The Toxic Avenger, Part III:
The Last Temptation of Toxie

Dir: Michael Herz and Lloyd Kaufman
Star: Ron Fazio, John Altamura, Phoebe Legere, Lisa Gaye

[5] After shooting Part II, the Troma team found themselves with a lot of unused footage and with ingenuity only they possess, decided to turn it, with a few additional scenes, into a fully fledged movie. What's even more remarkable is that the result is a good deal better than the film from which it's the left-overs. While it showed that II was partly funded by Lorimar (despite Lloyd Kaufman assuring me they'd no creative input into it, "though I wish they had!"), III returns in part to the original; not quite as much poor taste, perhaps, but still an acceptable film. In plot, it's exactly the same as II. Tromaville is threatened by Apocalypse, Inc who try to destroy Toxie. The difference is this time they try to bribe him, rather than sending him off to Japan - he goes to work for them in exchange for $350,000 to pay for an operation to get Claire, his blind girlfriend, to see again. It's almost as if II never happened; Toxie has totally forgotten all the evil things Apocalypse, Inc did in the last film. He becomes a yuppie before seeing the error of his ways and discovering the head of Apocalypse, Inc is Satan in disguise.

The first third is a joy, in the spirit of the original. The tone is set in the opening scene, a thinly veiled attack on the big boys who rule the film industry: a video shop, full of Troma product naturally, is attacked by Apocalypse thugs (the Warner brothers!) who demand the removal of all but the top 20 titles; one customer who asks for variety & choice is blown away and left twitching on the floor. Enter Toxie. One baddie's intestines are pulled out and used as a skipping rope, another has his face erased and a third gets a hand shredded, in merciless detail, by a VCR. The film can't sustain this for too long - it slides, ever so gently, down-hill with the last third being almost down to II standard. Toxie as a yuppie is a nice idea, and is about the only joke that isn't over-played. Phoebe Legere, as Claire, has improved drastically and has something of a character now, though her tendency to lie around with her legs splayed wide is slightly distracting.

Directorially, it's good stuff by Troma standards, at times almost psychedelic with the dream sequences being especially effective. The special effects are about as you'd expect; not expensive, with trick photography and lots of cutting away at appropriate moments - the original Toxie at least showed heads being crushed, for just enough time to allow your imagination to fill in the blanks without realising it was a cheap effect. The soundtrack, loosely based on Dvorak(!), also stood out, though it occasionally doesn't fit in with the tone of the film. Overall, not bad. You could edit II & III together and get one great movie; roll on IV ("Mr Toxie goes to Washington") but will it be as naff as II or as good as III?

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