3rd at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Centre. As part of the event there is a special screening of his latest film Return to Nuke ‘Em High at the Plaza Theatre at 9:00 P.M. August 2nd, with a Q & A panel with the Co-Founder of Troma Entertainment following. This great event is only $15 and several of us from We Talk Podcasts will be in attendance. If it’s half as much fun as last year’s similar showing of Night Of The Living Dead 1990 with Tom Savini, Patricia Tallman, Tony Todd and Bill Moseley, it’s going to be a night for the ages, and if you’ve ever seen or heard an interview with the manic, hilarious and brilliant Mr. Kaufman you know there’s really no way it won’t be. So leading in to this event I thought I’d take a look back at the previous films in the franchise, starting with 1986’s Class of Nuke ‘Em High.
“Comedy is not commercial; it is risky, because what is funny in one place isn’t always funny somewhere else.” – Lloyd Kaufman, 1997. The Class of Nuke ‘Em High feature was originally co-directed by Lloyd Kaufman (under the pseudonym Samuel Weil) with Richard W. Haines who served as the editor on The Toxic Avenger two years earlier. Both men also take a screen writing credit along with Mark Rudnitsky & Stuart Strutin. Listed as Haines second turn as a director behind 1984’s Splatter University there’s no denying the film right from the start has the special innate qualities of a Kaufman film. While many Troma films have qualities that tie them together, Kaufman characters in particular have a certain way of speaking and acting that no one else ever seems to quite recreate. Explaining the plot of the film to you would be like trying catch a glass of spilled water with your fingertips but here’s some of the highlights of what’s going on… A High School a quarter mile from a nuclear power plant with little to no safety regulations being adhered to. Nuclear waste that’s contaminating the drinking water that causes some normally unforeseen side effects. A group of former honor students mutated into a gang called The Cretins terrorizing the students and faculty. Radioactively grown weed that causes a normally shy couple to suddenly become intimate, leading to a 24 hour full term pregnancy and a subsequent monster seemingly inspired by what the creature from Aliens would look like if covered in green nuclear sludge. A scene right out of a comic book where the male from the same shy couple is endowed with super strength and bubbling green skin. He attacks and kills some members of The Cretins. A high school lab complete with explosive material and a laser gun. And there are motorcycles that are being ridden by the gang in the school hallways. That’s awesome every time I see it in any movie. In a word the film is a little nuts, but that’s part of the secret sauce that is a Troma movie and you either get the joke, or you don’t, and if you get it you’ll enjoy this film and if you don’t, honestly, why are you even reading this? “If someone offered me a hundred million dollars to make a movie? I would first remind him that there are 850 million people in the world who don’t have enough to eat.” Lloyd Kaufman, 2004 As a Troma film this won’t go down as one of the best, but considering the era and budget the special effects largely hold up really well, particularly the radioactive baby
creature, smartly never fully shown and seen in close ups covered in muck, it comes across well. Like most Troma films, Class Of Nuke ‘Em High is self-aware of what type of film it is, without the annoying constant winking at the camera that most films often tend to do. This allows you to laugh with the filmmakers and is the key to so much of what has gained Troma their rabid cult fan base, a sense of feeling like you’re part of the in crowd who understands why this film is so cool. Of course it has the trademark Troma violence and nudity, but in the context of such an outrageous world it’s never offensive, at least to me. It’s more a part of the whacky formula that makes these films what they are. And a little touch that really helps is the soundtrack. Class of Nuke ‘Em High is infused with a classic 80’s hair metal vibe that really seems to always play. Honestly I’m not sure if they had 200 songs or 2 just on repeat because they largely sound the same, but they also fit and perfectly capture the fun mood of the film. Plus legendary college rock band The Smithereens play at a party performing “Much Too Much” and rock it out, a definite highlight. All in all, if you enjoy Toxic Avenger or other similar films from Troma, Class Of Nuke ‘Em High gets a positive spin from me and is recommended, but if you’re just slightly curious as to what this film is after reading this and a little unsure… Don’t say you weren’t warned! Grade: B+