The Toxic Avenger is a cult-classic superhero black comedy movie from 1984, starring Mark Torgl and Mitch Cohen as the main character Melvin and his monstrous transformation, The Toxic Avenger, respectively.


The new movie is not a remake, but a reboot with a “contemporary reimagining” of the story, originally written by Lloyd Kaufman. It is the fifth installment in the Toxic Avenger franchise.

Troma Entertainment, which was founded in 1974 by Michael Herz and Lloyd Kaufman, is known for producing B-movies with campy concepts and gruesome practical effects in the comedy-horror genre.

To be clear, this is a reboot and not a remake, so there will be changes to the original storyline, but Macon Blair confirmed in January 2022 that the film will still utilize practical gore effects like the original.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about The Toxic Avenger before its release.

Editor’s Note: This piece was updated on November 25, 2023.

The Toxic Avenger Poster

The Toxic Avenger Reboot

A horrible toxic accident transforms downtrodden janitor, Winston Gooze into a new evolution of hero: THE TOXIC AVENGER!

Director
Macon Blair

Cast
Peter Dinklage, Jacob Tremblay, Taylour Paige, Elijah Wood, Kevin Bacon

Rating
R

Main Genre
Horror

Genres
Comedy

Studio
Legendary

Writers
Macon Blair

When Is ‘The Toxic Avenger’ Supposed To Come Out?

toxic-avenger
Image by Sam Coley

After being stuck in limbo for the last several years, The Toxic Avenger finally had its world premiere on September 21, 2023, at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. The film had an additional screening at Beyond Fest in Los Angeles, California, on September 30, 2023.

There has still been no official release date given as to when the film will be available for the general public.

If you can look past the sheer cheesiness of the era, the original The Toxic Avenger is a trip to watch. Watching the original might give you some more insight into what to expect from the upcoming reboot, and having a refresher will help to pinpoint the changes that have been made to the storyline.

Watch on Freevee

Is There a Trailer for ‘The Toxic Avenger’?

The first official (red-band) teaser trailer for The Toxic Avenger reboot was released on September 29, 2023. Running at only 76 seconds, the teaser doesn’t have any new reveals of Toxie’s new look, outside what we’ve already seen, but the trailer does give us a good look at the film’s chaotic violence and distinct sense of humor as a news report breaks the news of a group of armed extremists holding a fast-food restaurant hostage, before being brutally murdered by the titular anti-hero.

What’s ‘The Toxic Avenger’ About?

Peter Dinklage in the titular role in The Toxic Avenger reboot
Image via Legendary Pictures

Winston is your classic target for bullying. He’s easily pushed around and harassed at his job as a janitor at Garb-X health club. When he learns that he has a terminal illness, he goes to his employer for help, as the treatment for his diagnosis is extremely expensive. After he is rudely dismissed, he hatches a scheme to rob his boss and the company, in order to continue providing for his son.

During his attempt, he accidentally falls into a vat of toxic waste, which transforms him into a monstrous beast with superhuman strength and size. With his newfound strength, he sets out on a path of vengeance to get back at those who have wronged him and to protect others who are victims of the same bullying he was subjected to his whole life.

The official synopsis via Legendary reads:

A horrible toxic accident transforms downtrodden janitor Winston Gooze into a new evolution of hero: THE TOXIC AVENGER! Now wielding a glowing mop with super-human strength, he must race against time to save his son and stop a ruthless and power-hungry tyrant bent on harnessing toxic superpowers to strengthen his polluted empire.

Who Stars in ‘The Toxic Avenger’?

Peter Dinklage, who is best known for his role as Tyrion in HBO’s series Game of Thrones, will be playing Winston/The Toxic Avenger. He has also been seen more recently as the titular character in the romantic musical drama, Cyrano. Dinklage is also currently working on the upcoming 2023 installment in The Hunger Games franchise: The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. While talking with Collider, Blair revealed why Dinklage was cast in the role:

“It goes back to that 20-minute window at the top of the movie where it’s kind of like we really have to draw people into this character and his plight, the way he’s trying to connect with his kid, the way he’s kind of out of sorts in society and has been dealt a raw deal. And if they’re not sympathizing with him by then, by the time he turns into the monster, then they’re not going to get on board after that point. So we knew that we wanted an actor who could instantly engender that kind of sympathy in the audience, could also be very funny both with dialogue and also physicality, and can also be quite dark and full of rage, and kind of check all these boxes.”

Winston’s stepson Wade will be played by Jacob Tremblay. Tremblay won the Critics Choice Movie Award for “Best Young Performer” at the age of 10 years old for his performance alongside Brie Larson in the 2015 film, Room. He was also the youngest nominee for the “Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role” Award by the Screen Actor’s Guild for that same role.

Taylour Paige will play the character J.J. Doherty, an investigative reporter who moonlights as a vigilante detective. Paige is best known for her role as the titular character in the 2020 A24 film, Zola, as well as Dussie Mae in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. In an interview with Collider, Blair gave some details on Paige’s character:

“So it’s kind of like this fun action role that, again, I don’t think she got to do, but she just had this very believable, realistic quality to it as opposed to a Black Widow-type of character where everything is so perfect and precise. There’s kind of like a clunkiness to it, which I find very endearing. She makes mistakes that she goes to, like every time she tries to make progress against these bad guys, something goes wrong, and so she’s always flustered, which is very funny, You kind of go on that ride with her, and eventually, so does Toxie.”

Kevin Bacon (They/Them) will play the villain of the film Bob Garbinger, a corporate overlord who has been compared to Lex Luthor. Blair explained why he cast Bacon as the villain while talking to Collider:

“Same thing with Kevin Bacon. He was like, ‘Oh, it’s a villain?’ Because he’s like, ‘People keep wanting me to play corrupt cops and stuff.’ I was like, ‘Yes, he is the villain, but it’s super silly. It’s super goofy,’ and he was like, ‘Okay…’ and then he read it and then he called back. He was like, ‘Oh yeah, now I get it. It’s not like Villain, Villain, it’s like lowercase V villains.’ So I think that was attractive to both of them, getting to do something they don’t normally get an opportunity to do.”

Elijah Wood is set to play Fritz Garbinger, the disfigured brother of Bob and a henchman of sorts. Wood and Macon Blair have worked together before, on the film I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore, which was written and directed by Blair. In an interview with Collider’s Perri Nemiroff, Blair revealed that Wood’s role was created specifically for him.

“Oh, wow. Fritz. Elijah Wood playing Fritz, who is like the henchman, carries out the dirty deeds for the bad guys, and he’s kind of this Gothic creep-looking guy, you know, he’s bald. The whole idea was to make him be unrecognizable as sweet, kind-faced Elijah Wood and just have him be as equally as monstrous as Toxie was. I wrote that part for him, and I didn’t really think about anybody else for that one. Luckily, I pitched him to Legendary, I pitched the part to him, and everybody was very quickly on board. That was the easiest.”

Sarah Niles (Ted Lasso) will be playing Mayor Togar. In the original Toxic Avenger, the mayor played a pivotal role in leading the largest crime ring in the city, so we’ll have to wait and see if Blair wrote her character that way or not. Julia Davis (A Very British Scandal) will play a character named Kissy Sturnevan and Johnny Coyne (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) will play a character named Thad Barkabus.

Additionally, director Macon Blair is listed in the cast as a man named Dennis. When he’s not writing or directing, Blair has been in several movies such as The Hunt, I Care A Lot, and Green Room. Similar to writer/director like M. Night Shyamalan, Blair has a tendency to make sure there’s always room on the cast list for him to have a small role.

Related:9 Essential Peter Dinklage Movies, From ‘I Care A Lot’ to ‘Cyrano’

Who Is Making ‘The Toxic Avenger’?

Macon Blair in Blue Ruin
Image via RADiUS-TWC

This film will be written and directed by Macon Blair (I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore), under the guidance of Troma Entertainment and Legendary Pictures. His script was given a big thumbs-up by the original film’s writer, Kaufman. Michael Herz, who directed the original film, will be co-producing the reboot with Kaufman. Dana Gonzales (Greenland) will serve as the film’s cinematographer with Brett W. Bachman (Mandy) and James Thomas (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm) serving as the editor.

While talking to Collider, Blair revealed how he went about recapturing the spirit of the original Troma film:

“That was absolutely the kind of tightrope, like how do we honor the fan base? Because we knew we had to make something that would appeal to them and they would feel like, ‘Yes, you didn’t take this thing that’s beloved to us and take it in some new direction that it doesn’t warrant,’ but as you said, it’s a very devoted, vocal fan base, but of the overall movie-going population, it’s quite a small sliver. So we had to make sure they were taken care of first, and also make sure that people that had never heard of The Toxic Avenger were also gonna be taken care of. So for me, it was certainly the silly-on-purpose, kind of juvenile-on-purpose sense of humor, anything for a laugh, anything to sort of like tickle people’s sensibility that revolves around physical gags and gross makeup and stuff like that. We definitely wanted to preserve all of that.”

While talking to Empire, Blair compared the violence in the film to that of Itchy & Scratchy from The Simpsons.

“We’ve got a guy that gets his head stuffed in a car engine and it kind of grinds his head up. That was a gag I was fond of.”

When Did ‘The Toxic Avenger’ Film?

A gang rioting through the streets in the Toxic Avenger remake
Image via Legendary

A remake was originally announced in 2010, with the aim to release a more family-friendly PG-13 version of the film, similar to the Toxic Crusaders animated television series. The project was shopped around for nearly 8 years before Legendary Pictures acquired the rights for a reboot. Filming began in June 2021 and wrapped under two months later that year in August.

What Is ‘The Toxic Avenger’ Rated?

Elijah Wood as Fritz Garbinger in the Toxic Avenger
Image via Legendary Entertainment

While the previous incarnation of the reboot was rumored to be eying a PG-13 rating, that will certainly not be the case with Macon Blair’s film.

The film has officially been rated R for “strong violence and gore, language throughout, sexual references and brief graphic nudity.”

Blair revealed to Collider that he didn’t expect that the studio would approve an R-rated version of the film:

“Well, they didn’t offer it to me on a platter. They said, ‘What would your take be?’ As I’m sure they did to a bunch of people. I told them what I thought, and I really, scout’s honor, expected them at any point to say, ‘No,’ like, ‘Thank you for your time, but that’s not what we’re into.’ I kind of half assumed that maybe they would want a PG-13 or something that’s more family-friendly or mainstream, however you quantify that.”

Blair revealed that his adamance was what helped push the studio over the edge in allowing him to go for an R-rating:

“And I kept saying, ‘It’s gotta be R. It’s gotta be a dude in a suit. It’s gotta be silly and ridiculous and purposefully juvenile,’ and they kept going, ‘Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.’ And at a certain point, it was like, ‘Okay, well, I’m just going to write this goddamn thing and we’ll see what happens,’ and here we are.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *