It’s practically a universal certainty that when a remake is announced, there will be a Pavlovian backlash against it by fans of the original who take it as a personal affront that anyone could even considering reworking it. However, the script for the upcoming remake of Troma’s cult classic The Toxic Avenger has been declared by studio president Lloyd Kaufman to be superior to that on which it’s based.
The 1984 movie sees scrawny health club janitor Melvin chased by gym rat bullies and fall into a barrel of toxic waste, whereupon he gains huge muscles and superhuman strength, but is also transformed into a hideous monster. He uses his new abilities to become a vigilante battling the improbably extensive criminal underworld of his small New Jersey town, being seen as a folk hero to the populace but also gathering dangerous enemies.
The reboot script was written by Macon Blair (Hold the Dark, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore) and was met with unambiguous approval by Kaufman, who said:
“Macon Blair knows Troma better than I do. He’s seen everything. He’s seen the cartoon, he’s seen the Halloween special, he’s seen everything. And he loves our movies like Troma’s War and Terror Firmer. I’ve read the script and it’s better than the original and I leave it to him. If I’m called upon, I’d be happy to jump in. I learned on the musical to leave the creative to the creative. I learned to let them ask so if they want me, I’m there.”
The Toxic Avenger was such an unexpected success that it led to three sequels, a stage musical adaptation, and a spinoff children’s cartoon (yes, really) that tied in with several ‘90s creative endeavors teaching kids about environmentalism with the spectacular lack of subtlety that the decade is known for. It also resulted in Toxie (as he’s affectionately been dubbed) being adopted as Troma’s mascot, with public appearances by Kaufman usually accompanied by a lanky local roped in to wear a hideous mask and menacingly wield a mop.
Kaufman also stated his hope that Blair be the one to direct The Toxic Avenger, which runs counter to a previous announcement that he was going to. However, with his assertion that the writer-director-actor understands Troma’s output so intimately, he’ll hopefully get the opportunity to do so.