Toxic Avenger [1985]

The most widely known of Troma Films' stable of low-budget exploitation, The Toxic Avenger is an exuberantly crude poke at superheroes and monster movies, delivered with a healthy dose of cheap gags, splattery special effects, and T&A. It's also a genuinely funny film, and its no-holds-barred attitude has a grubby charm that eludes most gross-out comedies. The Toxic Avenger opens with an absurdly vicious crew preying upon Melvin, a nebbishy janitor. Their pranks land him in a vat of chemical waste, which transforms him into a lumpy monster that deals out gruesome revenge. Directors (and Troma company heads) Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz aim low in detailing "Toxie's" vengeance spree, and the subsequent carnage should please gorehounds. But they're also savvy enough recognize the film's limitations, and wisely camp things with plenty of slapstick. The result is a frantic and funny mess that should amuse even the most dour cult movie fan. --Paul Gaita

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