Body Talk,” performed by Sandy Farina, written by Bob Feldman and Cosmo Wilder, produced by Bob Feldman for Marc Katz and Royal K Productions
“Nothing At All,” performed by Mark Hoffman and Race, written by Mark Hoffman and Dean Simmons, produced by Tony Camillo for Marc Katz and Royal K Productions
“It's This Love,” performed by Mark Hoffman and Race, written by Mark Hoffman and Dean Simmons, produced by Tony Camillo for Marc Katz and Royal K Productions
“Body Builder,” written by Delmar Brown
“The Chase,” written by Delmar Brown
“Factor 1,” written by Delmar Brown
“The Stalk,” written by Delmar Brown
“Lay It On The Line,” written by Marion Cowings and Ned Liben
“Mexican Restaurant Fight,” performed and composed by Morrie Brown
“Work Out,” written and produces by Mike Forte and McKinley Horton, performed by Andree Maranda.
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DETAILS
Release Date:
4 April 1986
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 4 Apr 1986; Los Angeles opening: 15 Jan 1987
Production Date:
1983
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Tromaville, New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from New York City, proudly advertises itself as the “Toxic Waste Dump of the World.” With a population of 15,000 people, the town is run down and decaying, but does boast a hedonistic health club where Melvin Ferd works as a janitor. Melvin has a low I.Q. and the health club patrons enjoy teasing him, especially bullies Slug and Bozo, who also make a sport of running down pedestrians with their car. Julie, one of the popular girls at the health club, pretends to flirt with Melvin and convinces him that she wants to have sex with him. She persuades Melvin to put on a pink tutu and meet her at the club’s indoor swimming pool. But when Melvin shows up at the appointed time, the other club members are there to make fun of him. Humiliated, Melvin runs away, but the members give chase. Just then, a flatbed truck carrying dozens of barrels of radioactive toxic chemicals drives through town and pulls over in front of the health club so the drivers can snort cocaine. As Melvin runs away from the health club members, he jumps out the second floor window onto the flatbed truck and into the toxic chemicals. His body covered in the chemical sludge, Melvin has seizures on the sidewalk as his body transforms. He catches fire and runs home to get in the bathtub, trying to wash the chemicals off. Instead, his hair falls out, his face and arms become distorted, and he transforms into an unrecognizable creature. That night, three thugs attack a police officer, but the transformed Melvin, “The Toxic Avenger,” comes to his ... +


Tromaville, New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from New York City, proudly advertises itself as the “Toxic Waste Dump of the World.” With a population of 15,000 people, the town is run down and decaying, but does boast a hedonistic health club where Melvin Ferd works as a janitor. Melvin has a low I.Q. and the health club patrons enjoy teasing him, especially bullies Slug and Bozo, who also make a sport of running down pedestrians with their car. Julie, one of the popular girls at the health club, pretends to flirt with Melvin and convinces him that she wants to have sex with him. She persuades Melvin to put on a pink tutu and meet her at the club’s indoor swimming pool. But when Melvin shows up at the appointed time, the other club members are there to make fun of him. Humiliated, Melvin runs away, but the members give chase. Just then, a flatbed truck carrying dozens of barrels of radioactive toxic chemicals drives through town and pulls over in front of the health club so the drivers can snort cocaine. As Melvin runs away from the health club members, he jumps out the second floor window onto the flatbed truck and into the toxic chemicals. His body covered in the chemical sludge, Melvin has seizures on the sidewalk as his body transforms. He catches fire and runs home to get in the bathtub, trying to wash the chemicals off. Instead, his hair falls out, his face and arms become distorted, and he transforms into an unrecognizable creature. That night, three thugs attack a police officer, but the transformed Melvin, “The Toxic Avenger,” comes to his rescue and fights off the thugs. Melvin assures Officer O’Clancy that he will not hurt him, and newspapers run headlines proclaiming the monster a hero. Melvin returns home, but his mother is frightened by the sight of her deformed son. Melvin leaves and sets up a home at the city dump. Meanwhile, Mayor Peter Belgoody proclaims the old Rollins Chemical Pant on the waterfront as the site of the town’s new toxic waste dump. However, the site is a mere twenty feet from the city’s water reservoir. Belgoody is also the drug kingpin responsible for selling illegal drugs at the health club. Three thugs attempt to rob a Mexican fast food restaurant, shooting and killing a man there. They also shoot and kill the seeing-eye dog of a blind woman, then rape the woman. Melvin comes to the restaurant and fights them, pulling the arm off one of the thugs, while tying up the hands of another and dropping the limbs in the deep fryer. Sara, the blind woman, asks Melvin for help getting home. The two hit it off well and begin dating. Before long, Sara moves in with Melvin at the town dump. Meanwhile the papers dub Melvin the “Monster Hero,” and chronicle his many heroic deeds. People start wearing t-shirts reading “I Heart the Monster Hero” to show their pride in the local avenger. However, despite all his good deeds, Melvin harbors resentment against the people who treated him badly. He attacks Julie in the health club’s locker room. When Slug and Bozo steal a lady’s car, he attacks and kills them. Later, he attacks and kills Mrs. Haskell, who is rumored to be behind a white slavery ring in town. Mayor Belgoody declares the Monster Hero a “menace” and orders police to kill it. When reporters question whether they should capture it instead, the mayor replies, “It is not a human being. It is ‘an it.’ You kill ‘an it.’” Melvin returns home and confesses to Sara that he is the monster they have been praising and are now hunting. He reports that he cannot control his urges to attack people. He advises her to move back to her apartment, but Sara loves Melvin and opts to stay with him. While police search for the monster, many residents who Melvin helped are upset by the witch-hunt. When Melvin and Sara are spotted in a field outside of town, the mayor telephones the governor asking him to send in the National Guard. Melvin and Sara wake up in a tent in the field surrounded by National Guardsmen with guns and tanks, plus many residents. Several dozen townspeople throw themselves in front of Melvin to prevent the soldiers from shooting. Their actions convince the Guardsmen to put down their weapons. Melvin approaches the mayor and punches him in the stomach, rips his intestines out, and calls the mayor a piece of “toxic waste.” Sara calls to Melvin and he rushes across the field to her rescue. Melvin rids the town of all evil and citizens feel safe once again.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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