Class Of Nuke’em High
Directed by Richard W. Haines
Every Troma Entertainment release provides a sense of familiarity to its viewers; not only because they have a tendency to re-use scenes in more than one movie, but because their self-effacing style and deranged approach is exactly what you come to expect from a Lloyd Kaufman production.
Class of Nuke’em High is no different, as this 1986 film saw Kaufman (directing here as Samuel Weil) fresh off the success of his landmark creation, The Toxic Avenger. All of the typical B-movie attributes are here, and then some: outlandish costumes and make-up, insanely cheap special effects, a continuous soundtrack in the background and of course, a ton of frontal nudity.
Though not as gory or elaborate as future Troma Entertainment productions, Class of Nuke’em High actually contains a better storyline. The students at Tromaville high school, on the outskirts of the Tromaville Nuclear Plant, have been acting weird lately. No, it’s not because they were given scripts written by Kaufman and Haines, but rather because the weed the ‘Cretins’ (a local gang) have been buying and selling from a power plant official is actually grown near the plant itself. Upon smoking it, hilarity and hijinks ensue.
The second half of the movie will please traditional Troma fans, as it introduces a particularly familiar monster (some kind of Alien/Hellraiser hybrid), and a lot more slash and splat. The whole thing kind of unravels towards the end but it’s to our advantage, as zanier punchlines and more dramatic, gratuitous effects take prominence.
Class of Nuke’em High is a great intermediary between the higher-end Troma productions such as the Toxic Avenger franchise and the ‘sexy comedies’ Kaufman focused on earlier in his directing career. As one high school student smugly suggests early on in the film, “even if there was a little radiation around here, who gives a shit?” We’re thankful Kaufman carries that attitude into every one of his productions.
– Myles Dolphin