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insightThe Toxic Avenger

Director Lloyd Kaufman

Lloyd Kaufman, director of The Toxic Avenger, will be at the Warhol on Friday, October 21 at 7pm to introduce, screen, and discuss the film.

Filmmakers Peter Jackson, Quentin Tarantino, and Takashi Miike have cited The Toxic Avenger (1984) as a key film that influenced their filmmaking. Intended as a critique of pollution and nuclear waste, The Toxic Avenger has spawned three sequels, a children’s cartoon series, a novelization, comic books, and an off-Broadway musical. Recently, director Lloyd Kaufman has begun production on a fourth sequel, Toxic Twins: The Toxic Avenger V, and Oscar-winner Akiva Goldsman is producing a big budget remake of The Toxic Avenger.

Yale graduate (and classmate of President George W. Bush) Lloyd Kaufman became a filmmaker in New York in the early 1970s.  Kaufman was influenced by Warhol’s style of filmmaking and worked with several of Warhol’s associates, writing the screenplay for the film Sugar Cookies (1973) which starred Warhol Superstars Mary Woronov and Ondine.

For almost 40 years, Lloyd Kaufman and partner Michael Herz have been leaders in independent cinema. Since forming Troma Studios in 1974, their films have helped launch the careers of directors Trey Parker and Matt Stone, James Gunn, and Eli Roth.  Troma films have featured early appearances by stars Billy Bob Thornton, Kevin Costner, Marisa Tomei, Paul Sorvino, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Lloyd has served as the Chairman of the Independent Film & Television Alliance and has written several instructional books on independent filmmaking, including All I Needed To Know About Filmmaking I Learned From “The Toxic Avenger,” Make Your Own Damn MovieDirect Your Own Damn MovieProduce Your Own Damn Movie, and Sell Your Own Damn Movie.

The Toxic Avenger came from newsletters I read about toxic waste dumps ticking away like time bombs all over the world. This was around the early 1980s, and my wife and I like to go camping and when we went we’d find styrofoam cups, which weren’t biodegradable in those days, all over the place. And then I remember I saw a frog stuck one of the styrofoam cups and it looked so pitiful. It seemed so weird how there was all of this toxic waste and how we were defiling the earth, but at the same time health clubs had started to pop up everywhere and health food had started to become popular. People were attending to body beautiful at the same time the planet was being made into a giant garbage dump. It seemed like an interesting and important theme.”


Director Lloyd Kaufman
Director Lloyd Kaufman