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UHD Review – The Toxic Avenger Collection (Troma)

UHD Release – 4/5

The Toxic Avenger
Director(s) – Michael Herz (Waitress!, Stuck on You!) and Lloyd Kaufman (Troma’s War, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead)
Starring – Andree Maranda, Mitch Cohen (Chiller Cinema, Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko), and Jennifer Babtist (Alien Sex Phone Psycho, Class of Nuke ‘Em High)
Release Date – 1984
Rating – 4.5/5

Tagline – “The first superhuman-hero… from New Jersey”

I find it funny how certain movies stick with you and can shape you in a way that you would never expect. When I was in high school, I watched Troma’s The Toxic Avenger for the first time and immediately fell in love with it. Not only did this introduce me to the world of indie filmmaking and no budget cinema, but The Toxic Avenger instantly became one of my favorite films. I had seen the Toxic Crusaders as a child but had no idea it was based on a film.

To date I can confidently say that I’ve seen the film well over 100 times and I love it so much that I have it forever tattooed on my arm. I’ve owned the film on DVD, VHS, and blu so when MVD and Troma announced the UHD release of the film I knew I had to review it. I want to thank MVD and Troma for sending over this release for me to check out.

**Spoiler Alert** The film follows the nerdy custodian Melvin who finds himself in the middle of a prank gone wrong when he falls from the upper floors of a fitness center and into a barrel of toxic waste. He is then transformed into a mutated fighter of crime. **Spoiler Alert**

The Toxic Avenger is one of the films that you absolutely love or hate. I’ve met people with Toxie tattoos as well along with extensive collections and signed memorabilia. I’ve also met people who have turned hating Toxie and Troma into their entire personality. However, I’ve never met someone that was on the middle ground, which really speaks volumes to the film. Sure, my review is a bit biased, but I’d be more impressed if someone has read this review and had never seen the film before.

The acting in this one is fun with a lot of energy but you can tell who has no experience and who has just a little. It doesn’t stop them for going all out in their roles but the dialogue is loud and awkward through most of the film. Don’t get me wrong, this is part of the charm that the movie has but fans of big budget cinema and award-winning acting will truly be miserable during this one.

The story for this one is so much fun and pretty ambitious for a small budget film. A scrawny nerd falling into toxic waste and becoming a mutated hero is clearly a parody of superhero movies, comics, and shows. What makes this one stand out from other films is the horror elements and shock value. Several scenes in this film could not be done today but that is why so many people love it. It pushed the boundaries of what was funny while delivering some blood and gore to potential renters that picked the movie at a video store.

Finally, the film has a lot of practical and make-up effects that still draw viewers in after all these years. The scene when Melvin is transforming into Toxie looks so good, especially in 4K. The fight scenes with the random bloody moments fit the film but if you are focused too much on them then you will see the budget’s limits. Overall, The Toxic Avenger is a cult classic that deserves this release. Fans of the film and collectors of UHD will want to add this one to their collection. It’s a must own!

The Toxic Avenger Part II
Director(s) – Michael Herz (Troma’s War, The Troma System) and Lloyd Kaufman (Terror Firmer, Tromeo and Juliet)
Starring – Ron Fazio (Shell Shocked, Basket Case 2), John Altamura (Heaven Becomes Hell, Party Girls), and Phoebe Legere (King of New York, Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.)
Release Date – 1989
Rating – 3/5

Tagline – “Tackling toxic trouble from Tromaville to Tokyo”

I go into all sequels, remakes, prequels, and spin offs with an open mind. While most genre fans are quick to hate any project that is a continuation of a property they enjoy, I look forward to seeing where this new film, series, or what have you takes us. While I do look forward to these films, I’m not naive enough to know that most sequels, remakes, and so on are never as good as the original with very few exceptions.

I was a huge fan of The Toxic Crusaders along with Creepy Crawlers, Mutant League, and Beetlejuice growing up. In high school I was able to watch the original Toxic Avenger which sent me on a path of Tromalightenment. Not long after watching the first film I was snagging a copy of the three sequels. I’ve watched all three films a dozen times a piece, but the first film will always be my favorite. When I was digging into the UHD release of the film I decided to binge them all. I want to thank MVD and Troma for sending this amazing set over.

**Spoiler Alert** The film follows Melvin, the Toxic Avenger, who has cleaned up the crime in Tromaville and has settled down as caretaker for a center for the blind. However, a greedy corporation, Apocalypse Inc, wants to move into Tromaville so they can have better access to New York City. They come up with a plan to trick him into going to Japan to look for his estranged father giving them time to pollute and corrupt Tromaville. While in Japan Toxie finds his dad but discovers he is a drug trafficker. He murders him and then learns sumo before returning to Tromaville to save the town he loves. **Spoiler Alert**

Sequels get a bad rep, but I tend to enjoy them. In fact, when I posted on social media that I was watching this one I received several messages from several genre fans expressing their dislike of Parts II and III of the Toxic Avenger film series. Honestly, I like all four films along with the animated series, but I can see why fans of the first film don’t care for this follow up. I’ve been a Troma fan for a few decades now and this film is another staple in the wild world of Tromaville. It’s nowhere near as fun as the original but it’s still a fun watch especially if you are a fan of the Troma backed films.

The acting in this one has more energy than the first film but we have so many characters on screen at a time. It’s a lot of chaos and some scenes have dialogue flying at the viewer with absolutely no time to comprehend what is happening. This would become a staple of Troma films in later releases. The story for this one is pretty bold, especially for an indie production company like Troma. We continue with the toxic theme but this time we bring in corporate corruption, exaggerated characters, and a crime spin that works. While the film doesn’t have the same gritty style story as the original, it still works and feels more like a Troma release than the original flagship film does.

Finally, the film is full of bloody and ridiculous DIY effects that are reminiscent of the first film but on a much larger scale. Many of the deaths involve foam heads, lots of fake blood and some latex but we do have some iconic scenes like the fish nose gag that is still funny regardless of how many times I’ve seen it. Overall, The Toxic Avenger Part II may not be as good as the first film, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s a solid follow up that doesn’t try to recreate what the first film does, but instead it gives viewers an unpredictable path for fans to go down. I highly recommend it.

The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie
Director(s) – Michael Herz (The First Turn On!!, Stuck on You!) and Lloyd Kaufman (A Halloween Carol, Shakespeare’s Shitstorm)
Starring – Ron Fazio (The Supernatural Diaries, Clover), Phoebe Legere (King of New York, Marquis de Slime), and Rick Collins (Vampire’s Embrace, Parts of the Family)
Release Date – 1989
Rating – 3/5

Tagline – “The real American superhero”

I’ve learned a bit about genre fans, more specifically Troma fans, the last few days while I was watching the new UHD Toxic Avenger box set. I’ve always like the film series as a whole but never realized that many Troma fans dislike Toxic Avengers II and III. While the films are very different from the first and fourth film in the series, they are unique in how they were shot which may be why so many Troma fans dislike them.

While both films were filmed as one film and then split up due to the amount of footage does create a bit of an odd flow for these two films, but I enjoy them. Like always, I want to thank MVD and Troma for sending over this box set!

**Spoiler Alert** Toxie has once again cleaned up Tromaville and has entered severe depression when he learns of a surgery that could restore his beloved’s eyesight. Sadly, he doesn’t have the ridiculous sum of money required to get her the surgery. He agrees to be a spokesperson for Apocalypse Inc. where he is able to afford her surgery while inadvertently turning his back on Tromaville and his fans. As the money comes rolling in he becomes less like himself and more like a corporate sellout. He soon realizes this and returns to his old ways resulting in a battle between Toxie and the evil leader of Apocalypse Inc., the devil himself. **Spoiler Alert**

If I was to take the time to rank all the Toxic Avenger films, Toxic Crusaders included, Part III would be low man on the totem pole. It’s not that I hate it because I most definitely don’t, but I would rather be watching one of the other films in the series over this one. With that being said, it’s hard not to watch Part II without following it up with Part III.

The acting in this one is obviously consistent with Part II considering both films were filmed as one and then split during editing. Nothing I can really say here that I didn’t say in my review for Part II. I like the energy, the personalities that each character brings to the screen, and the dedication they all have for their roles.

The story for this one does bring everything full circle but I feel like the elements that made Part II so enjoyable are lacking here. I loved the trip through Japan and watching learn about their customs, culture, and fighting styles. We have some Troma-inspired slapstick, and a lot of great characters. In Part III we have a return to Tromaville where Toxie becomes a corporate flunky that just doesn’t work. It’s a bit dull and very predictable once it starts rolling. I liked how the evil corporation is a front for the devil and the big battle at the end is a lot of fun but the film just doesn’t have the spunk as the previous two films.

Finally, the film once again showcases a lot of DIY effects. We get some great make-up effects, more bloody moments, and a few memorable deaths scenes. While the effects are not the focus of the film, they still work, especially when you consider the film’s budget. Overall, Part III is still a great addition to the Troma franchise but it is the weakest of the four films. Check it out.

Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV
Director – Lloyd Kaufman (The Toxic Avenger, The Class of Nuke ‘Em High)
Starring – David Mattey (House of the Dead 2, Supernatural), Clyde Lewis (Nightfall, Nightbumpers), and Heidi Sjursen (I Was a Trannie Werewolf, PDA Massacre)
Release Date – 2000
Rating – 4/5

Tagline – “A tale of two Toxies”

I’ve been a huge fan of Troma for many years now. The original Toxic Avenger was my introduction into the wild world of Troma. It wasn’t long after that I was exploring other Toxie films. During my initial viewing of the four films making up the Toxie-verse, I found myself really drawn to the first and fourth film.

These two films feel completely different from one another, yet they still pulled me in. It’s not often that I watch the first Toxic Avenger and not watch the three sequels but when I do, I still toss in the fourth film. Citizen Toxie is among my favorite Troma releases, and I want to thank MVD and Troma for sending this one over in the Toxie 4K set to check out.

**Spoiler Alert** The film follows Toxie who finds himself blasted to an alternate Tromaville when a gang known as the Diaper Mafia blows up a school for special needs kids. His alternate counterpart, the Noxious Offender, is sent to his Tromaville. While Toxie is here, he meets Evil Kabukiman who is a drug dealer with Noxious. Now he must fight to get back to his world with his expecting wife before Noxious ruins his life. **Spoiler Alert**

Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger Part IV is a stereotypical Troma film with shock value humor, colorful characters, and a story that still fits in the Toxie-verse. It’s radically different than the first film but can easily be compared to later Troma films like Poultrygeist and Terror Firmer. It’s not perfect and not as gritty as the original but it stands out especially when compared with the two previous sequels which is known for how much fans dislike them.

The acting in this one is a lot of fun. We have a lot of colorful characters that are reminiscent of cartoon characters which is something I love. It’s easily the most over the top in regard to acting out of the four Toxie films and probably my favorite acted one. The story for this one is a lot of fun and once again the ballsiest of the Toxie films. We have some of the most offensive humor in all the Tromaverse mixed with some extremely funny gags, a lot of action, and a plot that works. I really liked the opposite spin on some of Troma’s favorite characters, the new characters created for the film, and how the story plays out. It’s a lot of fun and even though the film does try to push shock value by being offensive, it doesn’t really take away from the overall film.

Finally, the film has a lot of DIY practical effects that I really enjoy. We get more of the head crushing antics of Toxie that we know and love along with many more bloody moments. The effects are easily the best in the Toxie series but none of them hold up to the fish scene in part II. Overall, Citizen Toxie is a must see for Troma fans especially those just now getting into their films. It’s a worthy sequel to an iconic character and doesn’t disappoint. I highly recommend this 4K release.

Special Features:
New 4K scans and restoration (from the films’ original camera negatives*) of each film presented in their original 1.85:1 aspect ratio in HDR with English DTS 2.0 Stereo audio
New introductions for each film from Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma Entertainment and creator of The Toxic Avenger
Optional English Subtitles for the deaf or hard of hearing on all discs
Collectible Toxic Avenger Postcard
Region Free 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray discs

THE TOXIC AVENGER [Unrated Director’s Cut] 4K Ultra HD
Prologue by Director Lloyd Kaufman
Audio Commentary with Cast Members Robert Prichard, Gary Schneider, and Dan Snow
Audio Commentary with Director Lloyd Kaufman

THE TOXIC AVENGER [Unrated Director’s Cut] Blu-ray
Introduction by Director Lloyd Kaufman
Audio Commentary with Cast Members Robert Prichard, Gary Schneider, and Dan Snow
Audio Commentary with Director Lloyd Kaufman
Interviews with Cast Members Jennifer Baptist, Robert Prichard, Mitch Cohen, and Dan Snow
Interview with Co-Director Michael Herz
“Mark Torgl Talks About The Toxic Avenger” featurette
Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery
Trailers

THE TOXIC AVENGER PART II [Unrated Director’s Cut*] 4K Ultra HD
Prologue by Director Lloyd Kaufman
Audio Commentary with Director Lloyd Kaufman

THE TOXIC AVENGER PART II [Unrated Director’s Cut*] Blu-ray
Introduction by Director Lloyd Kaufman
Audio Commentary With Director Lloyd Kaufman
“At Home with Toxie” Mockumentary
Interview with Cast Member Lisa Gaye
Japanese News Report On The Filming of The Toxic Avenger Part II
“Radiation March” Short Film Directed by Lloyd Kaufman
The American Cinematheque Honors 40 Years of Troma
Trailers

THE TOXIC AVENGER PART III: THE LAST TEMPTATION OF TOXIE [Unrated Director’s Cut] 4K Ultra HD
Prologue by Director Lloyd Kaufman
Audio Commentary with Director Lloyd Kaufman
Audio Commentary with Cast Member Joe Fleishaker

THE TOXIC AVENGER PART III: THE LAST TEMPTATION OF TOXIE [Unrated Director’s Cut] Blu-ray
Audio Commentary with Director Lloyd Kaufman
Audio Commentary with Cast Member Joe Fleishaker
Behind the Scenes of the “Return to Nuke ’em High Vol. 1” screening at MOMA
The American Cinematheque Honors 40 Years of Troma
“Make Your Own Damn Horror Film” – Behind the Scenes of Old 37 with Kane Hodder and Bill Moseley
“A Halloween Carol” Short Film
Infomercial for “Rabid Grannies” Blu-ray Release
“Radiation March” Short Film Directed by Lloyd Kaufman

CITIZEN TOXIE: THE TOXIC AVENGER PART IV [Unrated Director’s Cut] 4K Ultra HD
Prologue by Director Lloyd Kaufman
Audio Commentary with Director Lloyd Kaufman
Audio Commentary with Editor Gabriel Griedman
Audio Commentary with Cast Member Trent Haaga

CITIZEN TOXIE: THE TOXIC AVENGER PART IV [Unrated Director’s Cut] Blu-ray
“Apocalypse Soon: The Making of Citizen Toxie” Behind the Scenes Documentary
Audio Commentary with Director Lloyd Kaufman
Audio Commentary with Editor Gabriel Friedman
Audio Commentary with Cast Member Trent Haaga
Tribute to Lemmy Kilmister
The American Cinematheque Honors 40 Years of Troma
Trailers

Blacktooth

(Staff Writer) Lover of all things horror and metal. Also likes boobs and booze.

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