In 1984, The Toxic Avenger put a little company named Troma on the map. The company spent the next several decades launching careers, staying independent and grossing out even the most steel-stomached film fans. Now, their greatest creation is making a comeback. Deadline reports that Conrad Vernon, one of the co-directors of this winter’s surprise hit Sausage Party, has signed to direct a new version of The Toxic Avenger. The screenplay is being written by Archer‘s Mike Arnold and Chris Poole and, yes, Troma legends Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz are among the executive producers.
“The opportunity to re-imagine a favourite cult-classic from my high school years is an honour,” said Vernon. “Toxie is an underground icon. My favourite kind.”
According to Deadline, this remake will be “a more grounded and mainstream telling of the story”. Of course. That kind of misses the point that the charm of the series is that it’s specifically not “mainstream”. It’s gross and funny and stupid and wonderful. Then again, you can very easily picture how the bare bones story of a janitor who falls into a vat of toxic waste and becomes a crime fighter could be mainstream — and totally miss the point.
Look at the names though. Sausage Party was one of the most un-mainstream things Hollywood has released in decades. Hopefully Vernon’s fandom for the franchise, and Arnold/Poole’s smart sense of humour, will all find the right balance.