Class of Nuke 'Em High (UK - BD RB)
Our Marcus gets an atomic high with this 80s gore fest on Blu-ray disc...
A nuclear power station has a spillage next to a high school and things begin to chance with the students. When local gang ‘The Cretins’ start selling atomic powered weed to their fellow students, Chrissy (Janelle Brady) and Warren (Gil Brenton) begin to mutate after taking a hit and a nuclear powered fallout ensues.
Class of Nuke ‘Em High is pure 80s craziness. Essentially a spin on the old 50s sci-fi set ups, with high school kids (played by actors in their mid twenties and thirties) stepping wide eyed into danger at every turn. There’s obviously more nudity and potty mouths than that found in the genre in the 50s, and that good old practical 80s gore is here in spades too. Essentially for those that have never seen it, think something along the lines of comedy/horrors like Braindead meets Grease (without the singing).
Despite the madness, over acting and straight up silliness, Class of Nuke ‘Em High still attempts to offer something of a message or two. Don’t take drugs kids. Don’t have sex. Don’t kiss a cretin or you’ll become a cretin yourself, and don’t build a school next to a nuclear power plant. It all gets lost in amongst the noise, gore and chuckles but it still does its best to keep those eighties high schoolers thinking about the dangers of their choices, even if the metaphor for the outcome is about as extreme as they come.
This 80s cult favourite shows its age at every turn but it totally holds up as a goofy bit of low budget fun. It captures the era well, its sense of humour isn’t impenetrable as is sometimes the case with these little movies, it’s actors aren’t totally awful and for the most part its structure flows like a movie above its budget. Class of Nuke ‘Em High is an easy watch from very early on. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I have to say, I’ve been watching a fair few ‘cult classics’ for review of late and this was by far the easiest watch of the lot. It took me back to ‘discovering’ this sort of thing on video as a kid and celebrating the badness as well as the greatness with friends. Sure, for a short film (just under ninety minutes) it still manages to outstay its welcome about twenty minutes before it ends but Class of Nuke ‘Em High is a fine example of 80s gory silliness and I had a fun Sunday afternoon chuckling along with it.
The start of the film was worrying. The credits are dirty, the frame wobbles and Class of Nuke ‘Em High didn’t look worth a Blu-ray upgrade. However once the credits are out the way, everything takes a better turn. Other than the constant sense of the age of the film I have to say I liked the video presentation for the most part. The image is not very sharp, but there are some good colours and a fair bit of detail in here. Reds run a little pink but colours are good on the whole. Gore and gross stuff pops off the screen and the low budget effects hold up very well despite the 1080p boost (well other than the vaseline line between the high school in the foreground and the power plant in the background, that looks terrible). This is about as great as a cult horror comedy from the 80s could look in HD really. It keeps the filmic quality of age of the film and boosts elements well enough to call it worthy of an upgrade. Compared to modern movies in the genre it doesn’t hold up but a video nasty from 1986 can’t ask for much more than this.
This stereo track isn’t doing a lot to show off. There’s plenty of out of sync dialogue and it’s plenty hissy. Even though the 80s rock soundtrack sits behind the dialogue well enough it’s not exactly a deep or well layered track and essentially this audio presentation feels like a slight boost from what you might already be used to rather than any sort of total remaster.
The commentary with Lloyd Kaufman, comes from a guy who seems to be able to talk about the films of Troma Studios for forever and a day. He brings stories of the screenplay, the actors, the film’s history and other titles from the studio.
The interview with Robert Prichard and Jennifer Prichard (05:41 SD) is short, very much about their work with Troma and not really specific to Class of Nuke ‘Em High.
‘Making the Power Plant ‘(00:40) is a collection of clips from film with voice over describing the effects and honestly everything said could be picked up from just watching the film.
‘Troma Studios Tour’ (09:19 SD) is Kaufman giving a tongue in cheek look at the the Troma Building. It’s funny stuff but not really an insight into anything.
‘Troma Public Service Announcement’(01:33 SD) has Motorhead’s Lemmy introducing a short appeal for hermaphrodites starring South Park’s Matt Stone and Trey Parker (crazy but funny).
‘Aroma Du Troma’ (02:05) is a sizzle reel for the studio and the ‘Troma Studio Trailer Reel’ (14:09 SD) has trailers for the Nuke 'Em sequels, Toxic Avenger and the god awful looking Tromeo and Juliet .
The Lloyd Kaufman Q&A (24:35 HD) is a recent chat at a British screening and wrapping up there’s the deleted scenes (07:03).
Class of Nuke ‘Em High is an easy watch for those up for enjoying a big of 80s gore and silliness. The story is a straight forward high schoolers doing naughty things leads to devastation set up, but even in my thirties I still get a kick out of seeing the practical effects of the 80s spraying goo and barely appearing fully in frame due to their limited movement. The Blu-ray itself is actually better than expected video wise even if the audio and the lack of meaty extras hold it back from being a great package overall. That said, there’s enough going on here to be a consideration for picking up and fans should be pretty happy.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 6th August 2012
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 English
Extras: Commentary, Interviews, Featurettes, Trailer, Lloyd Kaufman Q&A
Easter Egg: No
Director: Richard W. Haines, Lloyd Kaufman
Cast: Janelle Brady, Gil Brenton, Robert Prichard
Genre: Comedy and Horror
Length: 85 minutes
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