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February 25, 2014

Movie Review: Class Of Nuke 'Em High (Blu-Ray)

In the 1980's, toxic waste was as common as cocaine and Tab soda. Oh, you don't know what Tab soda is? Imagine liquid carbonated ear-wax. Ok, back on the topic at hand - you really couldn't flip on the news without seeing a piece devoted to the negative effects of toxic waste. I for one, think that toxic waste has made a very positive contribution to the narrative of a few classic cult films of note, The Toxic Avenger and today's Cinema Head Cheese Blu-Ray review, The Class of Nuke 'Em High. Troma has just gotten into the Blu-Ray production realm - with the other more recent Blu-Ray efforts being Troma favorites, Poultreygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead and Tromeo and Juliet. Poultreygeist turned out to be a hell of a package so I was anxious to dive in, head first, into the bubbling barrel of toxic goo known as Class of Nuke 'Em High.

Buy Class of Nuke 'Em High on Blu-Ray!

For those of you who think high school is tough enough, with the cliques, bullies, asshole teachers and shitty cafeteria food, try having all those things and a nuclear waste plant situated right next door. Chrissy(Janelle Brady) and her boyfriend Warren (Gil Brenton) are caught in the middle of these hindrances. These are good kids, but even the good ones get an urge for an occasional atomic joint. I think the first rule of thumb when growing your herbs, keep your crops far away from anything radioactive - it may cause mutation, and if your pregnant, a possible birth defect that could cause your offspring to come out as a genetic mutation, hungry for teenagers. Warren and Chrissy try the rhythm method, which unfortunately leads a giant drooling radio-active beast that soon makes its home in the basement of the high school. Oh and then there are the Cretins : Former honor students that are now drug-dealing nerd-abusing rebel rousers. Between the Cretins and our hungry mutation, what are Chrissy, Warren and the other kids to do?

Class Of Nuke 'Em High, has several of the same actors that had roles in the original Toxic Avenger film. Gary "Bozo" Schneider plays the world’s most masculine drag queen, Pete. Schneider's co-star in Toxic Avenger, Robert Pritchard plays the leader of the Cretins. My favorite Troma regular that makes an appearance is definitely the incomparable, R.L Ryan. In Class Of Nuke 'Em High, Ryan is casted as yet another villain, Mr. Finley, the head of the neighboring nuclear power plant. Kaufman has admitted that he really enjoys having larger folks in his movies( Joe Fleishaker, anyone?) and with Ryan's XXXXXXL presence on screen it's hard to not agree with Mr. Kaufman. Ryan also is a great comedic talent. Just go and buy Street Trash for more evidence of just how funny this guy is.

The supplementary material on Troma's Blu-Ray release, are an area where this Blu-Ray shines. Much of it is recycled but it's great to see them ported over instead of not being included at all. Included are the following:

• Interactive Tour of Troma Studios
• Nuke 'Em High Sweethearts
• Deleted scenes
• Audio Commentary
• Scenes from the "Tromaville Cafe" TV-show
• Trailers for other Troma movies
• Production Stills

The audio commentary by Troma president and co-director/writer, Lloyd Kaufman is highly enjoyable. Whether you like Kaufman's films or not, you can't deny that this guy doesn't bring it to his audio commentaries. Kaufman goes into detail about how originally, frequent Troma editor Richard W. Haines was basically "in over his head" as sole director of the production and how he had take over. Lloyd also elaborates a little more on the story and how it was influenced by a local nuclear waste plant that was carelessly constructed - and a danger to the surrounding areas. We also get more information on what’s different in this unrated directors cut. Kaufman points out some of the bits of gore previously truncated by the MPAA, and also specifics on where the deleted scenes (featured in the extras) were originally placed.

Ok now here is where you want to know if this Blu-Ray is worth the upgrade quality wise. If you have any questions, my answer is a resounding YES! Troma has taken actual restoration of their Blu-Ray product seriously. The color has been improved quite a bit over the previous DVD release. One way you can tell is that the matted miniatures are even more noticeable now in the nuclear waste plant scenes. It's not completely pristine, so expect a few cracks and pops in the soundtrack and minimal wear on the film element.It is impressive though and a nice overall transfer. Class Of Nuke 'Em High is presented Widescreen (1:85:1).

Class Of Nuke 'Em High has really made an unexpected splash on Blu-Ray. This feature is 25 years old and very low-budget, but yet it looks so sharp on the Blu-Ray format. So far, Troma is two for two with their Blu-Ray releases of Poultreygiest and now Class Of Nuke 'Em High. I have yet to view Tromeo and Juliet, but shall soon. If the quality of the Troma Blu-Ray releases continue, cult film fans are going to be very spoiled. And yes, like many of you - I'm crossing my fingers that The Toxic Avenger is one of the next 1080p offerings.


  1. Great review! Troma did good with this release. Hoping sine they are with CAV they can roll out some more Blu's.

  2. Thank you sir! I would also totally welcome a Combat Shock and War blu. CAV may make it easier.