Written by: Travis Campbell, Derek Dressler & Lloyd Kaufman
Directed by: Lloyd Kaufman
Class of Nuke ‘Em High was a 1986 horror/comedy film that had two lackluster sequels, one in 1991 and one in 1994. Troma, the independent film production company that has been around for 30 years and counting, is most famous for their monster superhero movie The Toxic Avenger, which also had two crappy sequels. But just like with The Toxic Avenger, Troma tried to make up for their past mistakes by forgetting the sequels and starting from scratch. Return To Nuke ‘Em High: Volume 1 is the first of a two-part movie, but is an overall three-hour (if you combine Volume 1 & 2 together) long Troma movie something we all want to see?
That depends on whether you’re a diehard fan, a casual fan or just someone that has never heard of Troma. A diehard fan can look past a lot of this films flaws and find a lot to enjoy about it, but if you’re just a casual fan maybe you should wait for Volume 2. For those that have never heard of Troma, I will give you the quick sum-up. Troma films have terrible acting, tons of absurd gore, boobs, lesbians and immature potty humor that is all stirred together in a radioactive barrel, mixed in with a heavy dose of social commentary. Basically Troma films is the definition of Midnight Trash Cinema, which I can’t help but love.
Return To Nuke ‘Em High: Volume 1 is a story of a young lesbian couple that are forced to fight against the Tromaville High School glee club, that also happens to be mutated and turned into a gang called The Cretins. If you’re expecting anything else from the plot of a Troma film, than you are watching the wrong kind of movie. Return To Nuke ‘Em High has a large amount of nudity in it, perhaps more than any other Lloyd Kaufman movie, and is filled to the brim with sophomoric humor. There is some intelligent humor and a dose of social commentary, but it is usually hidden underneath a heavy coat of blood, gore, nudity and the occasional Giant Penis Monster.
Great Fan Service – Not since Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back have I seen as many in jokes, background characters (including Toxie and Sgt. Kabukiman dancing at a party), and subtle references to past Troma movies (usually with shirts and posters on the wall). We even get a quick cameo from Cigar Face, who hasn’t been seen since he was killed in the original Toxic Avenger. They also found a way to tie it to 2006’s Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead by connecting the Chicken company that also provides food to the Tromaville High School, led by Lloyd Kaufman himself.
Boobs & Blood & Biological Waste – The Three B’s are all covered well in this film, basically everything that a Troma fan could hope and dream about. And don’t forget about the lesbians.
Great First Hour – The pace and tone of the first hour reminded me why I had fallen in love with Troma all those years ago, hell even the clothing and the way that it was filmed made me think of Kaufman’s older films. Now while I loved the first hour, I had problems with the last half-hour, which will be covered later.
Crappy Third Act – As mentioned earlier, the final half-hour was a confusing mess that seemed to be thrown together to simply pad the length of the movie, probably to justify having a Volume 2. The ending was basically two chicks running around, one of them is pregnant with some kind of radioactive baby and the other is slapping Cretins with a Giant Penis Monster. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, the movie just ends and leaves you scratching your head. Oops, looks like we have to wait for Volume 2 now. Who’s the evil corporate money grabbers now, Troma?
Some Of The Humor Falls Flat – For every funny joke, like a priest being called Sandusky, and hilariously in bad taste situations, like a dog being kicked off a cliff and obviously being fake, there are other jokes that fall flat. The best example of this is when one of the main characters is orally raped by the head of a Duck, and she runs around trying to find a way to get it out. It goes on for way too long, and becomes quickly boring. Also, transvestites can be funny but after a while there can only be so many funny jokes about a chick with a penis.
If you are a fan of Lloyd Kaufman and Troma, you are probably going to see this movie no matter what I say about it. I personally love these kinds of movies, but I can’t help but feel cheated that this movie is being released in two parts. This wouldn’t be a problem if the movie seemed epic enough to warrant two parts, especially considering that the last half-hour felt pointless to me. Maybe Volume 2 will change my mind about this, but maybe it would have been a better idea to trim the fat and make this just a two-hour feature, then maybe it could have a great as opposed to just okay. I did enjoy this movie and I would recommend it to a certain crowd, you know who you are, but I do not see myself returning to this movie when I have a craving for some Midnight Troma Madness.