Lost Picture Show: The Toxic Avenger

michael dworkis looks back at New Jersey’s favorite superhero …

Release Date: May 1984, then again on April 11, 1986

First Saw It: Movie Channel Special Feature

What Drew Me to See It: I actually saw the cartoon first as a kid. Then I heard about the movie and rented it. Boy, was I surprised.

Starring: Mitch Cohen, Andree Maranda, Jennifer (Babtist) Prichard, Mark Torgl, Pat Ryan Jr.

Before They Were Stars Appearances: Marisa Tomei. Yes, THE Marisa Tomei. The woman who starred in movies such as The Wrestler, Alfie, Anger Management, and one of the best movies ever, My Cousin Vinny. So what was she doing in Toxic Avenger? She had an uncredited role as a “Health Club Girl.”

Director: Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman

The Best Performance: I am probably going to get hunted down for this, but my vote goes to Pat Kilpatrick. Who? You have seen him, trust me. He has been in almost every action movie as either some gruff military soldier or a sinister brute of a henchman. As Leroy, he is psychotic as he murders without remorse, instillng fear in you to the point where you really, really hate him and want him dead.

The Supporting Scene Stealer: Mayor Belgoody’s men getting murdered in the most bizarre ways possible. Toxie goes on a rampage, killing the three main henchmen in a bloodbath using restaurant equipment. He saves a number of people, including a girl who falls in love with him, who just so happens to be blind. This all went down in a Mexican restaurant called “The Mexican Place.” Catchy.

The Moment to Remember: The corruption of the diabolical Mayor of Tromaville is revealed and Toxie is ready to administer justice. Cornering the fat slob, Toxie asks if he has any guts. Before the Mayor can answer, our hero punches the villain in the stomach, and rips his guts out. Justice is served, Jersey-style.

The Memorable Quote: Dr. Morton Snodburger describes the behavior of the Toxic Avenger as “highly probable that this monster may have developed a very basic instinct which draws him—or, should I say, commands him—to destroy evil!” So there! Jersey waste is good for you! Take THAT, Staten Island!

The Groan Moment: Early on in the film, Melvin Ferd is forced to wear a pink tutu and kiss a sheep. You feel bad for the little shrimp, but really … wearing a tutu?

Why I Can’t Stop Watching It: The first superhero from New Jersey! I have to support my home-state hero! Sorta … The real reason, goes to Troma. It’s the campy, over-the-top, buckets-of-blood, senseless violence we have come to love. Have you seen Hobo with a Shotgun? You can thank the Troma-style of gory-yet-entertaining cinema for that, and other flicks such as Grindhouse. I do.


  1. I know I’m gonna get criticized for this, but I’m not a fan of all that blood and guts or the sex scenes. And I honestly don’t understand how anyone can be. However I do think that Toxie is a great character. He’s really my only reason for watching this film. I see him as an inspirational figure, because there are a lot of scumsucking dirtbags out there that are really hurting people, and Toxie is the one superhero who really gives them what they deserve.

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