The Toxic Avenger Is Filled With ‘Itchy & Scratchy-Type Violence’, Says Director Macon Blair – Exclusive Image

Toxic Avenger

by Ben Travis |
Published on

Here’s a conundrum: how do you ever-so-slightly scrub up The Toxic Avenger without losing what makes it… well, toxic? 1984’s cult favourite oddity – about a janitor who falls into a vat of toxic waste and is mutated with superhuman powers – is as intentionally scuzzy as movies get, a prime example of the ultra-B-movie outlook of the infamous Troma Entertainment. 40 years later, ‘Toxie’ (as he’s affectionately known) is back – this time with a little bit of a budget, and some heavyweight acting talent in its central role, courtesy of Peter Dinklage. But while this version, written and directed by Macon Blair, won’t be quite as corrosive as the original, it’s still set to be packed with no-holds-barred carnage.

Case in point, a blast of cartoonish brutality, in the most literal sense. As Blair tells Empire in the new issue, the film promises “Itchy & Scratchy-type violence”, nodding to The Simpsons’ heightened cat-vs-mouse sketches. That means horrifying levels of invention to the gore and grue. “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,” the filmmaker chuckles. Make no mistake: The Toxic Avenger gets a proper hard R-rating.

That commitment to exuberant explosions of viscera was backed by the studio all the way. “I kept expecting Legendary to say, ‘This is not what we want,’ but they kept agreeing to the things I pitched,” says Blair – previously behind 2017’s I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore, and seen in front of the camera in the likes of Blue Ruin and Green Room. Those pitches, he says, “embraced the silliness and trashiness, while wanting it to be an enjoyable, crowd-pleasing, rock’n’roll fun time.” So much blood, you might want to bring your own mop.

Empire The Fall Guy Issue

Read Empire’s full The Toxic Avenger story in the 2024 Preview issue – on sale Thursday 23 November. Order a copy online here. The Toxic Avenger is currently awaiting a UK release date.

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