10 Noteworthy Exploitation Films

The Toxic Avenger
The Toxic Avenger
The Toxic Avenger
Courtesy Amazon.com

In the realm of grindhouse pictures, sometimes the studios that produce the films become as legendary as the movies themselves. Such is the case with Troma Entertainment, the makers of classic exploitation films, including "Surf Nazis Must Die," "Class of Nuke 'Em High" and "Redneck Zombies."

The most enduring and endearing of Troma's nuclear exploitation films is arguably, "The Toxic Avenger." Released in 1984, the movie stems from societal nervousness about the then-growing problem of toxic waste and pokes fun at the emergent American obsession with fitness. "The Toxic Avenger" follows the common revenge theme and combines it with sexploitation. A 98-pound (45-kilogram) weakling janitor at a health club in the fictional town of Tromaville, N.J., is thrown from a third-story window -- and into a vat of toxic sludge. He is reborn a horribly misshapen and incredibly strong mutant, the Toxic Avenger, a force of nature who dispenses justice to local thugs with cartoonish violence. Worry not, he gets his revenge against the cool kids who mocked and disfigured him.

"The Toxic Avenger" is noteworthy among exploitation films because, unlike most of their brethren, the filmmakers went to the trouble of using good visual effects.

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