August 5, 2012

Filthy Review - 'Class of Nuke 'Em High'

Class of Nuke ‘Em High (1986)

Review by Jude Felton

If John Hughes had ever gone on a week-long bender of drinking and drugs, and had then decided to make a movie whilst still high, the end result could well have been this batshit crazy movie, Class of Nuke ‘Em High. The film first came to our screens back in 1986, of which I recall renting it on video, and has remained a cult favorite ever since. The reason for this? It’s just so much goddamned fun! Now Arrow Video has given us this schlock-fest in glorious HD.

Class of Nuke ‘Em High is set, of course, in the mystical city of Tromaville, which we all know is nestled in around New York and New Jersey. Tromaville High School happens to be right next to a hulking great nuclear power plant, and the gang called The Cretins is scoring their dope from here. What? A school next to a nuclear power plant? Yes indeed, this in Tromaville, baby!

Now, smoking this ‘Atomic High’ has a deep and profound effect on those that smoke it. Some turn into raging monsters, some get horny as hell and some just get stoned ha-ha! Needless to say though, the results are always fun, the kind of fun that Troma are renowned for having. You also get a wee spermy looking critter that is a result of unprotected sex after having a smoke. As with many Troma flicks, it is a case of throwing everything at the screen and hoping that some of it sticks. Thankfully, in the case of this movie, most of it works.

As you might have guess, Class of Nuke ‘Em High is not a film to be taken seriously. It is fun throughout and it reeks of the 80’s. What may surprise some viewers is how good it all looks. I’m not just talking about the HD transfer, which admittedly does look good, but the film itself is a good looking beast. It is quite obviously a low budget affair, as are all Troma films, yet there is quality to the film that is so often lacking in today’s independent cinema. Maybe it’s just the fact that it was shot on film? Regardless, I liked the look of the film, warts and all.

The effects are cool and all practical of course, from the meltdowns to even the little critter I previously mentioned. Even the acting, which is far from Shakespeare, is decent enough, probably because they seem to be having so much fun with the ridiculous material.

As for this particular release of the film, Arrow Video has given it the loving treatment that they seem to afford to most, if not all, of their releases. Aside from looking and sounding better than any Troma film should, it also comes with an abundance of special features, which include an Audio Commentary from Lloyd Kaufman, interviews, a Q&A, deleted scenes and a whole lot more. Like I said, Arrow has given this release the treatment, and it is a quite wonderful release.

Class of Nuke ‘Em High is the definite tonic to those looking for a movie that doesn’t take itself seriously, and won’t leave you needing therapy once it finishes. It’s fun, upbeat, and outrageous and is the sort of film that only Troma can deliver. Personally I find their films to be hit or miss, but this one is most definitely one of their most enjoyable films, and this release is one that is a recommended purchase.

Class of Nuke 'Em High is released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 6th from Arrow Video and can be ordered here.

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