?If you’re a fan of schlock-film studio Troma, then you’ve probably heard that there’s a big-budget remake of The Toxic Avenger in the works, for some reason. We say “for some reason” because we can’t think of any way a remake is going to improve on the original. Is there any more moving way you can portray the torment of geeky Melvin Ferd than dressing him in a tutu and pushing him into a container of toxic waste? And do we need updated special effects to better convey the emotional impact of a guy getting a milkshake stirrer rammed into his throat?
No we do not. The original film is amazing/horrible exactly the way it is… which isn’t to say that some of the other movies that Troma’s released over the years couldn’t make some kick-ass remakes. In fact, giving one of Troma’s lesser-known works a big-budget remake with modern special effects seems incredibly perverse… but exactly the sort of thing Troma loves to do. Here are our picks!
8) Class of Nuke ‘Em High
It’s the classic story: A bunch of high-schoolers smoke some weed from a nuclear power plant, mutate into crazy bikers and fight a giant, mutated miscarriage that feeds on human flesh. Is there any word in that description that you don’t want to see in a big summer blockbuster? (Well, maybe “miscarriage.”) And is there any way that couldn’t be made amazing with today’s special effects? Apart from that aforementioned miscarriage, of course. They can leave that part out the second time around.
7) Surf Nazis Must Die
In a fairly post-apocalyptic future, roving gangs have taken over California, including the titular “Surf Nazis,” who each even take traditional Nazi names like Eva and Adolf. These days, a lot of filmmakers (most famously Stephen Spielberg) have been shying away from the great cinematic tradition of using Nazis as bad guys because they don’t want to be too flippant about World War II (frankly, we think WWII vets would love to watch Nazis get massacred like blonde fish in an Aryan barrel). So, to avoid any historical connotations, what we need are movies where neo-Nazis get gunned down left and right, particularly on surfboards. Preferably by a sassy old African-American woman with a huge handgun. Sounds like Oscar material to us.
6) Children at Play
When a group of kids get recruited into a cannibal cult and start murdering their parents, townspeople have to hunt them down with shotguns and pitchforks. While that’s an amazing premise, it definitely suffers from lousy special effects especially in the awkwardly slow child massacre scene, where it’s clearly just regular kids shoved in front of the camera and pretending to fall down. In today’s level of Saw-level of realistic gore, can you imagine how truly disturbing this film would be if you actually thought they were sticking pitchforks through country bumpkin 10-year-olds? I’m not sure you could actually sit through it, but the world would be a better place for having this in it.
5) Sgt. Kabukiman, N.Y.P.D.
If there’s one Troma movie that has a more ridiculous premise than The Toxic Avenger, it’s got to be Sgt. Kabukiman, N.Y.P.D., a film where a New York cop discovers he has the “super-mortal power” to turn into a giant Japanese stereotype. There’s no way that story isn’t insane… so why not make it even more ridiculous by throwing a giant Hollywood budget at it? Because the only thing more ridiculous than heat-seeking chopsticks would be knowing that they blew more money on that one effect than they’d spent on the entire budget of the original.
4) Igor and the Lunatics ?
(NOTE: Go here to watch the NSFW trailer.) It’s hard to tell from the silly sounding title (which sounds even more ridiculous when the announcer says it in the trailer), but this film follows a group of Manson-like cultists who are released from prison and go back to punish the town that sent them to jail. If that’s not an amazing premise for a movie, we don’t know what is. Crazy hippie cultists cutting people in half with a giant buzz saw? Forget giant scorpions or Jeff Bridges’ drugged-out Tron face, here’s something that would finally be worth putting in 3-D.
3) Rabid Grannies
Despite the title, there’s no actual rabies in this movie, just two old women who get possessed by Satan and spend their birthday noshing on their families. This is one of the films that Troma distributes, rather than made: it’s actually a Belgian import. Which is surprising, because there’s considerably more head-noshing than you see in your usual Euro-flick. Although, it should be pointed out that the aforementioned noggin-munching does at least happen at a fancy dinner party, so at least it’s cultured face-gobbling.
2) Monster in the Closet
One ’80s film genre that we really miss is genre of truly goofy horror comedies. Back then they weren’t afraid to mix genuine scares with Airplane-level ridiculousness. That’s what Monster in the Closet is: a film that can have both a really horrific closet-dwelling monster, a blind man flailing around in a room smashing everything and a
ridiculous montage of people all over the world smashing closets with baseball bats. Frankly, we need more horror movies that aren’t afraid to boast “the most highly developed nuclear-powered flower pots could not stop it!”
Not quite the usual gore-and-boobs-fest you expect with the Troma name (although it has both), this one follows a wanna-be screenwriter to Hollywood, where he ends up murdering everyone who annoys him as fodder for his screenplay. Well-written and imaginatively shot on minimalist sets, it’s one of the best and most overlooked films in the Troma library (again, we’re blaming the lack of constant on-screen giant boobs). We’d love to see a new version of it, even if we’re not sure how you could improve it.