Friday, October 22, 2010

The Legacy of the Toxic Avenger

Over the years, Troma has grown to be one of my (Chuck) favorite film production and distribution companies. Their brand of over the top film has become immensely successful to its cult audience. Troma is the United States' oldest independent film company. The company was founded by aspiring movie maker Lloyd Kaufman. Today, Kaufman and Troma have a multitude of fans world wide, and have become a household name among horror fans.
Troma's first big success, and one of the main reasons they have so many fans, came in 1984 with the Toxic Avenger. The film is about a 90 lbs nerd who has an accident and falls into a vat of toxic waste, transforming him into New Jersey's first monster hero of superhuman size and strength, the Toxic Avenger. Toxie spends his time ridding his hometown of Tromaville from evil. Along his super hero journey he meets and falls in love with a blind blond bimbo named Sara. Toxie spends the rest of his time picking off the criminals in Tromaville one by one. The corrupt mayor, Mayor Belgoody, and his crooked police force are behind a lot of the wrongdoing going on in Toxie's home town. Because Toxie is cleaning up Tromaville, the mayor puts a bounty out on the monster hero. All in all, Toxie wins and Tromaville rejoices as the mayor shows his guts.
     The legacy of the Toxic Avenger is one that goes unparalleled compared to other cult movies. After the initial movie, there were three sequels: The Toxic Avenger Part II, The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie, and Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger Part IV. Right now Troma is in the process of producing the Toxic Avenger Part V: The Toxic Twins as well as a big budget remake. Apart from these sequels, the Toxic Avenger spawned a Saturday morning children's cartoon series, the Toxic Crusaders. There is also an off broadway musical dedicated to Troma's 1984 hit.
     There are over 100 licenses for Toxie merchandise in the US and abroad, including a line of Playmates action figures, two marvel comic book series, Topp's trading cards, Nintendo and Sega video games, Thermos lunch boxes and thermoses, Colorforms play sets, International Games board games, a CD-Rom, model kits, Halloween masks, and much more.
    In 1984 when a little known independent film company called Troma began working on a unique superhero film called The Toxic Avenger, they had no idea that this film, as well as the monster hero, would put them on the map. Now, the names Troma and Toxie are known the world around, and the legacy continues. Not too shabby for a hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength.

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