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Toxic Crusaders

Toxic Crusaders: The Movie 1991

Just when I thought I was done with the Toxic Avenger I noticed that they had collected some of the cartoon episodes and made it movie length. Not only that, but it’s currently available to watch on YouTube on Troma’s official YouTube channel, though for some reason the four live action Toxie movies aren’t available anymore. It’s a weird concept to turn a campy movie with so much sex and violence into a children’s cartoon. Something similar had been done before with Rambo having been made into a cartoon, but this at least has a superhero angle going for it. The animation is typical low quality like many of the mass produced cartoon properties of the 80’s and early 90’s. The writing is very formulaic, the voice acting is generally below average, but it’s sprinkled with moments of humor that hit me in just the right way, and the formulas fell right along with many of the cheesy cartoons I grew up with and I didn’t hate watching it by a longshot.
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Citizen Toxie

Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV 2000

This is the most recent Toxic Avenger movie to come from Troma films, at least until the slowly developing sequel Toxic Twins finally gets made. Apparently the writer/director suffers from procrasti-pation, a cross between procrastination and constipation, at least according to the teaser. But anyway, this movie feels like it already exists in practically a different universe. There’s no direct follow up from Toxie part 2 or 3, in fact his girlfriend is back to being blind. There are plenty of other additions to the movie that make it seem like they’ve been there all along, like Toxie’s sidekick Lardass or his ability to change into a hot bikini babe. There’s also a lot more nudity in this movie, there are more breasts in part 4 than there were in parts 1 through 3 combined, though there’s always a layer of crass humor to undercut any possible sexiness. This movie also has plenty of “star” power, ranging from Stan Lee who voices the opening and ending narration, famous porn star Ron Jeremy, Troma property Kabukiman, and not-exactly-stars-but-I-recognized-them stand up comedians the Skylar Brothers. And also more than any of the previous movies, this film is filled with humor that is based on being offensive. It is still a cheesy B-movie, and as far as my enjoyment level goes, it is much better than parts 2 & 3, though I’m not sure it captured the original intent or charm of the first movie.
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The Toxic Avenger Part III

The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie 1989

After the drop in entertainment quality between the first and second Toxie movie, I didn’t expect very much from The Last Temptation, and aside from a couple minor moments, it follows along the exact same path as Part II. There’s the childlike exposition narration, the usual over the top hammy acting, though another thing I noticed this time around was the horrible pacing. Even though the effects are nothing to write home about, they often linger on them as if they were a multi-million dollar set piece, complete with reaction shots of crowds gasping and screaming as if they’re watching something absolutely horrifying, and while a case could be made for that, they’re often watching something that they should be cheering for in an odd way, rather than screaming in terror over. I’m hoping that what I’ve heard holds true and the final installment brings it back up a notch, if not in actual movie quality, at least in entertainment value, which as fans of bad movies know are not always the same thing.
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The Toxic Avenger Part 2

The Toxic Avenger Part 2 1989

Since The Toxic Avenger was Troma’s first real hit, it’s no surprise that it became a sequel, and when that sequel originally ended up being over 4 hours long, it turned into 2 sequels. There are a large number of changes from the first movie to the second. Almost the entire cast was changed up, everyone from Toxie’s mother and girlfriend to Toxie himself, even being changed within the movie. The tone more or less remains the same gore-filled action comedy with hammy acting and cartoonish sound effects, though I didn’t have as much fun watching this one as I did the first one. I think they realized what they had and tried too hard to recreate it, giving it a much less charming feel to it. There’s also some odd choices in budget, while it feels like they spent more time or money on Toxie’s makeup, the fake eye moves occasionally, and there are some added effects used later in the movie. And yet there also seems to be less money spent on the other effects. A few people get shot, but there are no gunshot wounds or any blood at all, and the gory death scenes felt much tamer and sillier. If there wasn’t also a larger amount of nudity, I would almost think that they were considering to aim for a PG-13 rating. There are still some laughs to be had, but it’s far less entertaining on the bad movie scale.
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The Toxic Avenger

The Toxic Avenger 1984

A lot of B-movie fans, and especially horror B-movie fans likely know the name Troma. It’s a small company that’s churned out a whole lot of low budget films over the years with titles like Yeti: A Love Story, Surf Nazis Must Die!, and Killer Condom. But before doing horror movies, they mainly did sex comedies. The Toxic Avenger was more or less their first foray into horror, even though it’s not what anyone would call full blown horror, it has the death scenes and blood and gore which is a staple of these kinds of horror movies. And it was a success… eventually. It wasn’t quite the slow burn that the Rocky Horror Picture Show would become, but it found a foothold as a midnight movie and is considered a cult classic. Heck, there was even a children’s cartoon of it. As for my own experience with Troma films, I know I was familiar with the Toxic Avenger, but I can’t for the life of me remember exactly how. I think I watched at least one of the films when I was younger, and I know I caught some of the episodes of the cartoon. I also watched Tromeo and Juliet, which was directed by the James Gunn who would later go on to direct Super. But my knowledge of Toxie had mostly faded when he came back on screen in all his cheesy glory. This is a cult movie for a lot of the same reasons the Room is a cult movie. The acting is horrible, the effects are obviously cheap but brutal (for the time at least), but in the end, I had a blast.
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