DVD Review: CLASS OF NUKE 'EM HIGH (1986)

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Class of Nuke 'Em High Review

Director: Richard W. Haines,  Samuel Weil / Screenplay: Richard W. Haines, Mark Rudintsky, Lloyd Kaufman, Stuart Strutin / Starring: Janelle Brady, Gil Brenton, Robert Prichard / Release Date: Out Now

Tromaville High School was a nice place to study until the Cretins took over. A gang of face-painted punk rock Mad Max-looking extras, they disrupt classes, steal the students' lunch money and deal drugs in the corridors. But things soon get even worse when they start selling what they call an "atomic high" - marijuana grown in the grounds of the nearby nuclear power plant.

Every ‘80s college comedy horror needs its heroes of course, and here we meet high school sweethearts Warren and Chrissie. After smoking some of the radioactive weed at a party, Chrissie (rather carelessly) finds herself becoming pregnant, having a baby and getting kidnapped, and it's up to Warren to save the day...

Probably best known for creating The Toxic Avenger, Troma studios have never been ones for taking themselves too seriously. While there's often a message hidden somewhere in all of their in-house productions (Troma President Lloyd Kaufman tells us in the Blu-ray commentary that Nuke 'Em High is a "cautionary tale" based on real-life news reports of a planned "budget" power station), it's never at the expense of good old fashioned fun. Class of Nuke 'Em High revels in its own ridiculousness, and it's an absolute joy to watch.

This is a film for everyone who fist-pumps the air and shouts "YES!!" when a programme on TV starts with one of those sex/violence/bad language disclaimers. There's plenty of blood, guts and gore on display, along with masses of swearing, fart jokes, huge great dollops of radioactive toxic waste, and big pendulous melon-heavy breasts (and that's just on the boys). Imagine if Peter Jackson had remade the Ramones' Rock N' Roll High School back in his Bad Taste/Braindead days and you're part way there.

It's always nice to see a cult classic being given the Blu-ray treatment and hopefully finding a new audience. The Blu-ray transfer of Nuke 'Em High is excellent, with details being brought out that you can't even see in the old video copy (we've checked!). The ‘80s punk/rock n' roll soundtrack even appears to have been beefed up a little bit, adding to the overall pleasure. Add in loads of worthwhile extras and a DVD copy you can watch in bed (because we all keep our PS3 by the big telly in the lounge, right?), there's never been a better time to introduce yourself to the world of Troma.

If you're not of a nervous disposition, know how to not take your films too seriously, and have ever fancied sitting down and just being entertained for an hour and a half, you really can't go wrong with Class of Nuke 'Em High. Incredibly low-brow from start to finish, it's clearly not going to be suited to everyone's tastes, but for those of us who enjoy a bit of silliness now and again there are not many films that can suit the mood quite as well as this one!

Extras: High Definition Blu-ray and Standard Definition DVD transfer of the unrated Director’s Cut of the film, Audio commentary with Troma Studios founder and Class of Nuke ‘Em High co-director Lloyd Kaufman, Interview with stars Robert and Jennifer Prichard, Brand new Q&A recording with Lloyd Kaufman from the Prince Charles Cinema [2012], Theo Pingarelli on the making of the nuclear power plant effect, Troma Studios tour with Lloyd Kaufman,  Public Service Announcement by Lemmy from Motörhead featuring Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of South Park, Deleted scenes, Aroma du Troma, Troma Studios Trailer Reel, Reversible sleeve with original poster and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphries, Collector’s Booklet by critic and author David Hayles



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