Low-budget cult classic The Toxic Avenger is getting a remake, and Conrad Vernon — who co-directed the raunchy summer hit Sausage Party alongside Greg Tiernan — is taking the helm.
The original Toxic Avenger is pure schlock, but it's schlock with a heart, and I happen to get a real kick out of the film, which remains camp purveyor Troma Entertainment's signature title (company co-founders Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz are serving as executive producers here). According to the Deadline report, Vernon's version is being billed as a “re-imagining” that will be “a more grounded and mainstream telling of the story,” which frankly seems to be missing the point of what made the scuzzy 1984 original so special to begin with.
That said, Vernon did help create one of the most subversive studio films of the last several years, so as “Hollywood” directors go, he's more well-equipped than most to capture the spirit of Herz and Kaufman's production while curving it in a slightly more palatable direction. It doesn't hurt that the film is being written by Mike Arnold and Chris Poole, who have written for FX's often-surreal animated spy series Archer.
Still, it's hard to imagine Toxie with a budget. The chintz is a major part of the charm of the long-running franchise — which spawned three sequels, a children's cartoon and even a stage musical — and giving the new version too much gloss will likely strike fans of the original as a betrayal. It's going to be a tricky balance to strike.