Title: Class of Nuke ‘Em HighDirector: Richard W. Haines, Lloyd Kaufman
Starring: Janelle Brady, Gil Brenton, Robert Prichard, Pat Ryan Jr., James Nugent Vernon, Brad Dunker, Gary Schneider, Theo Cohan, Gary Rosenblatt, Mary Taylor, Rick Howard, Lauren Heather McMahon, Arther Lorenz
Plot: Strange things are afoot as Tromaville High School, with nuclear radiation leaking into the school from the power planet next door, things only get weirder when Warren and Chrissy are unwittingly given radioactive pot.
Review: The films of “Troma Entertainment” have always been an acquired taste to say the least, as despite frequently feeling the wrath of the critics with each new film they release, they have at the same time continued to be supported by a rabid fan base. After all what other studio can boast its own free festival promotional team made up completely of its fans? Equally Troma owner Lloyd Kaufman has frequently played a similar role to Roger Corman in assisting up and coming directors and actors in getting their first breaks in the industry including “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn (Tromeo and Juliet), “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker (Cannibal! The Musical) and even J.J. Abrams (Nightbeast) to name but a few! At the same time Kaufman has been equally keen to inspire others to make their own trash movies with his now dated due to their focus on shooting on film, but still amusing “Make Your Own Darn Movie” series of books.
Needless to say a Troma film is always a unique experience and this is none the less true here, with the film opening with nerdy student Dewey (Lorenz) accidently drinking nuclear waste out of a drinking fountain before suddenly freaking out and punching classmates before finally throwing himself out of a window, where he proceeds to melt into a gooey puddle on the concrete. Still this incident pales in comparison to the general issues that Tromaville High School has, with the hallways lined with random horny students constantly making out, while the debate team have turned into a psychotic biker gang called “The Cretins”, while look like rejects from “The Warriors” with their truly random styling, including Gonzo (Dunker) who dresses like a tribal warrior and even welds a bone while wearing a stupidly huge nose ring. Still within this mass of random characters none of whom seem to belong in the same movie, we have the young and innocent (well compared to their classmates) lovers Warren and Chrissy who after smoking the radioactive pot, which the Cretins are marketing as “Atomic High” picked from the nearby power plant they soon find themselves suffering from bizarre side effects with Warren soon gaining super strength, while the two are soon overcome with overwhelming horniness.
No doubt this all sounds random enough, but this of course is before you take into account the genre hoping antics taking place within the film as it switches between a horror, teen sex comedy and even superhero elements as Warren set out to take out the members of the Cretins, in a scene which comes across like a throwback to Troma favourite “The Toxic Crusader” as he appears with a mutated head and toxic waste squirting out of his ears. However despite this radical change he randomly be back to normal by the next time we see him. Still this is all without mentioning the mutant monster which Chrissy vomits into the school toilet only to later come back in its adult form for the finale where it soon sets about making short work of the remaining members of the cast.
The film is packed with the trademark splatter the Troma has over the years become renown for, all of course done with old school effects which are certainly creative to say the least, especially when they include Warren jamming his arm down one gang members throat, while another gang member gets his head punched through by Chrissy’s monstrous offspring. These of course just a few of the gory delights contained within, with Kaufman once again showing his ability to stretch a budget which is not limited to him intentionally changing the original name of the film from “Nuke ‘Em High” in hopes of people mistaking it for “Class of 1984”, with his crafty financial ways even making the mutant monster seem impressive despite it being incomplete at the time of filming, meaning that you never see the full creature only it’s hands and face, it still comes off pretty impressive and even more when you compare it to the CGI creations of late.
Moving at a rapid pace there always seems to be something happening throughout the film, even if it frequently fails to make a whole lot of sense, while the frequent bouts of gore and violence, provide most of highlights especially when the story so frequently feels like they are making it up as they go, which could knowing Troma be all so true. However the film in best b-movie / exploitation style does show you things you things you’d be unlikely to see anywhere else (and often with good reason) with the Cretin’s taking over the school and riding their motorcycles through the halls being especially memorable, much like the drug fuelled dreams of Warren and Chrissy which not only feature mutations aplenty, but also Warren sporting a monster (literally in this case) erection as he makes not so much a tent but a marque with his bed sheets. As with the majority of Troma’s output it is hard to recommend this film, as like most of John Water’s early film it is more a case of challenging you to experience it and make up your own mind, as this film is no different as its one you will either love or hate. Needless to say someone clearly did love this as it spawned two sequels which I guess I have doomed myself to watching at some point, much like I did by watching “Leprechaun” and while your regular movie goer will no doubt despise this, bad movie fans should atleast give this a look even if it does largely linger around the ass end of okay throughout.