After remaining dormant for over twenty years, it seemed that the half-life of the Toxic Avenger had burned out thanks to it’s two sequels that failed to recapture the radioactive anarchy of the gloriously stupid original. And yet out of nowhere, New Jersey’s favourite hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength made a sterling comeback in the midst of 2000 to repulse, offend and cause a busted gut or two for those who find it’s sleazy and lewd charms adorable.
I am happy to admit I am indeed one of those people, but the arrival of Citizen Toxie caused major pangs of doubt in my mind. Could Troma overcome the tonal mishap of Parts 2 and 3 where the humor and copious violence, while still purile and gruesome, was of a decidedly more cartoonish persuasion? Had they lost the ability to take glowing green barrels of shock value and still cram them gleefully down my throat like they did back in 1974? Could Toxie still avenge?
The answer to all these questions and more (like for example, “did I just really see that?!”) is a resounding and very loud “Fuck, yes!”
After a voiceover by none other than Stan “The Man” Lee helpfully pointing out that the second and third installments are no longer cannon, we make our belated return to the toxic waste capital of the world known as Tromaville just in time to see a bunch of wild gunmen dressed as babies hijack the Tromaville School For The Very Special on Take a Mexican To Lunch Day. This “Diaper Mafia” sets a bomb and is ready to waste an entire building full of mentally disabled kids until the Toxic Avenger and his ward, the morbidly obese sidekick Lardass, turn up to save them. Well… most of them. Well… some of them. Anyway, during the gore streaked carnage, Lardass heroically sacrifices his cholesterol shortened life by smearing the bomb in peanut butter and eating it but the resulting explosion shifts Toxie into an alternate dimension and he finds himself in a darker version of his life. He’s now in Amortville where his evil double, The Noxious Offender, has turned the place into the city equivalent of a genital wart and worse yet, the violent “Noxie” has been let loose onto the good, unsuspecting people of Toxie’s timeline. While our unsightly hero tries to find a way back home, Noxie sets his sights (an his alarming, mutant penis) on Toxie’s blind, pregnant girlfriend, Claire, while fending off a super-team made up of The Vibrator, Dolphin Man, Bad Cowboy and self pleasuring rapper Master-Bator and led by the massively alcoholic Sergeant Kabukiman NYPD. Can Toxie make things right in the messed up alternate universe AND traverse dimensions to defeat his deuche bag doppleganger in time for his baby to be born?
Billed as a “true” sequel to his 1984 original, director (and Troma head honcho) Lloyd Kaufman attacks this new sequel with the renewed frenzied vigour usually reserved for a bath-salt addicted dingo in heat; gone are the laboured jokes and childish goofyness and in is an utter disdain for anything even remotely approaching a taboo. The movie’s targets are legion, not to mention awesomely offensive as the film surges onward in search of more ever more tasteless pot-shots as the film attacks social topics such as the mentally disabled like it’s shivving it in a prison shower room.
However, the film is SO outlandish in it’s ADD afflicted need to shock, it works because there’s no way anyone in their right mind is going to take a film seriously where a guy is dumped on his skull so hard his shit-stained head erupts from his asshole. It also helps that this deranged crap is actually funny – take Noxie inflicting a murderous rampage through a crowd while a workman frantically adjusts the population number on the town sign accordingly or all the members of a neo-nazi group sporting Hitler moustaches.
It’s also genuinely sweet to see how much Troma has affected alternate culture by witnessing the fairly impressive cameos made by various Hollywood weirdos (I assure you I’m using “weirdos” as a term of endearment) such as Ron Jeremy as Tromaville’s Mayor, Corey Feldman as a ludicrously moustached gynaecologist, a random appearance from Lemmy from Motorhead – with an exceptionally proud looking Eli Roth standing beside him – and Guardians Of The Galaxy director James Gunn doing an impressively offensive impersonation of Stephen Hawking. If that isn’t impressive enough the genius “Tromadu” section (which spoofs Citizen Kane’s Xanadu right down to a drugged out Noxie whispering “Nose… blood” before passing out as a snowglobe tumbles out of his hand) was filmed at the fucking playboy mansion!
Another thing that helps the film regain the former glory of the original (alongside the chaotic nudity and frequent disembowelments that is) is they’ve reverted Toxie – aka. ex-98lb nerd Melvin Ferd – back to his more superhuman persona and not the sweet natured man-child of the sequels. They’ve even dubbed him with someone who sounds like the guy who dubbed Toxie back in ’84, not to mention a callback to orginal Melvin actor Mike Torgl, a prominent role for reoccurring Troma actor Dan Snow aka. Cigar Face and a call back to the monster penis from Tromeo And Juliet making this sort of a Troma fans wet dream – not that they’d need the help…
Yes, as I’ve mentioned in past Troma reviews (as I’ll undoubtedly mention in future Troma review too), if you’re opinions are of a sensitive nature, then it would be wise to treat this release as you would a ruptured, gushing sewage outlet, but the twin threats of the usual demented vaudeville style comedy and the best porn flick acting money can buy speaks to you like a guttural, shrieking siren song, then this grotesque return to form will guarantee that you’ll love Toxie’s moxie.