Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Class of Nuke 'Em High (1986)

After "The Toxic Avenger", Troma went from another studio making and distributing exploitation movies (mostly teen sex comedies few people remember) to the new name in trashy genre films. Sure, they had released movies like "Mother's Day" in the past, but they weren't the hit "Avenger" was. So the question for Lloyd Kaufman and co. was most likely "So, how do we follow that up?" Well, they did that by doing "Class of Nuke 'Em High", which kept the offbeat humor, gore and nudity of "Avenger", and kept a keen eye on what it did in the past.

The plot goes like this: Ever since a power plant was built next to Tromaville high, strange things have been going on. Like how what was once the honors society is now a gang of horny, violent cretins, "The Cretins." Well, they get a hold on pot that's been dosed in nuclear energy, call it "an Atomic High", and sell it at a party. When lovebirds Chrissy (Janelle Brady) and Warren (Gil Brenton) get a hold of it, and have sex-things start to turn bad, because Warren's now prone to turn into a vengeful green mutant, and Chrissy got pregnant-and puked out said baby, which is a mutated tadpole of some sort. After somebody flushes it down the toilet, it starts getting bigger down in the basement...

To tell the truth, this isn't a good movie in the traditional sense of the word. The acting is mostly bad, some of the jokes and supporting characters are grating, and most of the cast is pretty one dimensional. That out of the way, it knows what kind of movie it is, and revels in it. This is pure cinematic garbage that's pretty entertaining to boot, with enough bloodshed, gratuitous breast shots, and can do spirit to boot. It's also got a great monster at the end, and The Cretins themselves can get pretty sadistic at times-and one of them gets one of the best lines in Troma movie history in "Hey, that's what you get when you date a yuppie baby!"

Also noticeable is the fact that it fully embraces the teen sex comedy genre. While this would sometimes show the downfall of a movie, here it works, as it fits the campy vibe the movie has. Then there's the fact that, while nobody would mistake it for having good taste, it's rarely that mean spirited. Compared to later movies like "Toxic Avenger IV" and "Terror Firmer", this isn't a movie that scraps the bucket for pure gross out gags and tedious shock tactics. In fact, it kind of has a good nature to it. Besides, while the actors playing them aren't good, It's hard not to like Warren and Chrissy. They're just two sweet kids in love, and you things hope turn out good for them.

If you ask me, "Class of Nuke 'Em High" remains one of Troma's best accomplishments. Nobody's going to mistake it for a work of high cinematic art, but as cinematic junk food, it really tastes great.

Rating: 8/10

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