New To Blu: Return To Nuke 'Em High Volume I

Lloyd Kaufman revisits Nuke 'Em High with last week's release on blu ray.

"Wanna see us do the
Toxic Avenger?"
When Class of Nuke 'Em High came out in the mid-eighties, it was poorly received by critics but garnered a sizable cult film fan base. It was stuffed with nasty gross-out humor, slop buckets filled with gore, numerous bare breasts and politically incorrect writing. Lloyd Kaufman definitely hasn’t lost his touch with his newest sequel/reboot, Return to Nuke ‘Em High, and fans of Troma’s special brand of schlock will be pleased.

While Troma’s popularity has waxed and waned over the decades (with it peaking in the 1980’s) they have persevered on and never sold out to Hollywood just to make a buck. They cater to independent directors and have always allowed film makers complete freedom and creativity. This has resulted in some very trashy, low-budget affairs but they always maintain a certain amount of charm and as such have garnered a fiercely loyal following. I am a huge Troma fan and I grew up watching their films and have fond memories of catching them on late night cable television.

Return to Nuke ‘Em High has all the elements of a classic Troma film but with some elements and references to current pop culture—it’s a great mix of retro nostalgia and at times, biting satirical commentary and parody. The toxic nuclear menace of the original film has been updated with an evil organic foods company named Tromorganic Foodstuffs Conglomerate, and it fits in well with the modern obsession with food and the marketing hype associated with it. Of course, since this is a Troma film, there are giant prosthetic dicks, male and female nudity, sexual exploits, “duck rape” and people melting into goop mixed in with the political commentary—and that’s just how we like it.

The acting isn’t very good most of the time but everyone hams it up the best they can and it makes the movie hilarious to watch. The two female leads aren’t the best actresses but they have to do some crazy stuff and they make up for it with lots of enthusiasm. They also get naked a lot, if that floats your boat.  Lloyd Kaufman has a pretty large role in the film and he does the old-fashioned, vaudevillian shtick well. A lot of the humor reminds me of Mad Magazine and it occasionally seemed dated and silly.

" much for clown school!"
I was very impressed with the gore work the FX team did in this film. It’s all done with practical effects and it looks outstanding. There are scenes of people melting into puddles of guts and organs that are simultaneously disgusting and awesome to watch and gore hounds will appreciate the love that went into every spurt of blood The music fits in perfectly with the shenanigans and it even has a remake of the catchy theme song “Nuke ‘Em High” from the original film!

This film was split into two parts so it ends somewhat abruptly and I’m excited to see if the second half manages to keep up the absurd pace and atmosphere. It’s a Troma film through and through and worth a look for fans of B movies.

-Michelle Kisner