“The Toxic Avenger” to Become Less Toxic in Remake

I’m always a little disappointed and/or nonplussed when dark source material gets sanitized en route to the big screen. As a tweener comic book enthusiast, I was partial to the early Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comics for their comfortable admixture of absurdity and graphic violence. Of course, it’s no secret which attribute got left behind once the “Heroes in a half shell” wended their way into kid-friendly movies and tv. Now, even more surprisingly, the same thing is happening to The Toxic Avenger.

If not the most successful, then certainly the most visible of all the characters to emerge from Troma Studios’ relentless 80’s output of crass exploitation masterpieces (Surf Nazi’s Must Die, The Class of Nuke ‘Em High), The Toxic Avenger told the tale of a 98-pound weakling who, after a gang of health club bullies dropped him in a vat of nuclear waste, was transformed into the eponymous hero. He cleaned up the town, dispatched the bullies, etc., but what impressed me most about it at the time (again, tweener age) was the uncommon degree of violence. While thoroughly campy, The Toxic Avenger was just as if not more violent than your average slasher, and twice as creative about it.

According to Deadline Hollywood, the new Toxic Avenger will be a “a green superhero for these environmentally conscious times.” What’s more, the film will be mounted as “a family friendly PG-13 action comedy akin to The Mask.” Boo, I say. But then I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. There has already been a short-lived cartoon series and numerous stage productions derived from The Toxic Avenger, the latest having been scored by Bon Jovi’s keyboardist. Ugh!

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