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DVD review: 'Class of Nuke 'em High'

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'Class of Nuke 'em High'


Continuing down the Troma path, we arrive at 'Class of Nuke 'em High.'

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Tromaville High School is located a mere quarter mile from the local nuclear power plant. When the plant begins to leak toxic waste, it begins to affect the young, impressionable minds next door.

Things kick off when a meek overachiever drinks from the water fountain, only to ooze green liquid, leap out of the window and melt on the sidewalk. Also troubling is the fact that the school's honor society has mutated into a 'Road Warrior'-like gang of bullies and drug dealers known as The Cretins. Why they have changed and no one else has, at this point, is anyone's guess. Anyway, the big drug that the Cretins distribute is some marijuana grown (and altered) just outside of the nuclear power plant.

Two well-behaved students, Warren (Gil Brenton) and Chrissy (Janelle Brady) are on the receiving end of this Atomic Weed. It ends up being just what the couple needs to inspire them to make their love official in a physical way (if you catch my drift). Warren doesn't feel so great and has some bizarre dreams and a temporary mutation. Chrissy isn't so lucky as she finds herself pregnant. By pregnant, I mean that she has a horrific creature growing inside of her that she eventually vomits into the school's toilet and promptly flushes in horror.

With the radiation and ooze getting worse and the boss of the nuclear power plant unwilling to take drastic action that might attract attention, what will be left of the graduating class?

For no apparent reason, bizarre stories set in high schools have always connected with this examiner. It is probably due to the fact that everyone can relate to the location and subverting one's own experience is a nice contrast.

Along with being a statement about the potential danger of nuclear power and corporate irresponsibility, this has some fun with cautionary tales about marijuana. The tone isn't that far off from 'The Toxic Avenger', perhaps being a little less violent and gory while being even more cartoonish. Come on, the Cretins' outfits are positively ridiculous. The nonchalant way that most of the school reacts to the men in hazmat suits invading the school is also rather funny. A little clever wordplay and verbal humor makes its way into the story, as well.

Even as far as these films go, some of the acting is abominable. Characters' reactions are stilted and delayed and the writing is bad all around. We meet a number of characters early on that seem to be forgotten about late in the game. It doesn't take away from the fun, but it's hard to compare this to most movies, seeing as it has little intention of being serious.

Special features include: a tour of Troma studios, deleted scenes, production stills, scenes from a fake TV show and trailers.

As with almost everything from Troma, it's hard to argue that 'Class of Nuke 'em High' is a good movie in the traditional sense. At the same time, if your expectations are properly adjusted, it is very possible to thoroughly enjoy this. In fact, it is probably one of Troma's most watchable films.

Add an extra half star to this review.

Rated R 85 minutes 1985


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