Archive for michael herz

1984-A-Thon: THE TOXIC AVENGER – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in movies with tags , , , , on August 24, 2014 by goregirl

This is my contribution for Forgotten Films 1984-A-Thon! Cheers Todd!

DIRECTED BY: LLOYD KAUFMAN AND MICHAEL HERZ

1984_blogathonIn June 2010 I compiled a list of my ten favourite horror films for each year of the 1980s. To be honest, 1984 was probably my least favourite year of the decade for horror movies. 1984 however was an especially solid year for non-horror films and features some huge all-time personal favourites including Repo Man, Paris Texas, Blood Simple, This is Spinal Tap and Stranger than Paradise just to name a few. There is one horror film from 1984 however that I thought deserved special attention. It is rude, crude, gory, silly, sticky, icky and an all around smashing good time; Troma’s mutant monster masterpiece The Toxic Avenger.

“People can’t go around doing things just because they’re right. We have to leave these decisions to the mayor and the police chief.”

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I watched both the VHS and the 21st Anniversary Golden Edition DVD of The Toxic Avenger. The screen caps I included are from the DVD but I can tell you there is very little difference in picture quality between the two. The DVD however includes loads of special features like interviews, deleted scenes, laser disc intro and outro and lots more. Lloyd Kaufman does an intro for the special edition where he calls The Toxic Avenger “his nigger and cash cow who put his children through college.” Indeed The Toxic avenger spawned three sequels, a musical production and a kid’s cartoon show.

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Our tale takes place in the town of Tromaville; The toxic chemical capital of the world; as its sign proudly announces. Population 15,000.

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We begin our story at the Tromaville Health Club where Melvin Furd works. Melvin’s life would be forever changed by toxic chemical waste.

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This is Melvin Furd; a constantly grinning, awkward and unpopular young man who takes care of the maintenance at the health club.

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The club is frequented by many nasty big haired vixens in Danskin workout wear and headband-wearing jocks. This is Julie and Bozo. They have a particular hate on for Melvin and are looking to wipe that grin off his face. “He is screwing up my karma.”

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This is Slug and Wanda, friends to Julie and Bozo. Melvin has walked in on Slug and Wanda having sex. Wanda pulls out a knife with a pink ribbon on it and threatens to cut Melvin up if he doesn’t beat it fast.

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Tromaville has been plagued by a hit and run killer. The guilty parties being our heinous quartet of Julie, Bozo, Slug and Wanda. The gang of four go out driving at night with the specific intent of hitting and killing the good people of Tromaville. They even have a points system set up. “Jews, wops, niggers and chinks; they’re all worth 25 points. But Puerto Ricans, they’re worth thirty. Now kids under twelve, they’re worth double points.” Tonight’s victim is a child on a bike!

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After hitting the kid and graphically squashing his head Julie and Wanda get out and take Polaroid pictures which they admire with great enthusiasm. They really are not very nice people.

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Melvin is hard at work cleaning the windows of the squash court.

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Julie, Wanda, Bozo and Slug are hatching a plan to wipe that grin off of Melvin’s face once and for all.

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Julie convinces Melvin with her seductive charms to meet her in the girl’s locker room. She asks Melvin to change into a pink tutu and tights for their rendezvous. Julie then lures Melvin to the pool. Instead of a bikini-clad Julie he is met with a sheep and everyone in the club laughing and pointing at him. Melvin runs in horror up some stairs and throws himself out of a second story window. Melvin lands in a barrel of green bubbling toxic waste on a flatbed truck parked outside! He pulls himself from the barrel and writhes about on the sidewalk as his skin burns and sizzles and eventually catches fire!

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Miraculously surviving this episode he runs home and jumps into the bath. He begins to transform and mutates into a huge creature! The Toxic Avenger is born!

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He runs from the house and upon his return is greeted by his horrified mother. Melvin is forced to set up a makeshift home at the town dump.

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Toxie’s first order of business is to help out the only honest cop on the Tromaville police force; Clancy. Clancy is having the snot beaten out of him by Cigar Face and his two cronies Nipples and Knuckles for refusing to take a bribe. Just before they are going to blow Clancy’s nuts off The Toxic Avenger arrives to save the day. The Toxic Avenger makes front page news the next day “Monster Mops Up Mobsters!”

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For a town of 15,000 there is a disproportionate amount of bad-asses. Three men robbing a fast food joint; Leroy, Rico and Frankie are the next to feel Toxie’s wrath. Before Toxie arrives however the trio take out an outspoken male patron and a blind woman’s dog. The Toxic Avenger takes the trinity out using his brute strength and the restaurant’s amenities (I’ll have the man-sized milkshake and some deep-fried hands to go please). The Toxic Avenger once again makes the headlines; “Monster Hero Save The Day At Fast Food Restaurant.”

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Sara, the blind girl whose dog was shot in the restaurant holdup is assisted home by Toxie. Sara and Toxie fall in love and eventually move into his home in the town dump.

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Wanda is masturbating in the health club’s spa when she is spanked by Toxie for being a bad girl.

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Toxie is winning the hearts of the citizens of Tromaville, but the prisons are getting full and the crooked major is not liking it one bit.

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Toxie gets his revenge on Julie. How sweet it is!

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The crooked, rotten to the core Major Peter Belgoody calls in the National Guard.

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A Happy ending. “So Melvin the Monster hero rids Tromaville of all of its evil so the good citizens could live their lives in peace and happiness. And the next time you’re in danger or in need of help look to the horizon and maybe, just maybe The Toxic Avenger will be there.”

Troma makes low-budget flicks without the burden of offending the average movie goer; it is part of their charm. By no means is every Troma film as entertaining as The Toxic Avenger; some of their fare is downright unwatchable. There are however plenty of gems scattered throughout their library well worth a watch if your taste leans towards salty. The Toxic Avenger is a great place to start if you are unfamiliar with their films. I must admit, I was disappointed in the picture quality of the DVD. As you can see from these images it is very dull and washed out. That said, The Toxic Avenger is a wholly enjoyable product of the 1980s. The big hair, Danskin Dancewear, cheesy music and headbands; freaking headbands. I watched The Toxic Avenger three times in preparation for this review and it never once felt tedious. The film wastes no time getting right into the heart of the matter; the ridicule of our hero Melvin and his revenge once transformed into the monster with a heart of gold. There are plenty of laughs ranging from incredibly corny to “you may not want to admit you laughed at that” crudeness. There is some delicious gore, cheap but suitably gruesome including Melvin’s transformation, two head squashings, the ripping off of an arm and a few other goodies I won’t tell you about. The bad-asses are ridiculously over the top and eccentric as hell; it is especially sweet seeing the two snotty tramps Wanda and Julie get their comeuppance! To summarize, The Toxic Avenger is more fun than a bag of snakes!

Quotes you can use at your next family get together…

“Drop your tacos or I’ll blow your brains out!”

“Always did want to cornhole me a blind bitch.”

“I love the sound of breaking bones.”

“Did you see her face when I punched her?”

“Beat that old lady like a dog!”

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AustinChef Reviews CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH (1986)

Posted in horror, movies, USA with tags , , , , , on January 12, 2010 by goregirl

Aahhh Troma movies; the Spirit of guerilla filmmaking lives on to this day with Troma Entertainment films (don’t believe me, go watch Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead). Troma, and its co-founder Lloyd Kaufman, provide the last bastion of independent, fun, over the top, gory genre flicks. Troma has given us such classics as The Toxic Avenger, Terror Firma, Tromeo and Juliet, the abovementioned Poultrygeist, and Troma’s War; produced such Academy Award winners as Mother’s Day and Igor and the Lunatics; and distributed such groaners as Surf Nazis Must Die and Killer Condom. Troma Entertainment movies, especially those written and directed by Lloyd Kaufman, are not for everyone. If you hate toilet humor, excessive gore, lesbians, crazy plotlines, borderline acting, and general gonzo craziness, then you will definitely want to stay away from Troma films. But if you enjoy such delicacies, well come on in, have a seat, and lets talk.

Before getting into the actual movie I’m reviewing here, let me say that Troma films has become a kind of Boot Camp for up and coming filmmakers. If you can survive at Troma, then you just might have what it takes to make it Big Time. It’s not just the anarchy-like feel and craziness of all of Troma’s films. Kaufman has a philosophy and a style that he will forever stay true too. All of Kaufman’s and Troma’s flicks are made on micro budgets. They don’t apply for filming permits to shoot in New Jersey and New York City … they just do it. Need a ten minute shot of a guy completely naked running around in downtown New York with his junk giggling all over? What, you forgot to get the permits? Fuck it. Just film it!!! And what is so impressive is that by now I’m sure bigger studios have approached Uncle Lloyd with the seduction of bigger budgets and bigger named actors and actresses (his movies are fiercely successful especially with their modest budgets). But in true Uncle Lloyd fashion I can just hear him telling some bigwig studio exec to fuck themselves and “suck on my balls” as he delivers a barrage of wet farts on their Armani suits. Kaufman doesn’t compromise and won’t give in to The Machine.

That said Kaufman and Troma Films have given us such genre talents as James Gunn and Joe Lynch. Gunn, who wrote and directed 2006’s Slither and wrote the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake, started as a writer for Troma (he contributed as writer on both Terror Firmer and Tromeo and Juliet). Lynch, who directed the highly entertaining Wrong Turn 2, began his career with Troma films as a grip and an actor in Terror Firmer.

Ok; I’m gonna get off my soap box about greatness of Troma Films and Uncle Lloyd. Onto the reason you are reading this posting: The review of Class of Nuke ‘Em High. This and Toxic Avenger are the two best early Troma outings. I have a special place in my heart for both of these movies, but in particular Nuke ‘Em High. Nuke ‘Em was the first Troma flick I even saw. I rented it back in the days before Blockbuster Video cornered the market on movie rentals and all the Ma and Pa corner video stores were competing with each other. The successful places had the goriest movies, and THAT’S the kinda place I found this gem. I rented it based solely on the video cover art which showed a half-naked chick in leather being hugged by some mutant-goon with the picture of a monster in the background. Love it!!! And unlike most other video cover art, this one had all these elements in the movie AND MORE. What more could a 16 year old boy ask for??

The story here begins in Tromaville with the local nuclear power plant springing a leak. The toxic waste is absorbed into the ground and finds its way to the (very) nearby high school. The water is contaminated and we see students drinking the thick, green jello-like polluted water out of the fountain. The effects of such pollution are pretty mild and barely noticeable (yeah, right!!). The honor society, once the preppies of the school, are now a vicious and violent gang of mutants who beat and make everyone’s lives at the school miserable. And don’t even ask about the AV Club!!! Even some teachers become seduced to the mutant side and dress and act slutty (all for our entertainment, of course).

Amidst all these bizarre characters is Chrissy and Warren, white-bread high school sweethearts a little on the “goody-goody” side. They’ve been dating for a while and when their friends realize they haven’t banged each other yet they step in to help the two lovers. Warren’s buddy buys some weed that was grown at the contaminated power plant and gives it to the cute couple to smoke and to help “grease the gears.” It works … all too well. The weed gives them an “Atomic High” and basically turns Warren’s load into “super sperm.” Within days Chrissy gestates a little mutant baby that she vomits into the toilets at school and which gets flushed. Oh yes folks; we’re into some truly bizarre territory here. As weird as it sounds, the fast paced-direction, the collection of odd-ball characters, and the actors involved make this really fun.

Say what you will about Troma and Uncle Lloyd, but that man knows how to find and cast young, cute, and very innocent looking girls in the lead roles. Don’t believe me? Check out actress Kate Graham (the lead in Poultrygeist) and Jane Jensen (the lead in Tromeo and Juliet). And here Janelle Brady, who plays Chrissy, is a true 1980’s babe. She’s cute and a bit of a bimbo but underneath the surface there is a bad girl bubbling to get out.

The story takes a lot of truly bizarre twists and turns. The mutant ex-honor students get expelled from school and decide to come back, heavily armed of course, for some fun. They blame Warren for their expulsion, so they kidnap Chrissy to lure him into the evacuated school. Oh but wait … that little mutant tadpole Chrissy puked up is all grown up now. This has an ending that must be seen to be believed!!

Like all Troma releases, this movie never for one second takes itself seriously. It’s full of toilet humor, bodily fluids, and full of gratuitous gore. Good family fun. If you haven’t seen this one in a while (or even worse, haven’t seen it at all) do yourself a favor: Call some buddies over, make some green jello shots, grab your favorite bong, and have a blast! Don’t miss this one.

Directors: Richard Haines, Michael Herz, & Lloyd Kaufman (as Samuel Weil)
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 7 out of 10 skulls
Zombies: 0 out of 5 brains